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Sample records for griffon vulture gyps

  1. Examination of Eurasian griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus fulvus) in Israel for exposure to environmental toxicants using dried blood spots.

    PubMed

    Shlosberg, Alan; Wu, Qian; Rumbeiha, Wilson K; Lehner, Andreas; Cuneah, Olga; King, Roni; Hatzofe, Ohad; Kannan, Kurunthachalam; Johnson, Margaret

    2012-04-01

    The griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) is one of seven species of Old World Gyps vultures found over a wide range from the Iberian peninsula in the west through the Balkans, Turkey, and the Middle East to India in the east. The population of the griffon vultures in Israel has suffered a dramatic decrease, and in recent years productivity has been severely reduced. In this study, whole-blood samples taken from 25 apparently healthy griffon vultures at various stages of maturity were examined to investigate whether the vultures are being excessively exposed to environmental contaminants that might deleteriously affect their reproduction. Five groups of environmental contaminants, comprising toxic elements, organochlorine pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and perfluorinated compounds, were monitored in dried blood spots. Results of the analyses showed low levels of exposure of griffon vultures to environmental contaminants compared with the sparse data available on griffon vultures and other diurnal raptors in other countries.

  2. Assessment of the exposure to heavy metals in Griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) from the Iberian Peninsula.

    PubMed

    Carneiro, Manuela; Colaço, Bruno; Brandão, Ricardo; Azorín, Beatriz; Nicolas, Olga; Colaço, Jorge; Pires, Maria João; Agustí, Susana; Casas-Díaz, Encarna; Lavin, Santiago; Oliveira, Paula A

    2015-03-01

    Griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus), by virtue of their position at the top of the food chain and as obligate scavengers, are at risk of accumulating and concentrating heavy metals in their tissues and may be more predisposed to their toxic effects. The aim of this study is to investigate heavy metal concentrations in Griffon vultures in Portugal and Catalonia, Spain and to determine if heavy metal concentrations in the blood of weak and/or injured Griffon vultures admitted to wildlife rehabilitation centres (WRC) reflect contamination profiles in the local, free-living and outwardly healthy population. Whole-blood samples taken from 121 Griffon vultures caught in the wild or admitted to WRC in Portugal and Catalonia, Spain were examined for cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg) and lead (Pb) by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Cd and Hg were not detected in most samples (98.3% and 95%, respectively), while Pb was detected in all birds in concentrations ranging between 4.97 and 300.23 µg/dl. Birds admitted to WRC had significantly lower Pb concentrations (24.15 ± 15.07 and 25.98 ± 18.04 µg/dl in Portugal and Catalonia, Spain, respectively) than animals caught in the wild (29.67 ± 13.19 and 42.22 ± 50.08 µg/dl in Portugal and Catalonia, Spain, respectively) (p<0.05). This may be explained by the fact that malnutrition was the main cause of admission of Griffon vultures to WRC, as ingestion has been described as the most significant pathway for Pb exposure in raptors. Therefore Griffon vultures admitted to WRC do not seem to be representative of the local, free-flying populations, so it remains necessary to continue catching when one intends to monitor Pb exposure in this species. The population of vultures captured in Catalonia, Spain showed the highest mean blood Pb concentration, perhaps due to the municipal rubbish dump located near the feeding station, with rubbish providing a significant fraction of their trophic needs. The ingestion of game meat

  3. Effects of heavy metals on biomarkers for oxidative stress in Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus).

    PubMed

    Espín, Silvia; Martínez-López, Emma; Jiménez, Pedro; María-Mojica, Pedro; García-Fernández, Antonio J

    2014-02-01

    Metals are involved in the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) which may result in metal-related oxidative stress that can lead to oxidative damage to lipids, DNA and proteins. It is necessary to understand the mechanisms of metal toxicity in wild birds, and the concentrations that cause effects on oxidative stress biomarkers. The aim of this study is to assess the concentrations of lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) with regards to oxidative stress in blood samples of 66 Griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) from two areas of the Autonomous Community of Valencia (East of Spain). The two study areas (Alcoy n=36 and Cinctorres n=30) were selected as random locations of interest that had not yet been studied, and are feeding stations where supplementary food, mainly of pork origin, is provided for vultures. Given that the two study areas are not considered polluted sites, we expected to find low metal concentrations. However, there are no known threshold concentrations at which metals can affect antioxidant systems, and low metal levels may have an effect on antioxidant biomolecules. In this study, since sampling was done at the beginning of the hunting season, the low Pb levels found in most Griffon vultures from Alcoy and Cinctorres (median=12.37 and 16.26μg/dl, respectively) are suggestive of background levels usually found in vultures that feed on pork carcasses all year round. The ingestion of game meat with bullet fragments in carcasses or with Pb shots embedded in the flesh could be the cause of the high blood Pb concentrations found in three vultures from Cinctorres (83, 290 and 362μg/dl). Griffon vultures feeding in Cinctorres had enhanced CAT and GST activities and tGSH concentrations, which may be interpreted as protective response against the higher TBARS levels. This study provides threshold concentrations at which metals affect antioxidant system derived from 66 samples of Griffon vulture. Blood Cd concentrations greater

  4. Determination of fluoroquinolone antibiotic residues in the plasma of Eurasian griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) in Spain.

    PubMed

    Casas-Díaz, Encarna; Cristòfol, Carles; Cuenca, Rafaela; Agustí, Susana; Carneiro, Manuela; Marco, Ignasi; Lavín, Santiago; Margalida, Antoni

    2016-07-01

    Due to the possible toxicological impact, the accumulation of pharmaceuticals in wildlife as a consequence of human practices is of growing concern. The consumption of carrion at feeding stations - the so-called 'vulture restaurants' - with no management of the veterinary drugs it contains may expose scavengers to pharmaceuticals. To demonstrate this, we analyzed plasma from Eurasian griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) originating from two different areas of Spain for antibiotics such as enrofloxacin and ciprofloxacin, its primary metabolite. Quinolone residues were detected in about 65% (n=106) of birds, of which 15.1% (16/106) had quantifiable amounts of enrofloxacin (0.049±0.102μg/mL) and 5.7% (6/106) of ciprofloxacin (0.009±0.007μg/mL). The differences in exposure between the two sampled areas are attributable to different types of carrion management: the vultures that fed in areas with a high density of dead livestock (supplied directly to feeding stations) were more prone to exposure than those that sought food in areas where carcass availability is more unpredictable. Our findings are evidence that vultures have access to medicated livestock and that there are quantifiable levels of livestock antibiotics in vulture plasma. However, the vultures analyzed in this study had maximum antibiotic concentrations of only 0.4μg/mL, much less than the concentrations used in the clinical treatment of scavengers and a level that is probably too small to cause intoxication.

  5. High levels of blood lead in griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) from Cazorla Natural Park (southern Spain).

    PubMed

    Garcia-Fernandez, A J; Martinez-Lopez, E; Romero, D; Maria-Mojica, P; Godino, A; Jimenez, P

    2005-08-01

    The blood lead of 23 griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) trapped in 2003 was analyzed in order to evaluate exposure to lead in the vulture population of Cazorla Natural Park (in southern Spain). In 2001 the use of leaded gasoline in vehicles was banned in the European Union; however, lead ammunition is still used in Spain in big-game hunting for red deer, fallow deer, mouflon, and wild boar, which are ingested by vultures from September to March. The mean concentration of lead in blood was 43.07 +/- 31.96 microg/dL with a range of 17.39-144.80 microg/dL. Only two vultures had lead levels below 20 microg/dL, and two others had blood lead concentrations close to 150 microg/dL. In view of the results, we think the population of vultures from Cazorla Natural Park is suffering subclinical exposure to lead, with some individuals exposed to high toxicity risk. We concluded that ingestion of lead in the metallic form alone is sufficient to produce these blood lead concentrations, and we recommend the prohibition of lead ammunition for big-game hunting in order to preserve the vulture population.

  6. Effects of heavy metals on biomarkers for oxidative stress in Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus)

    SciTech Connect

    Espín, Silvia; Martínez-López, Emma; Jiménez, Pedro; María-Mojica, Pedro; García-Fernández, Antonio J.

    2014-02-01

    Metals are involved in the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) which may result in metal-related oxidative stress that can lead to oxidative damage to lipids, DNA and proteins. It is necessary to understand the mechanisms of metal toxicity in wild birds, and the concentrations that cause effects on oxidative stress biomarkers. The aim of this study is to assess the concentrations of lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) with regards to oxidative stress in blood samples of 66 Griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) from two areas of the Autonomous Community of Valencia (East of Spain). The two study areas (Alcoy n=36 and Cinctorres n=30) were selected as random locations of interest that had not yet been studied, and are feeding stations where supplementary food, mainly of pork origin, is provided for vultures. Given that the two study areas are not considered polluted sites, we expected to find low metal concentrations. However, there are no known threshold concentrations at which metals can affect antioxidant systems, and low metal levels may have an effect on antioxidant biomolecules. In this study, since sampling was done at the beginning of the hunting season, the low Pb levels found in most Griffon vultures from Alcoy and Cinctorres (median=12.37 and 16.26 μg/dl, respectively) are suggestive of background levels usually found in vultures that feed on pork carcasses all year round. The ingestion of game meat with bullet fragments in carcasses or with Pb shots embedded in the flesh could be the cause of the high blood Pb concentrations found in three vultures from Cinctorres (83, 290 and 362 μg/dl). Griffon vultures feeding in Cinctorres had enhanced CAT and GST activities and tGSH concentrations, which may be interpreted as protective response against the higher TBARS levels. This study provides threshold concentrations at which metals affect antioxidant system derived from 66 samples of Griffon vulture. Blood Cd concentrations

  7. Estimation of cultivable bacterial diversity in the cloacae and pharynx in Eurasian griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus).

    PubMed

    Vela, Ana I; Casas-Díaz, Encarna; Fernández-Garayzábal, José F; Serrano, Emmanuel; Agustí, Susana; Porrero, María C; Sánchez del Rey, Verónica; Marco, Ignasi; Lavín, Santiago; Domínguez, Lucas

    2015-04-01

    In this work, we describe the biodiversity of cloacal and pharynx culture-based bacteria (commensal and pathogenic), in 75 Eurasian griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) from two geographic areas. We address the question of whether the cultivable microbiota of vultures is organised into assemblages occurring by chance. In addition, we assess bacterial diversity in both anatomic regions and geographic areas. Bacterial diversity was represented by 26 Gram-negative and 20 Gram-positive genera. The most common genera were Escherichia, Enterococcus, Staphylococcus, Clostridium and Lactococcus. Escherichia coli and Enterococcus faecalis were the most common species in cloacal and pharyngeal samples. Staphylococcus and Erysipelothrix were isolated from the pharynx and Salmonella and Corynebacterium from the cloacae, and no Campylobacter was isolated from the cloacal swabs. Ten cloacal swabs were positive for Salmonella, of which five isolates were Salmonella enterica serotype 4,(5),12:i:-, one isolate was S. enterica serotype Derby, three isolates were S. enterica serotype 61:k:1,5,7 and one isolate was S. enterica serotype Infantis. The null modelling approach revealed that the commensal bacteria of vultures are not structured in assemblages. On the other hand, differences in bacterial genus and species richness between cloacal and pharyngeal samples or between geographic areas were clear, with the pharynx in vultures from both geographic areas being richer. The results of this study indicate also that vultures can serve as a reservoir of certain pathogenic zoonotic bacteria. The dissemination of these zoonotic pathogens in wildlife could be prevented by periodic sanitary surveys.

  8. Draft Genome Sequence of the Bacteriocin-Producing Strain Enterococcus faecium M3K31, Isolated from Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvus subsp. fulvus).

    PubMed

    Arbulu, Sara; Frantzen, Cyril; Lohans, Christopher T; Cintas, Luis M; Herranz, Carmen; Holo, Helge; Diep, Dzung B; Vederas, John C; Hernández, Pablo E

    2016-03-24

    Enterococcus faeciumM3K31 is a bacteriocinogenic lactic acid bacterium (LAB) isolated from griffon vulture (Gyps fulvussubsp.fulvus) feces. The draft genome sequence of this strain provides genetic data that support its biotechnological potential.

  9. Draft Genome Sequence of the Bacteriocin-Producing Strain Enterococcus faecium M3K31, Isolated from Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvus subsp. fulvus)

    PubMed Central

    Arbulu, Sara; Frantzen, Cyril; Lohans, Christopher T.; Cintas, Luis M.; Herranz, Carmen; Holo, Helge; Diep, Dzung B.; Vederas, John C.

    2016-01-01

    Enterococcus faecium M3K31 is a bacteriocinogenic lactic acid bacterium (LAB) isolated from griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus subsp. fulvus) feces. The draft genome sequence of this strain provides genetic data that support its biotechnological potential. PMID:27013035

  10. Estimation of normal tear production in free-living Eurasian black vultures (Aegypius monachus) and griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) in Dadia National Park, Greece.

    PubMed

    Komnenou, Anastasia T; Thomas, Angelos L N; Danika, Stefania E; Skartsi, Theodora; Vasilakis, Dimitris P; Cárcamo, Beatriz; Ofri, Ron

    2013-06-01

    The aim of this study was to record the Schirmer tear test I (STT I) measurements in free-living vultures in order to estimate normal values. The Eurasian black vulture (Aegypius monachus), which breeds in the Mediterranean region and Asia, is listed as near threatened; it is also classified as vulnerable at the European level and endangered in Greece. The griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus), once widespread across the continent, has undergone a dramatic decline which has led to its extinction in many regions. Sixty-two animals were examined in total including 54 black vultures and 8 griffon vultures. The birds were classified into five age groups while four age groups were then combined into one large group: free-flying. STT I measurements and complete ophthalmic examinations were performed. Mean STT I value for black vultures was 10.9 +/- 3.3 mm/min (right eye, oculus dexter, OD) and 11.9 +/- 3.3 mm/min (left eye, oculus sinister, OS) and for griffon vultures was 6.4 +/- 1.8 mm/min OD and 6.5 +/- 1.8 mm/min OS. In both eyes, STT I values in black vultures were significantly higher than those recorded in griffon vultures. Intraspecific comparisons yielded a significant difference between eyes of black vultures but not between those of griffon vultures, with OS producing higher STT I readings than did OD. When STT I was compared between OD and OS for each age group separately, a statistically significant difference was detected in the immature and free-flying black vultures. In addition, black vulture hatchlings had a significantly higher tear production than did free-flying juveniles, immatures, subadults, and adults. STT I values in black vultures are similar to those reported in other Accipitriformes but are lower in griffon vultures. This difference is probably related to anatomic, evolutionary, and feeding factors and requires further investigation.

  11. Wild Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvus) as a Source of Salmonella and Campylobacter in Eastern Spain

    PubMed Central

    Marin, Clara; Palomeque, Maria-Dolores; Marco-Jiménez, Francisco; Vega, Santiago

    2014-01-01

    The existence of Campylobacter and Salmonella reservoirs in wildlife is a potential hazard to animal and human health; however, the prevalence of these species is largely unknown. Until now, only a few studies have evaluated the presence of Campylobacter and Salmonella in wild griffon vultures and based on a small number of birds. The aim of this study was to evaluate the presence of Campylobacter and Salmonella in wild griffon vultures (n = 97) during the normal ringing programme at the Cinctorres Observatory in Eastern Spain. In addition, the effect of ages of individuals (juveniles, subadult and adult) on the presence were compared. Campylobacter was isolated from 1 of 97 (1.0%) griffon vultures and identified as C. jejuni. Salmonella was isolated from 51 of 97 (52.6%) griffon vultures. No significant differences were found between the ages of individuals for the presence of Salmonella. Serotyping revealed 6 different serovars among two Salmonella enterica subspecies; S. enterica subsp. enterica (n = 49, 96.1%) and S. enterica subsp. salamae (n = 2, 3.9%). No more than one serovar was isolated per individual. The serovars isolated were S. Typhimurium (n = 42, 82.3%), S. Rissen (n = 4, 7.8%), S. Senftenberg (n = 3, 5.9%) and S. 4,12:b[-] (n = 2, 3.9%). Our results imply that wild griffon vultures are a risk factor for Salmonella transmission, but do not seem to be a reservoir for Campylobacter. We therefore rule out vultures as a risk factor for human campylobacteriosis. Nevertheless, further studies should be undertaken in other countries to confirm these results. PMID:24710464

  12. Wild griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) as a source of Salmonella and Campylobacter in Eastern Spain.

    PubMed

    Marin, Clara; Palomeque, Maria-Dolores; Marco-Jiménez, Francisco; Vega, Santiago

    2014-01-01

    The existence of Campylobacter and Salmonella reservoirs in wildlife is a potential hazard to animal and human health; however, the prevalence of these species is largely unknown. Until now, only a few studies have evaluated the presence of Campylobacter and Salmonella in wild griffon vultures and based on a small number of birds. The aim of this study was to evaluate the presence of Campylobacter and Salmonella in wild griffon vultures (n = 97) during the normal ringing programme at the Cinctorres Observatory in Eastern Spain. In addition, the effect of ages of individuals (juveniles, subadult and adult) on the presence were compared. Campylobacter was isolated from 1 of 97 (1.0%) griffon vultures and identified as C. jejuni. Salmonella was isolated from 51 of 97 (52.6%) griffon vultures. No significant differences were found between the ages of individuals for the presence of Salmonella. Serotyping revealed 6 different serovars among two Salmonella enterica subspecies; S. enterica subsp. enterica (n = 49, 96.1%) and S. enterica subsp. salamae (n = 2, 3.9%). No more than one serovar was isolated per individual. The serovars isolated were S. Typhimurium (n = 42, 82.3%), S. Rissen (n = 4, 7.8%), S. Senftenberg (n = 3, 5.9%) and S. 4,12:b[-] (n = 2, 3.9%). Our results imply that wild griffon vultures are a risk factor for Salmonella transmission, but do not seem to be a reservoir for Campylobacter. We therefore rule out vultures as a risk factor for human campylobacteriosis. Nevertheless, further studies should be undertaken in other countries to confirm these results.

  13. Lead Poisoning Due to Lead-Pellet Ingestion in Griffon Vultures ( Gyps fulvus ) From the Iberian Peninsula.

    PubMed

    Dvm, Manuela A Carneiro; Oliveira, Paula A; Brandão, Ricardo; Francisco, Olga Nicolas; Velarde, Roser; Lavín, Santiago; Colaço, Bruno

    2016-09-01

    Avian scavengers that typically include game birds and mammals in their diets are at risk of lead poisoning from ingestion of carcasses with fragmented or residual lead ammunition that is used in hunting. Thus, lead may be one of the threats that the griffon vulture ( Gyps fulvus ) faces in the Iberian Peninsula and particularly in Portugal, where their conservation status is considered to be near-threatened. This is the first report that details 3 cases of lead poisoning, associated with the ingestion of lead shot, in adult female griffon vultures found in the Iberian Peninsula. The birds were found prostrate and immediately transferred to a wildlife rehabilitation center, where they died within 24 hours after supportive treatment. Necropsy and histopathologic examinations were done in 2 birds and metal analyses were done in all birds to determine the birds' causes of death. In one vulture, 9 uneroded lead pellets were recovered from the stomach, and moderate to severe hemosiderosis was seen histologically in the liver, lungs, and kidneys. Diagnosis of lead poisoning was confirmed by results of metal analyses, which revealed extremely high lead concentrations in blood (969-1384 μg/dL), liver (309-1077 μg/g dry weight), and kidneys (36-100 μg/g dry weight) for all 3 vultures. To prevent lead poisoning in vultures and preserve their populations in the Iberian Peninsula, more resources are needed for diagnosis and treatment of wildlife in rehabilitation centers, new regulations enabling the abandonment of fallen stock in the field must be approved, and lead ammunition must be prohibited in big-game hunting.

  14. Suspected flunixin poisoning of a wild Eurasian Griffon Vulture from Spain.

    PubMed

    Zorrilla, Irene; Martinez, Rosa; Taggart, Mark A; Richards, Ngaio

    2015-04-01

    Exposure to residues of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) diclofenac present in livestock carcasses has caused extensive declines in 3 Gyps vulture species across Asia. The carcass of a wild Eurasian Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) was found in 2012 on an Andalucian (Spain) game hunting reserve and examined forensically. The bird had severe visceral gout, a finding consistent with Gyps vultures from Asia that have been poisoned by diclofenac. Liver and kidney samples from this Eurasian Griffon Vulture contained elevated flunixin (an NSAID) levels (median = 2.70 and 6.50 mg/kg, respectively). This is the first reported case of a wild vulture being exposed to and apparently killed by an NSAID outside Asia. It is also the first reported instance of mortality in the wild resulting from environmental exposure to an NSAID other than diclofenac.

  15. Organochlorine residues in blood of cinereous vultures and Eurasian griffon vultures in a northeastern Mediterranean area of nature conservation.

    PubMed

    Goutner, Vassilis; Skartsi, Theodora; Konstantinou, Ioannis K; Sakellarides, Theophanes M; Albanis, Triantafyllos A; Vasilakis, Dimitrios; Elorriaga, Javier; Poirazidis, Kostas

    2011-12-01

    In the National Park of Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli Forest (Dadia NP, Greece), seven "target" PCBs and 16 organochlorine pesticides (OCs) were analysed in blood samples of cinereous vultures (Aegypius monachus) and Eurasian griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus). PCB congeners 138, 153 and 180 predominated in both species' blood samples. In both species, no differences were detected in congener levels between successive age classes, but in cinereous vulture, there were significant differences between adult and nestling in levels of PCB 28, 52, 101, 118 and between nestling and immature in levels of PCB 101. Regarding pesticides, p,p'-DDE dominated in both vultures followed by β-HCH, lindane and endosulfan sulphate, but ∑OCs were higher in griffon vulture. Significant differences were detected only between nestling and sub-adult cinereous vultures in heptachlor levels and between nestling and adult in p,p'-DDT. The origin of pollutants differs between the two vulture species and pollution patterns may not reflect those at Dadia NP.

  16. Toxoplasma gondii prevalence in Israeli crows and Griffon vultures.

    PubMed

    Salant, H; Hamburger, J; King, R; Baneth, G

    2013-01-16

    A cross-sectional Toxoplasma gondii seroprevalence study was performed on free ranging crows (Corvus cornis, Corvus monedula, Corvus splendens) and Griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) from Israel in order to assess exposure to this pathogen in scavenger birds that feed on animal carcasses and their possible role in the epidemiology of toxoplasmosis. Using the modified agglutination test (MAT) with a cutoff titer of 1:25, 52 of 122 crows (42.6%) and 40 of 101 Griffon vultures (39.6%) were found to be T. gondii seropositive. Crow T. gondii seroprevalence was significantly higher in northern areas of Israel (p=0.007) where annual precipitation is higher and annual summer maximum temperatures are lower than in the drier and warmer south. Seroprevalence in crows was positively associated with higher human population densities possibly related to the increased cat population in these areas. PCR analysis of brain extracts from crows resulted in the detection of T. gondii DNA in 1 seropositive crow from northern Israel. Genetic analysis of DNA from the positive crow brain confirmed infection with T. gondii type 2 using a multiplex multilocus nested PCR-RFLP (Mn-PCR-RFLP) of the SAG1, 5-3' SAG2, alt.SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, C22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1 and Apico loci. The high T. gondii seroprevalence in these bird species suggests that infected carrion may be responsible for widespread infection of carcass scavenger birds which may further transmit infection to other carnivorous intermediate hosts or feline definitive hosts when consumed post-mortally.

  17. Identification and characterization of novel Mycoplasma spp. belonging to the hominis group from griffon vultures.

    PubMed

    Lecis, R; Chessa, B; Cacciotto, C; Addis, M F; Coradduzza, E; Berlinguer, F; Muzzeddu, M; Lierz, M; Carcangiu, L; Pittau, M; Alberti, A

    2010-08-01

    Mycoplasmas are commensals and pathogens of various avian species, and are also regularly found in birds of prey, although their significance to birds' health remains unclear. Here we describe two novel Mycoplasma isolated from the upper respiratory tract of four Eurasian griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) housed in a wildlife recovery centre in Sardinia (Italy). By sequencing the 16S rRNA gene and the entire 16S/23S intergenic spacer region, the new strains were classified within the Mycoplasma taxonomy at the group and cluster levels, showing that the two isolates fall into the Mycoplasma synoviae and Mycoplasma hominis clusters of the hominis group, respectively. We combined molecular tools and immunoblotting methods in order to further characterize these isolates, and antigenic analyses overall confirmed the molecular findings. Different levels of pathogenicity and prevalence of these strains might have different implications for the conservation and reintroduction of vultures.

  18. Systematics within Gyps vultures: a clade at risk

    PubMed Central

    Johnson, Jeff A; Lerner, Heather RL; Rasmussen, Pamela C; Mindell, David P

    2006-01-01

    Background Populations of the Oriental White-backed Vulture (Gyps bengalensis) have declined by over 95% within the past decade. This decline is largely due to incidental consumption of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory veterinary pharmaceutical diclofenac, commonly used to treat domestic livestock. The conservation status of other Gyps vultures in southern Asia is also of immediate concern, given the lack of knowledge regarding status of their populations and the continuing existence of taxonomic uncertainties. In this study, we assess phylogenetic relationships for all recognized species and the majority of subspecies within the genus Gyps. The continuing veterinary use of diclofenac is an unknown but potential risk to related species with similar feeding habits to Gyps bengalensis. Therefore, an accurate assessment of the phylogenetic relationships among Gyps vultures should aid in their conservation by clarifying taxonomic uncertainties, and enabling inference of their respective relatedness to susceptible G. bengalensis. Results Phylogenetic results using mitochondrial cytB, ND2 and control region sequence data indicate a recent and rapid diversification within the genus Gyps. All recognized species formed monophyletic groups with high statistical support, with the exception of the Eurasian Vulture, for which specimens identified as subspecies G. fulvus fulvescens appear closely related to the Himalayan Vulture (G. himalayensis). In all analyses, the earliest divergence separated the Oriental White-backed Vulture from other Gyps taxa, with the next diverging taxon being either the African White-backed Vulture (G. africanus), or the Himalayan Vulture. All analyses supported a sister relationship between the Eurasian Vulture (G. f. fulvus), and Rüppell's Vulture (G. rueppellii), with this clade being sister to another consisting of the two taxa of "Long-billed" Vulture (G. indicus indicus and G. i. tenuirostris), and the Cape Vulture (G. coprotheres). These

  19. How do colonial Eurasian Griffon Vultures prevent extra-pair mating?

    PubMed Central

    Bertran, Joan; Macià, Francesc Xavier

    2016-01-01

    In colonial breeding species, preventive measures to reduce the risks of extra-pair copulations (EPCs) should reflect the actual risk perceived by males (e.g., proximity of neighbors, intrusions into the nest) mainly during the fertile period. In colonial vultures, specific studies examining the preventive measures that minimize the risks of EPCs occurring within the competitive context of colonial breeding have not been conducted. Here we tested at Eurasian Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) nesting sites the intensity of paternity assurance behavior, shown as frequency and duration of within-pair copulations (WPCs), potential mate vigilance or nest attendance, and levels of aggressivity. This was measured according to the frequency of territorial intrusions and comparison of the fertile vs. the non-fertile period. Our findings suggest that the frequency of WPCs and their duration increased significantly during the presumed fertile period, regarded as the period when Griffon pairs spent significantly more time together at their nests. In addition, low levels of territorial intrusions were observed, an aggressive response of pairs towards intruders, and a relatively high presence of pairs at the nests during the fertile period. Thus, although nesting sites are subject to low exposure to EPC attempts, the increased frequency and duration of copulations during the fertile period suggests that, under pressure from the colonial breeding system, a higher rate of copulations is the most effective preventive mechanism against relative uncertainty of paternity. PMID:26966674

  20. How do colonial Eurasian Griffon Vultures prevent extra-pair mating?

    PubMed

    Bertran, Joan; Macià, Francesc Xavier; Margalida, Antoni

    2016-01-01

    In colonial breeding species, preventive measures to reduce the risks of extra-pair copulations (EPCs) should reflect the actual risk perceived by males (e.g., proximity of neighbors, intrusions into the nest) mainly during the fertile period. In colonial vultures, specific studies examining the preventive measures that minimize the risks of EPCs occurring within the competitive context of colonial breeding have not been conducted. Here we tested at Eurasian Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) nesting sites the intensity of paternity assurance behavior, shown as frequency and duration of within-pair copulations (WPCs), potential mate vigilance or nest attendance, and levels of aggressivity. This was measured according to the frequency of territorial intrusions and comparison of the fertile vs. the non-fertile period. Our findings suggest that the frequency of WPCs and their duration increased significantly during the presumed fertile period, regarded as the period when Griffon pairs spent significantly more time together at their nests. In addition, low levels of territorial intrusions were observed, an aggressive response of pairs towards intruders, and a relatively high presence of pairs at the nests during the fertile period. Thus, although nesting sites are subject to low exposure to EPC attempts, the increased frequency and duration of copulations during the fertile period suggests that, under pressure from the colonial breeding system, a higher rate of copulations is the most effective preventive mechanism against relative uncertainty of paternity.

  1. Toxicity of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to Gyps vultures: a new threat from ketoprofen.

    PubMed

    Naidoo, Vinny; Wolter, Kerri; Cromarty, Duncan; Diekmann, Maria; Duncan, Neil; Meharg, Andrew A; Taggart, Mark A; Venter, Leon; Cuthbert, Richard

    2010-06-23

    Three Gyps vulture species are on the brink of extinction in South Asia owing to the veterinary non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) diclofenac. Carcasses of domesticated ungulates are the main food source for Asia's vultures and birds die from kidney failure after consuming diclofenac-contaminated tissues. Here, we report on the safety testing of the NSAID ketoprofen, which was not reported to cause mortality in clinical treatment of scavenging birds and is rapidly eliminated from livestock tissues. Safety testing was undertaken using captive non-releasable Cape griffon vultures (Gyps coprotheres) and wild-caught African white-backed vultures (G. africanus), both previously identified as susceptible to diclofenac and suitable surrogates. Ketoprofen doses ranged from 0.5 to 5 mg kg(-1) vulture body weight, based upon recommended veterinary guidelines and maximum levels of exposure for wild vultures (estimated as 1.54 mg kg(-1)). Doses were administered by oral gavage or through feeding tissues from cattle dosed with ketoprofen at 6 mg kg(-1) cattle body weight, before slaughter. Mortalities occurred at dose levels of 1.5 and 5 mg kg(-1) vulture body weight (within the range recommended for clinical treatment) with the same clinical signs as observed for diclofenac. Surveys of livestock carcasses in India indicate that toxic levels of residual ketoprofen are already present in vulture food supplies. Consequently, we strongly recommend that ketoprofen is not used for veterinary treatment of livestock in Asia and in other regions of the world where vultures access livestock carcasses. The only alternative to diclofenac that should be promoted as safe for vultures is the NSAID meloxicam.

  2. Using Wind Tunnels to Predict Bird Mortality in Wind Farms: The Case of Griffon Vultures

    PubMed Central

    de Lucas, Manuela; Ferrer, Miguel; Janss, Guyonne F. E.

    2012-01-01

    Background Wind farms have shown a spectacular growth during the last 15 years. Avian mortality through collision with moving rotor blades is well-known as one of the main adverse impacts of wind farms. In Spain, the griffon vulture incurs the highest mortality rates in wind farms. Methodology/Principal Findings As far as we know, this study is the first attempt to predict flight trajectories of birds in order to foresee potentially dangerous areas for wind farm development. We analyse topography and wind flows in relation to flight paths of griffon vultures, using a scaled model of the wind farm area in an aerodynamic wind tunnel, and test the difference between the observed flight paths of griffon vultures and the predominant wind flows. Different wind currents for each wind direction in the aerodynamic model were observed. Simulations of wind flows in a wind tunnel were compared with observed flight paths of griffon vultures. No statistical differences were detected between the observed flight trajectories of griffon vultures and the wind passages observed in our wind tunnel model. A significant correlation was found between dead vultures predicted proportion of vultures crossing those cells according to the aerodynamic model. Conclusions Griffon vulture flight routes matched the predominant wind flows in the area (i.e. they followed the routes where less flight effort was needed). We suggest using these kinds of simulations to predict flight paths over complex terrains can inform the location of wind turbines and thereby reduce soaring bird mortality. PMID:23152764

  3. The evolutionary pathway to obligate scavenging in Gyps vultures.

    PubMed

    Dermody, Brian J; Tanner, Colby J; Jackson, Andrew L

    2011-01-01

    The evolutionary pathway to obligate scavenging in Gyps vultures remains unclear. We propose that communal roosting plays a central role in setting up the information transfer network critical for obligate scavengers in ephemeral environments and that the formation of a flotilla-like foraging group is a likely strategy for foraging Gyps vultures. Using a spatial, individual-based, optimisation model we find that the communal roost is critical for establishing the information network that enables information transfer owing to the spatial-concentration of foragers close to the roost. There is also strong selection pressure for grouping behaviour owing to the importance of maintaining network integrity and hence information transfer during foraging. We present a simple mechanism for grouping, common in many animal species, which has the added implication that it negates the requirement for roost-centric information transfer. The formation of a flotilla-like foraging group also improves foraging efficiency through the reduction of overlapping search paths. Finally, we highlight the importance of consideration of information transfer mechanisms in order to maximise the success of vulture reintroduction programmes.

  4. The Evolutionary Pathway to Obligate Scavenging in Gyps Vultures

    PubMed Central

    Dermody, Brian J.; Tanner, Colby J.; Jackson, Andrew L.

    2011-01-01

    The evolutionary pathway to obligate scavenging in Gyps vultures remains unclear. We propose that communal roosting plays a central role in setting up the information transfer network critical for obligate scavengers in ephemeral environments and that the formation of a flotilla-like foraging group is a likely strategy for foraging Gyps vultures. Using a spatial, individual-based, optimisation model we find that the communal roost is critical for establishing the information network that enables information transfer owing to the spatial-concentration of foragers close to the roost. There is also strong selection pressure for grouping behaviour owing to the importance of maintaining network integrity and hence information transfer during foraging. We present a simple mechanism for grouping, common in many animal species, which has the added implication that it negates the requirement for roost-centric information transfer. The formation of a flotilla-like foraging group also improves foraging efficiency through the reduction of overlapping search paths. Finally, we highlight the importance of consideration of information transfer mechanisms in order to maximise the success of vulture reintroduction programmes. PMID:21931786

  5. Isolation and characterization of unusual Mycoplasma spp. from captive Eurasian Griffon (Gyps fulvus) in Sicily.

    PubMed

    Loria, G R; Ferrantelli, E; Giardina, G; Li Vecchi, L; Sparacino, L; Oliveri, F; McAuliffe, L; Nicholas, R A J

    2008-01-01

    Mycoplasmas have been isolated from birds of prey during clinical examinations, but their significance to the health of raptors is unclear. We report the isolation and characterization of four mycoplasmas found in the upper respiratory tract of four sick Eurasian Griffon (Gyps fulvus) that were housed in a Sicilian rehabilitation center at Ficuzza, near Palermo in Sicily, before reintroduction into the wild. These included Mycoplasma gallinarum, an unidentified mycoplasma highly similar to Mycoplasma glycophilum, and two unidentified mycoplasmas with similarities to Mycoplasma falconis and Mycoplasma gateae.

  6. Lead toxicity: consequences and interventions in an intensively managed (Gyps coprotheres) vulture colony.

    PubMed

    Naidoo, Vinny; Wolter, Kerri; Espie, Ian; Kotze, Antoinette

    2012-09-01

    The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa (NZG) is involved in the ex situ conservation of Gyps coprotheres, the Cape Griffon vulture (CGV) and houses 24 birds in a 100-yr-old aviary. Following the death of one vulture with high liver lead concentrations, an investigation was launched to ascertain the source(s) and consequences of lead toxicity in this breeding colony. Whole blood from 24 CGV, paint from the enclosure, water, and soil sampled at various locations within the enclosure were evaluated for their lead concentration, and data were gathered from NZG's medical records. The lead concentration in the paint, water, and enclosure soil was 5,100 microg/g, 0.5 microg/dl, and 72.48 +/- 21.83 microg/g, respectively. The whole-blood lead concentrations were 56.58 +/- 11 microg/dl. The breeding history of six pairs within the contaminated enclosure since 2002 showed 45 eggs laid, of which 44% were infertile and 24% successfully reared. The medical records revealed evidence of osteodystrophy despite adequate nutrition. As intervention measures, six birds were treated with Ca2+EDTA and the topsoil inside the enclosure was replaced. As a result, the lead concentration in the enclosure soil dropped to 14.74 +/- 14.39 microg/g, and the whole-blood lead concentrations declined to 42.75 +/- 11.64 microg/dl. It was concluded that lead concentrations in whole blood in excess of 100 microg/dl leads to clinical signs of lead toxicity in the CGV. Lower levels appear to interfere mainly with reproductive potential.

  7. Molecular sexing of threatened Gyps vultures: an important strategy for conservation breeding and ecological studies.

    PubMed

    Ghorpade, Prabhakar B; Gupta, Praveen K; Prakash, Vibhu; Cuthbert, Richard J; Kulkarni, Mandar; Prakash, Nikita; Das, Asit; Sharma, Anil K; Saini, Mohini

    2012-12-01

    During the last two decades populations of three resident species of Gyps vulture have declined dramatically and are now threatened with extinction in South Asia. Sex identification of vultures is of key importance for the purpose of conservation breeding as it is desirable to have an equal sex ratio in these monogamous species which are housed together in large colony aviaries. Because vultures are monomorphic, with no differences in external morphology or plumage colour between the sexes, other methods are required for sex identification. Molecular methods for sex identification in birds rely on allelic length or nucleotide sequence discrimination of the chromohelicase-DNA binding (CHD) gene located on male and female chromosomes ZZ and ZW, respectively. We characterized the partial sequences of CHD alleles from Gyps indicus, Gyps bengalensis, Gyps himalayensis and Aegypius monachus and analysed the applicability of five molecular methods of sex identification of 46 individual vultures including 26 known-sex G. bengalensis and G. indicus. The results revealed that W-specific PCR in combination with ZW-common PCR is a quick, accurate and simple method, and is ideal for sex identification of vultures. The method is also suitable to augment ecological studies for identifying sex of these endangered birds during necropsy examinations especially when gonads are not apparent, possibly due to regression during non-breeding seasons.

  8. Diclofenac disposition in Indian cow and goat with reference to Gyps vulture population declines.

    PubMed

    Taggart, M A; Cuthbert, R; Das, D; Sashikumar, C; Pain, D J; Green, R E; Feltrer, Y; Shultz, S; Cunningham, A A; Meharg, A A

    2007-05-01

    Gyps vultures across India are declining rapidly and the NSAID diclofenac has been shown to be the major cause. Vultures scavenge livestock carcasses that have been treated with diclofenac within the days preceding death. We present data on diclofenac disposition in Indian cow and goat, and field data on the prevalence of diclofenac in carcases in the environment. In the disposition experiment, animals were treated with a single intramuscular injection of diclofenac at 1000 microg kg-1 bw. In cow, diclofenac was detectable in liver, kidney and intestine up to 71 h post-treatment; in plasma, half-life was 12.2 h. In goat, tissue residues were undetectable after 26 h. Prevalence of diclofenac in liver from 36 dead livestock collected in the field was 13.9%. Data suggest that diclofenac residues in Indian cow and goat are short-lived, but diclofenac prevalence in carcasses available to vultures may still be very high.

  9. Do power lines and protected areas present a catch-22 situation for Cape vultures (Gyps coprotheres)?

    PubMed

    Phipps, W Louis; Wolter, Kerri; Michael, Michael D; MacTavish, Lynne M; Yarnell, Richard W

    2013-01-01

    Cape vulture Gyps coprotheres populations have declined across their range due to multiple anthropogenic threats. Their susceptibility to fatal collisions with the expanding power line network and the prevalence of carcasses contaminated with illegal poisons and other threats outside protected areas are thought to be the primary drivers of declines in southern Africa. We used GPS-GSM units to track the movements and delineate the home ranges of five adult (mean ±SD minimum convex polygon area = 121,655±90,845 km(2)) and four immature (mean ±SD minimum convex polygon area = 492,300±259,427 km(2)) Cape vultures to investigate the influence of power lines and their use of protected areas. The vultures travelled more than 1,000 km from the capture site and collectively entered five different countries in southern Africa. Their movement patterns and core foraging ranges were closely associated with the spatial distribution of transmission power lines and we present evidence that the construction of power lines has allowed the species to extend its range to areas previously devoid of suitable perches. The distribution of locations of known Cape vulture mortalities caused by interactions with power lines corresponded to the core ranges of the tracked vultures. Although some of the vultures regularly roosted at breeding colonies located inside protected areas the majority of foraging activity took place on unprotected farmland. Their ability to travel vast distances very quickly and the high proportion of time they spend in the vicinity of power lines and outside protected areas make Cape vultures especially vulnerable to negative interactions with the expanding power line network and the full range of threats across the region. Co-ordinated cross-border conservation strategies beyond the protected area network will therefore be necessary to ensure the future survival of threatened vultures in Africa.

  10. Do Power Lines and Protected Areas Present a Catch-22 Situation for Cape Vultures (Gyps coprotheres)?

    PubMed Central

    Phipps, W. Louis; Wolter, Kerri; Michael, Michael D.; MacTavish, Lynne M.; Yarnell, Richard W.

    2013-01-01

    Cape vulture Gyps coprotheres populations have declined across their range due to multiple anthropogenic threats. Their susceptibility to fatal collisions with the expanding power line network and the prevalence of carcasses contaminated with illegal poisons and other threats outside protected areas are thought to be the primary drivers of declines in southern Africa. We used GPS-GSM units to track the movements and delineate the home ranges of five adult (mean ±SD minimum convex polygon area  =  121,655±90,845 km2) and four immature (mean ±SD minimum convex polygon area  =  492,300±259,427 km2) Cape vultures to investigate the influence of power lines and their use of protected areas. The vultures travelled more than 1,000 km from the capture site and collectively entered five different countries in southern Africa. Their movement patterns and core foraging ranges were closely associated with the spatial distribution of transmission power lines and we present evidence that the construction of power lines has allowed the species to extend its range to areas previously devoid of suitable perches. The distribution of locations of known Cape vulture mortalities caused by interactions with power lines corresponded to the core ranges of the tracked vultures. Although some of the vultures regularly roosted at breeding colonies located inside protected areas the majority of foraging activity took place on unprotected farmland. Their ability to travel vast distances very quickly and the high proportion of time they spend in the vicinity of power lines and outside protected areas make Cape vultures especially vulnerable to negative interactions with the expanding power line network and the full range of threats across the region. Co-ordinated cross-border conservation strategies beyond the protected area network will therefore be necessary to ensure the future survival of threatened vultures in Africa. PMID:24137496

  11. Using tri-axial acceleration data to identify behavioral modes of free-ranging animals: general concepts and tools illustrated for griffon vultures.

    PubMed

    Nathan, Ran; Spiegel, Orr; Fortmann-Roe, Scott; Harel, Roi; Wikelski, Martin; Getz, Wayne M

    2012-03-15

    Integrating biomechanics, behavior and ecology requires a mechanistic understanding of the processes producing the movement of animals. This calls for contemporaneous biomechanical, behavioral and environmental data along movement pathways. A recently formulated unifying movement ecology paradigm facilitates the integration of existing biomechanics, optimality, cognitive and random paradigms for studying movement. We focus on the use of tri-axial acceleration (ACC) data to identify behavioral modes of GPS-tracked free-ranging wild animals and demonstrate its application to study the movements of griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus, Hablizl 1783). In particular, we explore a selection of nonlinear and decision tree methods that include support vector machines, classification and regression trees, random forest methods and artificial neural networks and compare them with linear discriminant analysis (LDA) as a baseline for classifying behavioral modes. Using a dataset of 1035 ground-truthed ACC segments, we found that all methods can accurately classify behavior (80-90%) and, as expected, all nonlinear methods outperformed LDA. We also illustrate how ACC-identified behavioral modes provide the means to examine how vulture flight is affected by environmental factors, hence facilitating the integration of behavioral, biomechanical and ecological data. Our analysis of just over three-quarters of a million GPS and ACC measurements obtained from 43 free-ranging vultures across 9783 vulture-days suggests that their annual breeding schedule might be selected primarily in response to seasonal conditions favoring rising-air columns (thermals) and that rare long-range forays of up to 1750 km from the home range are performed despite potentially heavy energetic costs and a low rate of food intake, presumably to explore new breeding, social and long-term resource location opportunities.

  12. Using tri-axial acceleration data to identify behavioral modes of free-ranging animals: general concepts and tools illustrated for griffon vultures

    PubMed Central

    Nathan, Ran; Spiegel, Orr; Fortmann-Roe, Scott; Harel, Roi; Wikelski, Martin; Getz, Wayne M.

    2012-01-01

    Summary Integrating biomechanics, behavior and ecology requires a mechanistic understanding of the processes producing the movement of animals. This calls for contemporaneous biomechanical, behavioral and environmental data along movement pathways. A recently formulated unifying movement ecology paradigm facilitates the integration of existing biomechanics, optimality, cognitive and random paradigms for studying movement. We focus on the use of tri-axial acceleration (ACC) data to identify behavioral modes of GPS-tracked free-ranging wild animals and demonstrate its application to study the movements of griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus, Hablizl 1783). In particular, we explore a selection of nonlinear and decision tree methods that include support vector machines, classification and regression trees, random forest methods and artificial neural networks and compare them with linear discriminant analysis (LDA) as a baseline for classifying behavioral modes. Using a dataset of 1035 ground-truthed ACC segments, we found that all methods can accurately classify behavior (80–90%) and, as expected, all nonlinear methods outperformed LDA. We also illustrate how ACC-identified behavioral modes provide the means to examine how vulture flight is affected by environmental factors, hence facilitating the integration of behavioral, biomechanical and ecological data. Our analysis of just over three-quarters of a million GPS and ACC measurements obtained from 43 free-ranging vultures across 9783 vulture-days suggests that their annual breeding schedule might be selected primarily in response to seasonal conditions favoring rising-air columns (thermals) and that rare long-range forays of up to 1750 km from the home range are performed despite potentially heavy energetic costs and a low rate of food intake, presumably to explore new breeding, social and long-term resource location opportunities. PMID:22357592

  13. The population decline of Gyps vultures in India and Nepal has slowed since veterinary use of diclofenac was banned.

    PubMed

    Prakash, Vibhu; Bishwakarma, Mohan Chandra; Chaudhary, Anand; Cuthbert, Richard; Dave, Ruchi; Kulkarni, Mandar; Kumar, Sashi; Paudel, Khadananda; Ranade, Sachin; Shringarpure, Rohan; Green, Rhys E

    2012-01-01

    Populations of oriental white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis), long-billed vulture (Gyps indicus) and slender-billed vulture (Gyps tenuirostris) crashed during the mid-1990s throughout the Indian subcontinent. Surveys in India, initially conducted in 1991-1993 and repeated in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2007, revealed that the population of Gyps bengalensis had fallen by 2007 to 0.1% of its numbers in the early 1990s, with the population of Gyps indicus and G. tenuirostris combined having fallen to 3.2% of its earlier level. A survey of G. bengalensis in western Nepal indicated that the size of the population in 2009 was 25% of that in 2002. In this paper, repeat surveys conducted in 2011 were analysed to estimate recent population trends. Populations of all three species of vulture remained at a low level, but the decline had slowed and may even have reversed for G. bengalensis, both in India and Nepal. However, estimates of the most recent population trends are imprecise, so it is possible that declines may be continuing, though at a significantly slower rate. The degree to which the decline of G. bengalensis in India has slowed is consistent with the expected effects on population trend of a measured change in the level of contamination of ungulate carcasses with the drug diclofenac, which is toxic to vultures, following a ban on its veterinary use in 2006. The most recent available information indicates that the elimination of diclofenac from the vultures' food supply is incomplete, so further efforts are required to fully implement the ban.

  14. Foraging ranges of immature African white-backed vultures (Gyps africanus) and their use of protected areas in southern Africa.

    PubMed

    Phipps, W Louis; Willis, Stephen G; Wolter, Kerri; Naidoo, Vinny

    2013-01-01

    Vultures in the Gyps genus are declining globally. Multiple threats related to human activity have caused widespread declines of vulture populations in Africa, especially outside protected areas. Addressing such threats requires the estimation of foraging ranges yet such estimates are lacking, even for widespread (but declining) species such as the African white-backed vulture (Gyps africanus). We tracked six immature African white-backed vultures in South Africa using GPS-GSM units to study their movement patterns, their use of protected areas and the time they spent in the vicinity of supplementary feeding sites. All individuals foraged widely; their combined foraging ranges extended into six countries in southern Africa (mean (± SE) minimum convex polygon area =269,103±197,187 km(2)) and three of the vultures travelled more than 900 km from the capture site. All six vultures spent the majority of their tracking periods outside protected areas. South African protected areas were very rarely visited whereas protected areas in northern Botswana and Zimbabwe were used more frequently. Two of the vultures visited supplementary feeding sites regularly, with consequent reduced ranging behaviour, suggesting that individuals could alter their foraging behaviour in response to such sites. We show that immature African white-backed vultures are capable of travelling throughout southern Africa, yet use protected areas to only a limited extent, making them susceptible to the full range of threats in the region. The standard approach of designating protected areas to conserve species is unlikely to ensure the protection of such wide-ranging species against threats in the wider landscape.

  15. Ejaculate collection efficiency and post-thaw semen quality in wild-caught Griffon vultures from the Sardinian population.

    PubMed

    Madeddu, Manuela; Berlinguer, Fiammetta; Ledda, Massimo; Leoni, Giovanni G; Satta, Valentina; Succu, Sara; Rotta, Andrea; Pasciu, Valeria; Zinellu, Angelo; Muzzeddu, Marco; Carru, Ciriaco; Naitana, Salvatore

    2009-02-19

    This study aimed to test the feasibility of a programme of semen collection and cryopreservation in Griffon vultures. Four wild-caught individuals kept in captivity because of unrecoverable traumas were used. Semen collection attempts were made twice a week during three consecutive reproductive seasons (December - March) using the abdominal massage method. Ejaculation was successfully induced between late January and late February. Semen collection efficiency was rather low (27.9%) and it did not vary among individuals (p > 0.05). No differences were found in ejaculate volumes (12.5 +/- 9.1 microl), spermatozoa concentration (28.4 +/- 30.9 million cells/ml) and viability (61.3 +/- 13.9%) among the 4 vultures. ATP values differed among the four vultures (p < 0.001); B showed higher nucleotide concentration than both C and D, while it did not differ form A, whose values were higher compared with D. After freezing and thawing, semen in vitro viability, DNA integrity and ATP intracellular concentration were determined. Spermatozoa viability after thawing did not differ among the four individuals (52.6 +/- 5.8 in A, 53.4 +/- 4.6 in B, 50.4 +/- 3.2 in C, 42.5 +/- 2.7 in D), but it decreased significantly compared to fresh semen (p < 0.05). During 4 hrs in vitro culture, spermatozoa collected from B maintained over time a higher viability in vitro when compared to A, C and D. As evaluated by the comet assay method, DNA fragmentation after freezing and thawing did not differ in the 4 vultures. ATP concentration in frozen/thawed semen was significantly lower than in fresh semen (p < 0.0001). This study indicates that semen cryopreservation can be considered as a useful tool in the conservation of Griffon vulture genetic resources, but further studies are needed to optimize this technique.

  16. Ejaculate collection efficiency and post-thaw semen quality in wild-caught Griffon vultures from the Sardinian population

    PubMed Central

    Madeddu, Manuela; Berlinguer, Fiammetta; Ledda, Massimo; Leoni, Giovanni G; Satta, Valentina; Succu, Sara; Rotta, Andrea; Pasciu, Valeria; Zinellu, Angelo; Muzzeddu, Marco; Carru, Ciriaco; Naitana, Salvatore

    2009-01-01

    This study aimed to test the feasibility of a programme of semen collection and cryopreservation in Griffon vultures. Four wild-caught individuals kept in captivity because of unrecoverable traumas were used. Semen collection attempts were made twice a week during three consecutive reproductive seasons (December – March) using the abdominal massage method. Ejaculation was successfully induced between late January and late February. Semen collection efficiency was rather low (27.9%) and it did not vary among individuals (p > 0.05). No differences were found in ejaculate volumes (12.5 +/- 9.1 μl), spermatozoa concentration (28.4 +/- 30.9 million cells/ml) and viability (61.3 +/- 13.9%) among the 4 vultures. ATP values differed among the four vultures (p < 0.001); B showed higher nucleotide concentration than both C and D, while it did not differ form A, whose values were higher compared with D. After freezing and thawing, semen in vitro viability, DNA integrity and ATP intracellular concentration were determined. Spermatozoa viability after thawing did not differ among the four individuals (52.6 +/- 5.8 in A, 53.4 +/- 4.6 in B, 50.4 +/- 3.2 in C, 42.5 +/- 2.7 in D), but it decreased significantly compared to fresh semen (p < 0.05). During 4 hrs in vitro culture, spermatozoa collected from B maintained over time a higher viability in vitro when compared to A, C and D. As evaluated by the comet assay method, DNA fragmentation after freezing and thawing did not differ in the 4 vultures. ATP concentration in frozen/thawed semen was significantly lower than in fresh semen (p < 0.0001). This study indicates that semen cryopreservation can be considered as a useful tool in the conservation of Griffon vulture genetic resources, but further studies are needed to optimize this technique. PMID:19228408

  17. Effectiveness of action in India to reduce exposure of Gyps vultures to the toxic veterinary drug diclofenac.

    PubMed

    Cuthbert, Richard; Taggart, Mark A; Prakash, Vibhu; Saini, Mohini; Swarup, Devendra; Upreti, Suchitra; Mateo, Rafael; Chakraborty, Soumya Sunder; Deori, Parag; Green, Rhys E

    2011-05-11

    Contamination of their carrion food supply with the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac has caused rapid population declines across the Indian subcontinent of three species of Gyps vultures endemic to South Asia. The governments of India, Pakistan and Nepal took action in 2006 to prevent the veterinary use of diclofenac on domesticated livestock, the route by which contamination occurs. We analyse data from three surveys of the prevalence and concentration of diclofenac residues in carcasses of domesticated ungulates in India, carried out before and after the implementation of a ban on veterinary use. There was little change in the prevalence and concentration of diclofenac between a survey before the ban and one conducted soon after its implementation, with the percentage of carcasses containing diclofenac in these surveys estimated at 10.8 and 10.7%, respectively. However, both the prevalence and concentration of diclofenac had fallen markedly 7-31 months after the implementation of the ban, with the true prevalence in this third survey estimated at 6.5%. Modelling of the impact of this reduction in diclofenac on the expected rate of decline of the oriental white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis) in India indicates that the decline rate has decreased to 40% of the rate before the ban, but is still likely to be rapid (about 18% year(-1)). Hence, further efforts to remove diclofenac from vulture food are still needed if the future recovery or successful reintroduction of vultures is to be feasible.

  18. Diclofenac toxicity in Gyps vulture is associated with decreased uric acid excretion and not renal portal vasoconstriction.

    PubMed

    Naidoo, V; Swan, G E

    2009-04-01

    Diclofenac (DF), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), is largely regarded as one of the most devastating environmental toxicant in recent times, after accidental exposure via their food-chain lead to massive mortalities in three vulture species on the Asian subcontinent. Although the use of diclofenac was recently banned on the Indian subcontinent, following the favourable safety profile of meloxicam, its mechanism of toxicity remains unknown. In an attempt to establish this mechanism, we test three hypotheses using models established from either the domestic chicken (Gallus domesticus) or the African White-backed vulture (Gyps africanus). We demonstrate that both DF and meloxicam are toxic to renal tubular epithelial (RTE) cells following 12 h of exposure, due to an increase in production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which could be temporarily ameliorated by pre-incubation with uric acid (UA). When cultures were incubated with either drug for only 2 h, meloxicam showed no toxicity in contrast to diclofenac. In both cases no increase in ROS production was evident. In addition, diclofenac decreased the transport of uric acid, by interfering with the p-amino-hippuric acid (PAH) channel. We conclude that vulture susceptibility to diclofenac results from a combination of an increased ROS, interference with UA transport and the duration of exposure.

  19. The pharmacokinetics of meloxicam in vultures.

    PubMed

    Naidoo, V; Wolter, K; Cromarty, A D; Bartels, P; Bekker, L; McGaw, L; Taggart, M A; Cuthbert, R; Swan, G E

    2008-04-01

    Vulture populations across the Asian subcontinent have declined dramatically in the last 15 years and are now on the verge of extinction. Although the cause of the population decline was initially unknown, the decrease has recently been conclusively linked to the use of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac in cattle that inadvertently ended up in the vulture food chain. With the vulture numbers continuing to decline by up to 48% a year, the Indian, Nepali and Pakistan governments have recently banned the manufacture and importation of veterinary diclofenac. They have also suggested meloxicam as an alternate anti-inflammatory for use in cattle. This recommendation was based on extensive acute safety studies in the African White-backed vulture (Gyps africanus), which evaluated worst case scenarios of maximum intake based on a once in three day feeding pattern. However, the possible cumulative pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic effects in vultures receiving multiple daily doses of meloxicam over time were not assessed. At present very little pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic information is available to add further support for the safety of meloxicam in this animal species. This article discusses the oral and intramuscular pharmacokinetics of meloxicam in Cape Griffon vultures (Gyps coprotheres). Therapeutic drug monitoring was also undertaken in White-backed, Egyptian (Neophron pernopterus) and one Lappet Faced vulture (Torgos tracheliotos). In all these species, meloxicam was characterized by a short half-life of elimination. The rapid metabolism of meloxicam in combination with a short duration of effect in the studied species Gyps vultures shown in this study makes it unlikely that the drug could accumulate. This confirms the safety of repeated exposure to meloxicam in vultures of this genus.

  20. Modelling the effects of sanitary policies on European vulture conservation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Margalida, Antoni; Colomer, M.A. Àngels

    2012-10-01

    Biodiversity losses are increasing as a consequence of negative anthropogenic effects on ecosystem dynamics. However, the magnitude and complexity of these effects may still be greatly underestimated. Most Old World vultures have experienced rapid population declines in recent years. In Europe, their immediate conservation depends on changes in health regulations affecting the availability of food provided by domestic carcasses. Information is lacking on the effects of a hypothetical food shortage on the population dynamics of vultures, and is necessary to assess the potential impacts of policy decisions on future changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services. A novel computational model (P-systems) was used to model these effects, forecasting a rapid decline in the Eurasian griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus). By contrast, vulture species with greater plasticity in their dietary range appeared less sensitive to declining food availability. This study extends our understanding of vulture ecosystem services, which have social and economic implications.

  1. Modelling the effects of sanitary policies on European vulture conservation

    PubMed Central

    Margalida, Antoni; Colomer, Ma Àngels

    2012-01-01

    Biodiversity losses are increasing as a consequence of negative anthropogenic effects on ecosystem dynamics. However, the magnitude and complexity of these effects may still be greatly underestimated. Most Old World vultures have experienced rapid population declines in recent years. In Europe, their immediate conservation depends on changes in health regulations affecting the availability of food provided by domestic carcasses. Information is lacking on the effects of a hypothetical food shortage on the population dynamics of vultures, and is necessary to assess the potential impacts of policy decisions on future changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services. A novel computational model (P-systems) was used to model these effects, forecasting a rapid decline in the Eurasian griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus). By contrast, vulture species with greater plasticity in their dietary range appeared less sensitive to declining food availability. This study extends our understanding of vulture ecosystem services, which have social and economic implications. PMID:23082243

  2. The Safety and Pharmacokinetics of Carprofen, Flunixin and Phenylbutazone in the Cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres) following Oral Exposure

    PubMed Central

    Fourie, Tamsyn; Cromarty, Duncan; Duncan, Neil; Wolter, Kerri; Naidoo, Vinny

    2015-01-01

    The following study evaluates the overt toxic potential of carprofen (CRP), flunixin (FXN) and phenylbutazone (PBZ) in Old world vultures in relation to historic toxicity data for diclofenac and ketoprofen, with the Cape vulture (Gyps coprotheres) being the indicator species. The toxic potential of a single oral dose of CRP (11.5 mg/kg), FXN (1 mg/kg),PBZ (1.7 mg/kg) or water was evaluated by means of a four-way parallel study (n = 2), as means of ascertaining if these drugs were as toxic as diclofenac in the vulture. No unscheduled deaths or pathological lesions were noted following exposure. Clinical signs of lethargy and depression were, however, noted in one CRP, two FXN and one PBZ treated birds. Mild reversible inhibition of UA excretion was evident in all three groups, although UA remained within the population reference interval in contrast to the effects previously described for diclofenac and ketoprofen. All treatment groups had a drug concentration responsive increase in alanine transferase activity. CRP, FXN and PBZ were characterised by a maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) of 1051.8 ± 620.7 ng/ml, 335.9 ± 36.3 ng/ml and 11150 ± 2474.9 ng/ml at 4 ± 4.3, 0.45 ± 0.02 and 5.3 ± 5.2 hours (Tmax) respectively and a half-life of elimination of 13.3 ±5, 1.8±1 and 18.7 ±11.4 hours respectively. While we could not demonstrate a lethal effect of the tested substances, the presence of toxic clinical signs, clinical pathological changes and/or long half-lives of elimination suggests that all three drugs have a potential for toxicity in a larger population or on repeat administration. In conclusion while the studied substances were not as overtly toxic as diclofenac, they are of safety concern. PMID:26512724

  3. The Safety and Pharmacokinetics of Carprofen, Flunixin and Phenylbutazone in the Cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres) following Oral Exposure.

    PubMed

    Fourie, Tamsyn; Cromarty, Duncan; Duncan, Neil; Wolter, Kerri; Naidoo, Vinny

    2015-01-01

    The following study evaluates the overt toxic potential of carprofen (CRP), flunixin (FXN) and phenylbutazone (PBZ) in Old world vultures in relation to historic toxicity data for diclofenac and ketoprofen, with the Cape vulture (Gyps coprotheres) being the indicator species. The toxic potential of a single oral dose of CRP (11.5 mg/kg), FXN (1 mg/kg),PBZ (1.7 mg/kg) or water was evaluated by means of a four-way parallel study (n = 2), as means of ascertaining if these drugs were as toxic as diclofenac in the vulture. No unscheduled deaths or pathological lesions were noted following exposure. Clinical signs of lethargy and depression were, however, noted in one CRP, two FXN and one PBZ treated birds. Mild reversible inhibition of UA excretion was evident in all three groups, although UA remained within the population reference interval in contrast to the effects previously described for diclofenac and ketoprofen. All treatment groups had a drug concentration responsive increase in alanine transferase activity. CRP, FXN and PBZ were characterised by a maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) of 1051.8 ± 620.7 ng/ml, 335.9 ± 36.3 ng/ml and 11150 ± 2474.9 ng/ml at 4 ± 4.3, 0.45 ± 0.02 and 5.3 ± 5.2 hours (Tmax) respectively and a half-life of elimination of 13.3 ±5, 1.8±1 and 18.7 ±11.4 hours respectively. While we could not demonstrate a lethal effect of the tested substances, the presence of toxic clinical signs, clinical pathological changes and/or long half-lives of elimination suggests that all three drugs have a potential for toxicity in a larger population or on repeat administration. In conclusion while the studied substances were not as overtly toxic as diclofenac, they are of safety concern.

  4. Pathology and proposed pathophysiology of diclofenac poisoning in free-living and experimentally exposed oriental white-backed vultures (Gyps bengalensis)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Meteyer, C.U.; Rideout, B.A.; Gilbert, M.; Shivaprasad, H.L.; Oaks, J.L.

    2005-01-01

    Oriental white-backed vultures (Gyps bengalensis; OWBVs) died of renal failure when they ingested diclofenac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), in tissues of domestic livestock. Acute necrosis of proximal convoluted tubules in these vultures was severe. Glomeruli, distal convoluted tubules, and collecting tubules were relatively spared in the vultures that had early lesions. In most vultures, however, lesions became extensive with large urate aggregates obscuring renal architecture. Inflammation was minimal. Extensive urate precipitation on the surface and within organ parenchyma (visceral gout) was consistently found in vultures with renal failure. Very little is known about the physiologic effect of NSAIDs in birds. Research in mammals has shown that diclofenac inhibits formation of prostaglandins. We propose that the mechanism by which diclofenac induces renal failure in the OWBV is through the inhibition of the modulating effect of prostaglandin on angiotensin II-mediated adrenergic stimulation. Renal portal valves open in response to adrenergic stimulation, redirecting portal blood to the caudal vena cava and bypassing the kidney. If diclofenac removes a modulating effect of prostaglandins on the renal portal valves, indiscriminant activation of these valves would redirect the primary nutrient blood supply away from the renal cortex. Resulting ischemic necrosis of the cortical proximal convoluted tubules would be consistent with our histologic findings in these OWBVs.

  5. Pathology and proposed pathophysiology of diclofenac poisoning in free-living and experimentally exposed oriental white-backed vultures (Gyps bengalensis).

    PubMed

    Meteyer, Carol Uphoff; Rideout, Bruce A; Gilbert, Martin; Shivaprasad, H L; Oaks, J Lindsay

    2005-10-01

    Oriental white-backed vultures (Gyps bengalensis; OWBVs) died of renal failure when they ingested diclofenac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), in tissues of domestic livestock. Acute necrosis of proximal convoluted tubules in these vultures was severe. Glomeruli, distal convoluted tubules, and collecting tubules were relatively spared in the vultures that had early lesions. In most vultures, however, lesions became extensive with large urate aggregates obscuring renal architecture. Inflammation was minimal. Extensive urate precipitation on the surface and within organ parenchyma (visceral gout) was consistently found in vultures with renal failure. Very little is known about the physiologic effect of NSAIDs in birds. Research in mammals has shown that diclofenac inhibits formation of prostaglandins. We propose that the mechanism by which diclofenac induces renal failure in the OWBV is through the inhibition of the modulating effect of prostaglandin on angiotensin II-mediated adrenergic stimulation. Renal portal valves open in response to adrenergic stimulation, redirecting portal blood to the caudal vena cava and bypassing the kidney. If diclofenac removes a modulating effect of prostaglandins on the renal portal valves, indiscriminant activation of these valves would redirect the primary nutrient blood supply away from the renal cortex. Resulting ischemic necrosis of the cortical proximal convoluted tubules would be consistent with our histologic findings in these OWBVs.

  6. Establishment of selected baseline blood chemistry and hematologic parameters in captive and wild-caught African white-backed vultures (Gyps africanus).

    PubMed

    Naidoo, V; Diekmann, M; Wolters, K; Swan, G E

    2008-07-01

    Despite the devastating collapse of three vulture populations on the Asian subcontinent as a result of their exposure to diclofenac, there is little available information on the normal physiology of many vulture species, including the African White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus). Such information is needed to fully understand mechanisms for toxicity and to identify and prevent future health problems. The aim of this study was to establish baseline parameters for hematologic and selected serum chemistry parameters for this model species for further studies into the toxicity of diclofenac. Captive nonreleasable and wild African White-backed Vultures were used to determine reference values. For hematology, erythrocyte counts, hemoglobin concentration, hematocrit, packed cell volume, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration, and total and differential leukocyte counts were measured. Chemical analytes measured included sodium, potassium, calcium, albumin, and globulin concentrations, aspartate aminotransferase, creatine kinase, and alanine aminotransferase activities. Uric acid and urea concentrations and the urea:uric acid ratio also were evaluated. Values are presented as means, standard deviations, and reference intervals. The serum chemistry parameters selected may provide a starting point for the evaluation of changes in renal and hepatic function; these organ systems are most severely affected by diclofenac. Results were also compared with values reported for G. africanus nestlings, and from these results it is evident that the clinical pathologic parameters are age related. This indicates that the use of nestling values for the evaluation of clinical pathologic findings in adults may be unreliable and could lead to incorrect assumptions.

  7. Anticipating Knowledge to Inform Species Management: Predicting Spatially Explicit Habitat Suitability of a Colonial Vulture Spreading Its Range

    PubMed Central

    Mateo-Tomás, Patricia; Olea, Pedro P.

    2010-01-01

    Background The knowledge of both potential distribution and habitat suitability is fundamental in spreading species to inform in advance management and conservation planning. After a severe decline in the past decades, the griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) is now spreading its breeding range towards the northwest in Spain and Europe. Because of its key ecological function, anticipated spatial knowledge is required to inform appropriately both vulture and ecosystem management. Methodology/Findings Here we used maximum entropy (Maxent) models to determine the habitat suitability of potential and current breeding distribution of the griffon vulture using presence-only data (N = 124 colonies) in north-western Spain. The most relevant ecological factors shaping this habitat suitability were also identified. The resulting model had a high predictive performance and was able to predict species' historical distribution. 7.5% (∼1,850 km2) of the study area resulted to be suitable breeding habitat, most of which (∼70%) is already occupied by the species. Cliff availability and livestock density, especially of sheep and goats, around 10 km of the colonies were the fundamental factors determining breeding habitat suitability for this species. Conclusions/Significance Griffon vultures could still spread 50–60 km towards the west, increasing their breeding range in 1,782 km2. According to our results, 7.22% of the area suitable for griffon vulture will be affected by wind farms, so our results could help to better plan wind farm locations. The approach here developed could be useful to inform management of reintroductions and recovery programmes currently being implemented for both the griffon vulture and other threatened vulture species. PMID:20811501

  8. Diclofenac residues in blood plasma and tissues of vultures collected from Ahmedabad, India.

    PubMed

    Muralidharan, S; Dhananjayan, V

    2010-10-01

    The study reports residues of diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug, in tissues of 11 White-backed Vulture, Gyps bengalensis collected between 2005 and 2007 and blood plasma of 12 White-backed Vulture, four Egyptian Vulture, Neophron percnopterus and two Griffon Vulture, Gyps fulvus collected during 2005. Samples were analysed using High Performance Liquid Chromatograhy (HPLC) equipped with UV detector. One of the White-backed Vultures collected during 2005 had substantial urate deposits on its viscera and diclofenac was detected in its liver (1.42 ppm wet weight) and kidney (1.18 ppm wet weight), which is suggestive of diclofenac exposure and intoxication. Although uric acid crystals were not observed in the remaining birds received during 2005, the residues of diclofenac detected were at levels higher than the toxic limits (0.25-1 ppm). No residues were detected in any of the tissues of birds collected during 2006 and 2007 (6 birds). About 89% (16 of 18) of plasma samples collected during 2005 had diclofenac residues (White-backed vulture: BDL to 0.17 ppm; Egyptian vulture: BDL to 0.09 ppm; Griffon vulture: 0.07-0.14 ppm). However, plasma diclofenac concentrations were less than the concentrations reported to be toxic. Although use of diclofenac for treating cattle has been banned in India, regular monitoring is recommended to assess the effectiveness of the ban on the drug in support of the conservation of these species.

  9. Scavenging efficiency and red fox abundance in Mediterranean mountains with and without vultures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morales-Reyes, Zebensui; Sánchez-Zapata, José A.; Sebastián-González, Esther; Botella, Francisco; Carrete, Martina; Moleón, Marcos

    2017-02-01

    Vertebrate scavenging assemblages include two major functional groups: obligate scavengers (i.e., vultures), which depend totally on carrion and are undergoing severe declines around the globe, and facultative scavengers, which exploit carrion opportunistically and are generally ubiquitous. Our goal was to investigate the hypothesis that vultures can indirectly regulate the abundance of mesopredators (i.e., facultative scavengers) through modulating their access to carrion resources. We studied scavenging efficiency and red fox (Vulpes vulpes) abundance in two neighbouring areas of South-eastern Spain where vultures (mainly griffon vultures Gyps fulvus) are present (Cazorla) and absent (Espuña). To do so, we monitored ungulate carcasses consumption during winter and summer, and counted red fox scats along walking transects as a proxy of fox density. Our results confirmed that scavenging efficiency was higher in Cazorla and in carcasses visited by vultures. This resulted in increasing scavenging opportunities for facultative scavengers where vultures were absent. Accordingly, mean red fox abundance was higher in Espuña. These results suggest the existence of a vulture-mediated mesopredator release (i.e., an increase of mesopredator numbers following vulture loss), which could trigger important indirect ecological effects. Also, our study demonstrates that facultative scavengers are hardly able to functionally replace vultures, mainly because the former exploit carrion on a slower time scale.

  10. Carbofuran and its toxic metabolites provide forensic evidence for furadan exposure in vultures (Gyps africanus) in Kenya.

    PubMed

    Otieno, Peter O; Lalah, Joseph O; Virani, Munir; Jondiko, Isaac O; Schramm, Karl-Werner

    2010-05-01

    Forensic analysis of carbofuran residues in weathered tissue samples for evidence of Furadan exposure in vultures (Gps africanus) by HPLC gave concentration (mg/Kg dry tissue weight) ranges of bdl - 0.07 (carbofuran), bdl - 0.499 (3-ketocarbofuran) and 0.013-0.147 (3-hydroxycarbofuran) in beaks, bdl-0.65 (carbofuran), 0.024-0.190 (3-ketocarbofuran) and 0.017-0.098 (3-hydroxycarbofuran) in feet, 0.179-0.219 (3-ketocarbofuran) and 0.081-0.093 (3-hydroxycarbofuran) in crop content, 0.078-0.082 (3-ketocarbofuran) and 0.091-0.101 (3-hydroxycarbofuran) in muscle of a laced carcass and 0.006-0.014 (carbofuran), 0.590-1.010 (3-ketocarbofuran) and 0.095-0.135 (3-hydroxycarbofuran) in soil sampled from a poisoning site. These compounds were confirmed by GC-MS. The results showed that HPLC combined with GC-MS is suitable for forensic analysis of carbofuran residues in bird tissue samples and that forensic investigation should include its two toxic metabolites, 3-hydroxycarbofuran and 3-ketocarbofuran.

  11. Distribution of persistent organochlorine chemical residues in blood plasma of three species of vultures from India.

    PubMed

    Dhananjayan, Venugopal; Muralidharan, Subramanian; Jayanthi, Palanisamy

    2011-02-01

    The presence of persistent organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were determined in blood plasma of white-backed vulture Gyps bengalensis, Egyptian vulture Neophron percnopterus, and griffon vulture Gyps fulvus collected from Ahmedabad, India. All the samples had varying levels of organochlorine pesticides and PCBs. Statistically significant (P<0.05) differences among species were detected for beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (β-HCH), ∑HCH, and dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT). The mean concentration of ∑HCH, ∑DDT, and ∑PCBs among plasma ranged from 43.7 to 136, 8.8 to 64.8, and 226 to 585 ng/ml, respectively. Among the various OCPs analyzed, 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethylene (p,p'-DDE) was detected most frequently. The concentrations of cyclodiene insecticides detected were lower than the other organochlorine residues. The levels of pesticides measured in plasma samples of three species of vulture were comparable to the results documented for a number of avian species and were lower than those reported to have deleterious effects on survival or reproduction of birds. Although no threat is posed by any of the organochlorine pesticides detected, continuous monitoring of breeding colonies is recommended. This study is also the first account of a comprehensive analysis of toxicants present in blood plasma of vulture species in India. The values reported in this study can serve as guidelines for future research in general as well as control values during the analysis of samples obtained from birds in the event of suspected organochlorine poisoning.

  12. Adult vultures outperform juveniles in challenging thermal soaring conditions.

    PubMed

    Harel, Roi; Horvitz, Nir; Nathan, Ran

    2016-06-13

    Due to the potentially detrimental consequences of low performance in basic functional tasks, individuals are expected to improve performance with age and show the most marked changes during early stages of life. Soaring-gliding birds use rising-air columns (thermals) to reduce energy expenditure allocated to flight. We offer a framework to evaluate thermal soaring performance, and use GPS-tracking to study movements of Eurasian griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus). Because the location and intensity of thermals are variable, we hypothesized that soaring performance would improve with experience and predicted that the performance of inexperienced individuals (<2 months) would be inferior to that of experienced ones (>5 years). No differences were found in body characteristics, climb rates under low wind shear, and thermal selection, presumably due to vultures' tendency to forage in mixed-age groups. Adults, however, outperformed juveniles in their ability to adjust fine-scale movements under challenging conditions, as juveniles had lower climb rates under intermediate wind shear, particularly on the lee-side of thermal columns. Juveniles were also less efficient along the route both in terms of time and energy. The consequences of these handicaps are probably exacerbated if juveniles lag behind adults in finding and approaching food.

  13. Cellular and humoral immunodepression in vultures feeding upon medicated livestock carrion.

    PubMed

    Lemus, Jesús A; Blanco, Guillermo

    2009-06-22

    Veterinary pharmaceuticals contained in dead livestock may be ingested by avian scavengers and negatively affect their health and consequently their population dynamics and conservation. We evaluated the potential role of antibiotics as immunodepressors using multiple parameters measuring the condition of the cellular and humoral immune system in griffon (Gyps fulvus), cinereous (Aegypius monachus) and Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus). We confirmed the presence of circulating antimicrobial residues, especially quinolones, in nestlings of the three vulture species breeding in central Spain. Individuals ingesting antibiotics showed clearly depressed cellular and humoral immune systems compared with nestlings from the control areas, which did not ingest antibiotics. Within central Spain, we found that individuals with circulating antibiotics showed depressed cellular (especially CD4(+)and CD8(+)T-lymphocyte subsets) and humoral (especially acellular APV complement and IL8-like) immune systems compared with nestlings without circulating antibiotics. This suggests that ingestion of antibiotics together with food may depress the immune system of developing nestlings, temporarily reducing their resistance to opportunistic pathogens, which require experimental confirmation. Medicated livestock carrion should be considered inadequate food for vultures due to their detrimental consequences on health derived from the ingestion and potential effects of the veterinary drugs contained in them and for this reason rejected as a management tool in conservation programmes.

  14. How cheap is soaring flight in raptors? A preliminary investigation in freely-flying vultures.

    PubMed

    Duriez, Olivier; Kato, Akiko; Tromp, Clara; Dell'Omo, Giacomo; Vyssotski, Alexei L; Sarrazin, François; Ropert-Coudert, Yan

    2014-01-01

    Measuring the costs of soaring, gliding and flapping flight in raptors is challenging, but essential for understanding their ecology. Among raptors, vultures are scavengers that have evolved highly efficient soaring-gliding flight techniques to minimize energy costs to find unpredictable food resources. Using electrocardiogram, GPS and accelerometer bio-loggers, we report the heart rate (HR) of captive griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus and G. himalayensis) trained for freely-flying. HR increased three-fold at take-off (characterized by prolonged flapping flight) and landing (>300 beats-per-minute, (bpm)) compared to baseline levels (80-100 bpm). However, within 10 minutes after the initial flapping phase, HR in soaring/gliding flight dropped to values similar to baseline levels, i.e. slightly lower than theoretically expected. However, the extremely rapid decrease in HR was unexpected, when compared with other marine gliders, such as albatrosses. Weather conditions influenced flight performance and HR was noticeably higher during cloudy compared to sunny conditions when prolonged soaring flight is made easier by thermal ascending air currents. Soaring as a cheap locomotory mode is a crucial adaptation for vultures who spend so long on the wing for wide-ranging movements to find food.

  15. Cellular and humoral immunodepression in vultures feeding upon medicated livestock carrion

    PubMed Central

    Lemus, Jesús A.; Blanco, Guillermo

    2009-01-01

    Veterinary pharmaceuticals contained in dead livestock may be ingested by avian scavengers and negatively affect their health and consequently their population dynamics and conservation. We evaluated the potential role of antibiotics as immunodepressors using multiple parameters measuring the condition of the cellular and humoral immune system in griffon (Gyps fulvus), cinereous (Aegypius monachus) and Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus). We confirmed the presence of circulating antimicrobial residues, especially quinolones, in nestlings of the three vulture species breeding in central Spain. Individuals ingesting antibiotics showed clearly depressed cellular and humoral immune systems compared with nestlings from the control areas, which did not ingest antibiotics. Within central Spain, we found that individuals with circulating antibiotics showed depressed cellular (especially CD4+and CD8+T-lymphocyte subsets) and humoral (especially acellular APV complement and IL8-like) immune systems compared with nestlings without circulating antibiotics. This suggests that ingestion of antibiotics together with food may depress the immune system of developing nestlings, temporarily reducing their resistance to opportunistic pathogens, which require experimental confirmation. Medicated livestock carrion should be considered inadequate food for vultures due to their detrimental consequences on health derived from the ingestion and potential effects of the veterinary drugs contained in them and for this reason rejected as a management tool in conservation programmes. PMID:19324751

  16. How Cheap Is Soaring Flight in Raptors? A Preliminary Investigation in Freely-Flying Vultures

    PubMed Central

    Duriez, Olivier; Kato, Akiko; Tromp, Clara; Dell'Omo, Giacomo; Vyssotski, Alexei L.; Sarrazin, François; Ropert-Coudert, Yan

    2014-01-01

    Measuring the costs of soaring, gliding and flapping flight in raptors is challenging, but essential for understanding their ecology. Among raptors, vultures are scavengers that have evolved highly efficient soaring-gliding flight techniques to minimize energy costs to find unpredictable food resources. Using electrocardiogram, GPS and accelerometer bio-loggers, we report the heart rate (HR) of captive griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus and G. himalayensis) trained for freely-flying. HR increased three-fold at take-off (characterized by prolonged flapping flight) and landing (>300 beats-per-minute, (bpm)) compared to baseline levels (80–100 bpm). However, within 10 minutes after the initial flapping phase, HR in soaring/gliding flight dropped to values similar to baseline levels, i.e. slightly lower than theoretically expected. However, the extremely rapid decrease in HR was unexpected, when compared with other marine gliders, such as albatrosses. Weather conditions influenced flight performance and HR was noticeably higher during cloudy compared to sunny conditions when prolonged soaring flight is made easier by thermal ascending air currents. Soaring as a cheap locomotory mode is a crucial adaptation for vultures who spend so long on the wing for wide-ranging movements to find food. PMID:24454760

  17. Adult vultures outperform juveniles in challenging thermal soaring conditions

    PubMed Central

    Harel, Roi; Horvitz, Nir; Nathan, Ran

    2016-01-01

    Due to the potentially detrimental consequences of low performance in basic functional tasks, individuals are expected to improve performance with age and show the most marked changes during early stages of life. Soaring-gliding birds use rising-air columns (thermals) to reduce energy expenditure allocated to flight. We offer a framework to evaluate thermal soaring performance, and use GPS-tracking to study movements of Eurasian griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus). Because the location and intensity of thermals are variable, we hypothesized that soaring performance would improve with experience and predicted that the performance of inexperienced individuals (<2 months) would be inferior to that of experienced ones (>5 years). No differences were found in body characteristics, climb rates under low wind shear, and thermal selection, presumably due to vultures’ tendency to forage in mixed-age groups. Adults, however, outperformed juveniles in their ability to adjust fine-scale movements under challenging conditions, as juveniles had lower climb rates under intermediate wind shear, particularly on the lee-side of thermal columns. Juveniles were also less efficient along the route both in terms of time and energy. The consequences of these handicaps are probably exacerbated if juveniles lag behind adults in finding and approaching food. PMID:27291590

  18. Removing the threat of diclofenac to critically endangered Asian vultures.

    PubMed

    Swan, Gerry; Naidoo, Vinasan; Cuthbert, Richard; Green, Rhys E; Pain, Deborah J; Swarup, Devendra; Prakash, Vibhu; Taggart, Mark; Bekker, Lizette; Das, Devojit; Diekmann, Jörg; Diekmann, Maria; Killian, Elmarié; Meharg, Andy; Patra, Ramesh Chandra; Saini, Mohini; Wolter, Kerri

    2006-03-01

    Veterinary use of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drug diclofenac in South Asia has resulted in the collapse of populations of three vulture species of the genus Gyps to the most severe category of global extinction risk. Vultures are exposed to diclofenac when scavenging on livestock treated with the drug shortly before death. Diclofenac causes kidney damage, increased serum uric acid concentrations, visceral gout, and death. Concern about this issue led the Indian Government to announce its intention to ban the veterinary use of diclofenac by September 2005. Implementation of a ban is still in progress late in 2005, and to facilitate this we sought potential alternative NSAIDs by obtaining information from captive bird collections worldwide. We found that the NSAID meloxicam had been administered to 35 captive Gyps vultures with no apparent ill effects. We then undertook a phased programme of safety testing of meloxicam on the African white-backed vulture Gyps africanus, which we had previously established to be as susceptible to diclofenac poisoning as the endangered Asian Gyps vultures. We estimated the likely maximum level of exposure (MLE) of wild vultures and dosed birds by gavage (oral administration) with increasing quantities of the drug until the likely MLE was exceeded in a sample of 40 G. africanus. Subsequently, six G. africanus were fed tissues from cattle which had been treated with a higher than standard veterinary course of meloxicam prior to death. In the final phase, ten Asian vultures of two of the endangered species (Gyps bengalensis, Gyps indicus) were dosed with meloxicam by gavage; five of them at more than the likely MLE dosage. All meloxicam-treated birds survived all treatments, and none suffered any obvious clinical effects. Serum uric acid concentrations remained within the normal limits throughout, and were significantly lower than those from birds treated with diclofenac in other studies. We conclude that meloxicam is of

  19. Removing the Threat of Diclofenac to Critically Endangered Asian Vultures

    PubMed Central

    Swan, Gerry; Naidoo, Vinasan; Cuthbert, Richard; Pain, Deborah J; Swarup, Devendra; Prakash, Vibhu; Taggart, Mark; Bekker, Lizette; Das, Devojit; Diekmann, Jörg; Diekmann, Maria; Killian, Elmarié; Meharg, Andy; Patra, Ramesh Chandra; Saini, Mohini; Wolter, Kerri

    2006-01-01

    Veterinary use of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drug diclofenac in South Asia has resulted in the collapse of populations of three vulture species of the genusGyps to the most severe category of global extinction risk. Vultures are exposed to diclofenac when scavenging on livestock treated with the drug shortly before death. Diclofenac causes kidney damage, increased serum uric acid concentrations, visceral gout, and death. Concern about this issue led the Indian Government to announce its intention to ban the veterinary use of diclofenac by September 2005. Implementation of a ban is still in progress late in 2005, and to facilitate this we sought potential alternative NSAIDs by obtaining information from captive bird collections worldwide. We found that the NSAID meloxicam had been administered to 35 captiveGyps vultures with no apparent ill effects. We then undertook a phased programme of safety testing of meloxicam on the African white-backed vultureGyps africanus, which we had previously established to be as susceptible to diclofenac poisoning as the endangered AsianGyps vultures. We estimated the likely maximum level of exposure (MLE) of wild vultures and dosed birds by gavage (oral administration) with increasing quantities of the drug until the likely MLE was exceeded in a sample of 40G. africanus. Subsequently, sixG. africanus were fed tissues from cattle which had been treated with a higher than standard veterinary course of meloxicam prior to death. In the final phase, ten Asian vultures of two of the endangered species(Gyps bengalensis,Gyps indicus) were dosed with meloxicam by gavage; five of them at more than the likely MLE dosage. All meloxicam-treated birds survived all treatments, and none suffered any obvious clinical effects. Serum uric acid concentrations remained within the normal limits throughout, and were significantly lower than those from birds treated with diclofenac in other studies. We conclude that meloxicam is of low

  20. The population crash of the white-rumped vulture, and its struggle to recover

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Meteyer, Carol U.; Gilbert, Martin

    2011-01-01

    The white-rumped vulture Gyps bengalensis was once the most abundant bird of prey on the Indian sub-continent. This species easily adapted to life in urban settings; thriving as a keystone species that maintained an ecological balance between the living and the dead. Dead livestock comprised the bulk of the white-rumped vulture diet and was ultimately responsible for its catastrophic population crash. Within ten years of the first documented population declines more than 99% of the white-rumped vultures were lost. The white-rumped vulture was listed as critically endangered in 2000 and has since remained at high risk for extinction.

  1. The effect of social facilitation on foraging success in vultures: a modelling study.

    PubMed

    Jackson, Andrew L; Ruxton, Graeme D; Houston, David C

    2008-06-23

    The status of many Gyps vulture populations are of acute conservation concern as several show marked and rapid decline. Vultures rely heavily on cues from conspecifics to locate carcasses via local enhancement. A simulation model is developed to explore the roles vulture and carcass densities play in this system, where information transfer plays a key role in locating food. We find a sigmoid relationship describing the probability of vultures finding food as a function of vulture density in the habitat. This relationship suggests a threshold density below which the foraging efficiency of the vulture population will drop rapidly towards zero. Management strategies should closely study this foraging system in order to maintain effective foraging densities.

  2. Diclofenac residues in carcasses of domestic ungulates available to vultures in India.

    PubMed

    Taggart, M A; Senacha, K R; Green, R E; Jhala, Y V; Raghavan, B; Rahmani, A R; Cuthbert, R; Pain, D J; Meharg, A A

    2007-08-01

    Gyps vulture populations across the Indian subcontinent are declining rapidly and evidence indicates that veterinary use of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) diclofenac is the major cause. Exposure of vultures to diclofenac is likely to arise from the consumption of livestock carcasses that have been treated shortly before death, however, detailed information regarding the prevalence and residual levels of diclofenac in carcasses available to vultures in India remains unreported. Here, we present data on diclofenac residues in 1848 liver samples taken from carcasses of dead livestock sampled at 67 sites in 12 states within India, between May 2004 and July 2005. Diclofenac residues were detected in carcasses in all states except Orisa, where only one site was sampled. The overall prevalence of detectable diclofenac (>10 microg kg(-1)) across all states was 10.1% and varied significantly among states, with up to 22.3% prevalence determined in Bihar. The geometric mean concentration of diclofenac found in samples in which the drug was detected was 352 microg kg(-1). The prevalence of carcasses containing diclofenac is similar to that previously proposed to be required to have caused the observed Gyps vulture declines in India. On the 11th of May 2006, the Drug Controller General (India) ordered the withdrawal of all licenses granted for the manufacture of diclofenac for veterinary use within India. However, if Gyps vultures are to be protected, potentially substantial existing stocks now need to be quickly and effectively removed from the Indian veterinary market.

  3. NSAIDs and scavenging birds: potential impacts beyond Asia's critically endangered vultures.

    PubMed

    Cuthbert, Richard; Parry-Jones, Jemima; Green, Rhys E; Pain, Deborah J

    2007-02-22

    Veterinary treatment of livestock with diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), has caused catastrophic declines of Gyps vultures in Asia. This has highlighted a lack of knowledge on the potential impacts of NSAIDs on scavenging birds. Surveys of veterinarians and zoos document the outcomes of the treatment of over 870 scavenging birds from 79 species. As well as diclofenac, carprofen and flunixin were associated with mortality, with deaths observed in 13 and 30% of cases, respectively. Mortality was also found following treatment with ibuprofen and phenylbutazone. NSAID toxicity was reported for raptors, storks, cranes and owls, suggesting that the potential conservation impact of NSAIDs may extend beyond Gyps vultures and could be significant for New World vultures. In contrast, there were no reported mortalities for the NSAID meloxicam, which was administered to over 700 birds from 60 species. The relative safety of meloxicam supports other studies indicating the suitability of this NSAID to replace diclofenac in Asia.

  4. Naturally acquired antibodies to Bacillus anthracis protective antigen in vultures of southern Africa.

    PubMed

    Turnbull, P C B; Diekmann, M; Kilian, J W; Versfeld, W; De Vos, V; Arntzen, L; Wolter, K; Bartels, P; Kotze, A

    2008-06-01

    Sera from 19 wild caught vultures in northern Namibia and 15 (12 wild caught and three captive bred but with minimal histories) in North West Province, South Africa, were examined by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for antibodies to the Bacillus anthracis toxin protective antigen (PA). As assessed from the baseline established with a control group of ten captive reared vultures with well-documented histories, elevated titres were found in 12 of the 19 (63%) wild caught Namibian birds as compared with none of the 15 South African ones. There was a highly significant difference between the Namibian group as a whole and the other groups (P < 0.001) and no significant difference between the South African and control groups (P > 0.05). Numbers in the Namibian group were too small to determine any significances in species-, sex- or age-related differences within the raw data showing elevated titres in four out of six Cape Vultures, Gyps coprotheres, six out of ten White-backed Vultures, Gyps africanus, and one out of three Lappet-faced Vultures, Aegypius tracheliotus, or in five of six males versus three of seven females, and ten of 15 adults versus one of four juveniles. The results are in line with the available data on the incidence of anthrax in northern Namibia and South Africa and the likely contact of the vultures tested with anthrax carcasses. It is not known whether elevated titre indicates infection per se in vultures or absorption of incompletely digested epitopes of the toxin or both. The results are discussed in relation to distances travelled by vultures as determined by new tracking techniques, how serology can reveal anthrax activity in an area and the issue of the role of vultures in transmission of anthrax.

  5. Vulture rescue and rehabilitation in South Africa: an urban perspective.

    PubMed

    Naidoo, V; Wolter, K; Espie, I; Kotze, A

    2011-03-01

    South Africa is home to 9 vulture species, of which 7 are endangered. While the cause of the population declines remains largely speculative, a vast amount of effort has been dedicated towards the protection of populations by ensuring sustainable and safe food sources for the various colonies. Limited focus was placed in the past on efforts related to the rescue and/or rehabilitation (R&R) of injured birds and the release of these birds back into the wild. This paper provides an overview of the causes, the impact and success of 3 organisations involved in R&R efforts of vultures in the Magaliesberg mountain range and surrounding areas over a period of 10 years. Study material included 162 Cape griffon (CGV) and 38 African white-backed (AWBV) vultures. Datasets include the number, sex and age of birds received, the reason the vultures were brought in for R&R, surgical interventions performed and outcomes of rescue efforts. The CGV dominated the rehabilitation attempts. Results further show that a large number of apparently healthy birds were presented for veterinary treatment. The R&R data clearly indicate that the major cause of injuries was birds colliding with overhead pylons, as a high number of soft tissue and skeletal injuries were observed. The study also shows that successful releases of rescued birds are possible. It is concluded that urbanisation has had a major negative impact on vultures around the Magaliesberg mountain range.

  6. Diclofenac residues as the cause of vulture population decline in Pakistan.

    PubMed

    Oaks, J Lindsay; Gilbert, Martin; Virani, Munir Z; Watson, Richard T; Meteyer, Carol U; Rideout, Bruce A; Shivaprasad, H L; Ahmed, Shakeel; Chaudhry, Muhammad Jamshed Iqbal; Arshad, Muhammad; Mahmood, Shahid; Ali, Ahmad; Khan, Aleem Ahmed

    2004-02-12

    The Oriental white-backed vulture (OWBV; Gyps bengalensis) was once one of the most common raptors in the Indian subcontinent. A population decline of >95%, starting in the 1990s, was first noted at Keoladeo National Park, India. Since then, catastrophic declines, also involving Gyps indicus and Gyps tenuirostris, have continued to be reported across the subcontinent. Consequently these vultures are now listed as critically endangered by BirdLife International. In 2000, the Peregrine Fund initiated its Asian Vulture Crisis Project with the Ornithological Society of Pakistan, establishing study sites at 16 OWBV colonies in the Kasur, Khanewal and Muzaffargarh-Layyah Districts of Pakistan to measure mortality at over 2,400 active nest sites. Between 2000 and 2003, high annual adult and subadult mortality (5-86%) and resulting population declines (34-95%) (ref. 5 and M.G., manuscript in preparation) were associated with renal failure and visceral gout. Here, we provide results that directly correlate residues of the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac with renal failure. Diclofenac residues and renal disease were reproduced experimentally in OWBVs by direct oral exposure and through feeding vultures diclofenac-treated livestock. We propose that residues of veterinary diclofenac are responsible for the OWBV decline.

  7. Diclofenac residues as the cause of vulture population decline in Pakistan

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Oaks, J.L.; Gilbert, M.; Virani, M.Z.; Watson, R.T.; Meteyer, C.U.; Rideout, B.A.; Shivaprasad, H.L.; Ahmed, S.; Chaudhry, M.J.I.; Arshad, M.; Mahmood, S.; Ali, A.; Khan, A.A.

    2004-01-01

    The Oriental white-backed vulture (OWBV; Gyps bengalensis) was once one of the most common raptors in the Indian subcontinent. A population decline of >95%, starting in the 1990s, was first noted at Keoladeo National Park, India. Since then, catastrophic declines, also involving Gyps indicus and Gyps tenuirostris, have continued to be reported across the subcontinent. Consequently these vultures are now listed as critically endangered by BirdLife International. In 2000, the Peregrine Fund initiated its Asian Vulture Crisis Project with the Ornithological Society of Pakistan, establishing study sites at 16 OWBV colonies in the Kasur, Khanewal and Muzaffargarha??Layyah Districts of Pakistan to measure mortality at over 2,400 active nest sites5. Between 2000 and 2003, high annual adult and subadult mortality (5a??86%) and resulting population declines (34a??95%) (ref. 5 and M.G., manuscript in preparation) were associated with renal failure and visceral gout. Here, we provide results that directly correlate residues of the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac with renal failure. Diclofenac residues and renal disease were reproduced experimentally in OWBVs by direct oral exposure and through feeding vultures diclofenac-treated livestock. We propose that residues of veterinary diclofenac are responsible for the OWBV decline.

  8. Apparent tolerance of turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) to the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac.

    PubMed

    Rattner, Barnett A; Whitehead, Maria A; Gasper, Grace; Meteyer, Carol U; Link, William A; Taggart, Mark A; Meharg, Andrew A; Pattee, Oliver H; Pain, Deborah J

    2008-11-01

    The nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac is extremely toxic to Old World Gyps vultures (median lethal dose -0.1-0.2 mg/kg), evoking visceral gout, renal necrosis, and mortality within a few days of exposure. Unintentional secondary poisoning of vultures that fed upon carcasses of diclofenac-treated livestock decimated populations in the Indian subcontinent. Because of the widespread use of diclofenac and other cyclooxygenase-2 inhibiting drugs, a toxicological study was undertaken in turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) as an initial step in examining sensitivity of New World scavenging birds. Two trials were conducted entailing oral gavage of diclofenac at doses ranging from 0.08 to 25 mg/kg body weight. Birds were observed for 7 d, blood samples were collected for plasma chemistry (predose and 12, 24, and 48 h and 7 d postdose), and select individuals were necropsied. Diclofenac failed to evoke overt signs of toxicity, visceral gout, renal necrosis, or elevate plasma uric acid at concentrations greater than 100 times the estimated median lethal dose reported for Gyps vultures. For turkey vultures receiving 8 or 25 mg/kg, the plasma half-life of diclofenac was estimated to be 6 h, and it was apparently cleared after several days as no residues were detectable in liver or kidney at necropsy. Differential sensitivity among avian species is a hallmark of cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors, and despite the tolerance of turkey vultures to diclofenac, additional studies in related scavenging species seem warranted.

  9. Apparent tolerance of turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) to the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rattner, B.A.; Whitehead, M.A.; Gasper, G.; Meteyer, C.U.; Link, W.A.; Taggart, M.A.; Meharg, A.A.; Pattee, O.H.; Pain, D.J.

    2008-01-01

    The nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac is extremely toxic to Old World Gyps vultures (median lethal dose 0.1?0.2 mg/kg), evoking visceral gout, renal necrosis, and mortality within a few days of exposure. Unintentional secondary poisoning of vultures that fed upon carcasses of diclofenac-treated livestock decimated populations in the Indian subcontinent. Because of the widespread use of diclofenac and other cyclooxygenase-2 inhibiting drugs, a toxicological study was undertaken in turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) as an initial step in examining sensitivity of New World scavenging birds. Two trials were conducted entailing oral gavage of diclofenac at doses ranging from 0.08 to 25 mg/kg body weight. Birds were observed for 7 d, blood samples were collected for plasma chemistry (predose and 12, 24, and 48 h and 7 d postdose), and select individuals were necropsied. Diclofenac failed to evoke overt signs of toxicity, visceral gout, renal necrosis, or elevate plasma uric acid at concentrations greater than 100 times the estimated median lethal dose reported for Gyps vultures. For turkey vultures receiving 8 or 25 mg/kg, the plasma half-life of diclofenac was estimated to be 6 h, and it was apparently cleared after several days as no residues were detectable in liver or kidney at necropsy. Differential sensitivity among avian species is a hallmark of cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors, and despite the tolerance of turkey vultures to diclofenac, additional studies in related scavenging species seem warranted.

  10. Metabolism of aceclofenac in cattle to vulture-killing diclofenac.

    PubMed

    Galligan, T H; Taggart, M A; Cuthbert, R J; Svobodova, D; Chipangura, J; Alderson, D; Prakash, V M; Naidoo, V

    2016-10-01

    The nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) diclofenac is highly toxic to Gyps vultures, and its recent widespread use in South Asia caused catastrophic declines in at least 3 scavenging raptors. The manufacture of veterinary formulations of diclofenac has since been banned across the region with mixed success. However, at least 12 other NSAIDs are available for veterinary use in South Asia. Aceclofenac is one of these compounds, and it is known to metabolize into diclofenac in some mammal species. The metabolic pathway of aceclofenac in cattle, the primary food of vultures in South Asia, is unknown. We gave 6 cattle the recommended dose of aceclofenac (2 mg/kg), collected blood thereafter at intervals for up to 12 h, and used liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry in a pharmacokinetic analysis of aceclofenac and diclofenac in the plasma. Nearly all the aceclofenac administered to the cattle was very rapidly metabolized into diclofenac. At 2 h, half the aceclofenac had been converted into diclofenac, and at 12 h four-fifths of the aceclofenac had been converted into diclofenac. Therefore, administering aceclofenac to livestock poses the same risk to vultures as administering diclofenac to livestock. This, coupled with the risk that aceclofenac may replace diclofenac in the veterinary market, points to the need for an immediate ban on all aceclofenac formulations that can be used to treat livestock. Without such a ban, the recovery of vultures across South Asia will not be successful.

  11. Turkey vulture surveys in Cuba

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wotzkow, C.; Wiley, J.W.

    1988-01-01

    Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura), were surveyed monthly in Cuba from March 1982-January 1983. A total of 25371 vultures were tallied in 7186 km (3.5 vultures/transect km) of roadside counting along main highways leading from the city of La Habana (northwestern Cuba) to the city of Las Tunas (southeast). Numbers of vultures counted declined substantially beyond 200 m from the transect road. Density of vultures observed within 200 m of the road along the transect route was 0.06/ha. Highest counts were obtained in March, April and June. Turkey Vulture flying activity was greatest during the periods 0900-1200 H and 1400-1700 H.

  12. Factors influencing foraging search efficiency: why do scarce lappet-faced vultures outperform ubiquitous white-backed vultures?

    PubMed

    Spiegel, Orr; Getz, Wayne M; Nathan, Ran

    2013-05-01

    The search phase is a critical component of foraging behavior, affecting interspecific competition and community dynamics. Nevertheless, factors determining interspecific variation in search efficiency are still poorly understood. We studied differences in search efficiency between the lappet-faced vulture (Torgos tracheliotus; LFV) and the white-backed vulture (Gyps africanus; WBV) foraging on spatiotemporally unpredictable carcasses in Etosha National Park, Namibia. We used experimental food supply and high-resolution GPS tracking of free-ranging vultures to quantify search efficiency and elucidate the factors underlying the observed interspecific differences using a biased correlated random walk simulation model bootstrapped with the GPS tracking data. We found that LFV's search efficiency was higher than WBV's in both first-to-find, first-to-land, and per-individual-finding rate measures. Modifying species-specific traits in the simulation model allows us to assess the relative role of each factor in LFV's higher efficiency. Interspecific differences in morphology (through the effect on perceptual range and motion ability) and searchers' spatial dispersion (due to different roost arrangements) are in correspondence with the empirically observed advantage of LFV over WBV searchers, whereas differences in other aspects of the movement patterns appear to play a minor role. Our results provide mechanistic explanations for interspecific variation in search efficiency for species using similar resources and foraging modes.

  13. Extensive gross genomic rearrangements between chicken and Old World vultures (Falconiformes: Accipitridae).

    PubMed

    Nanda, I; Karl, E; Volobouev, V; Griffin, D K; Schartl, M; Schmid, M

    2006-01-01

    The karyotypes of most birds consist of a small number of macrochromosomes and numerous microchromosomes. Intriguingly, most accipitrids which include hawks, eagles, kites, and Old World vultures (Falconiformes) show a sharp contrast to this basic avian karyotype. They exhibit strikingly few microchromosomes and appear to have been drastically restructured during evolution. Chromosome paints specific to the chicken (GGA) macrochromosomes 1-10 were hybridized to metaphase spreads of three species of Old World vultures (Gyps rueppelli, Gyps fulvus, Gypaetus barbatus). Paints of GGA chromosomes 6-10 hybridize only to single chromosomes or large chromosome segments, illustrating the existence of high chromosome homology. In contrast, paints of the large macrochromosomes 1-5 show split hybridization signals on the chromosomes of the accipitrids, disclosing excessive chromosome rearrangements which is in clear contrast to the high degree of chromosome conservation substantiated from comparative chromosome painting in other birds. Furthermore, the GGA chromosome paint hybridization patterns reveal remarkable interchromosomal conservation among the two species of the genus Gyps.

  14. Assessing species habitat using Google Street View: a case study of cliff-nesting vultures.

    PubMed

    Olea, Pedro P; Mateo-Tomás, Patricia

    2013-01-01

    The assessment of a species' habitat is a crucial issue in ecology and conservation. While the collection of habitat data has been boosted by the availability of remote sensing technologies, certain habitat types have yet to be collected through costly, on-ground surveys, limiting study over large areas. Cliffs are ecosystems that provide habitat for a rich biodiversity, especially raptors. Because of their principally vertical structure, however, cliffs are not easy to study by remote sensing technologies, posing a challenge for many researches and managers working with cliff-related biodiversity. We explore the feasibility of Google Street View, a freely available on-line tool, to remotely identify and assess the nesting habitat of two cliff-nesting vultures (the griffon vulture and the globally endangered Egyptian vulture) in northwestern Spain. Two main usefulness of Google Street View to ecologists and conservation biologists were evaluated: i) remotely identifying a species' potential habitat and ii) extracting fine-scale habitat information. Google Street View imagery covered 49% (1,907 km) of the roads of our study area (7,000 km²). The potential visibility covered by on-ground surveys was significantly greater (mean: 97.4%) than that of Google Street View (48.1%). However, incorporating Google Street View to the vulture's habitat survey would save, on average, 36% in time and 49.5% in funds with respect to the on-ground survey only. The ability of Google Street View to identify cliffs (overall accuracy = 100%) outperformed the classification maps derived from digital elevation models (DEMs) (62-95%). Nonetheless, high-performance DEM maps may be useful to compensate Google Street View coverage limitations. Through Google Street View we could examine 66% of the vultures' nesting-cliffs existing in the study area (n = 148): 64% from griffon vultures and 65% from Egyptian vultures. It also allowed us the extraction of fine-scale features of cliffs

  15. Assessing Species Habitat Using Google Street View: A Case Study of Cliff-Nesting Vultures

    PubMed Central

    Olea, Pedro P.; Mateo-Tomás, Patricia

    2013-01-01

    The assessment of a species’ habitat is a crucial issue in ecology and conservation. While the collection of habitat data has been boosted by the availability of remote sensing technologies, certain habitat types have yet to be collected through costly, on-ground surveys, limiting study over large areas. Cliffs are ecosystems that provide habitat for a rich biodiversity, especially raptors. Because of their principally vertical structure, however, cliffs are not easy to study by remote sensing technologies, posing a challenge for many researches and managers working with cliff-related biodiversity. We explore the feasibility of Google Street View, a freely available on-line tool, to remotely identify and assess the nesting habitat of two cliff-nesting vultures (the griffon vulture and the globally endangered Egyptian vulture) in northwestern Spain. Two main usefulness of Google Street View to ecologists and conservation biologists were evaluated: i) remotely identifying a species’ potential habitat and ii) extracting fine-scale habitat information. Google Street View imagery covered 49% (1,907 km) of the roads of our study area (7,000 km2). The potential visibility covered by on-ground surveys was significantly greater (mean: 97.4%) than that of Google Street View (48.1%). However, incorporating Google Street View to the vulture’s habitat survey would save, on average, 36% in time and 49.5% in funds with respect to the on-ground survey only. The ability of Google Street View to identify cliffs (overall accuracy = 100%) outperformed the classification maps derived from digital elevation models (DEMs) (62–95%). Nonetheless, high-performance DEM maps may be useful to compensate Google Street View coverage limitations. Through Google Street View we could examine 66% of the vultures’ nesting-cliffs existing in the study area (n = 148): 64% from griffon vultures and 65% from Egyptian vultures. It also allowed us the extraction of fine-scale features of

  16. The microbiome of New World vultures.

    PubMed

    Roggenbuck, Michael; Bærholm Schnell, Ida; Blom, Nikolaj; Bælum, Jacob; Bertelsen, Mads Frost; Sicheritz-Pontén, Thomas; Pontén, Thomas Sicheritz; Sørensen, Søren Johannes; Gilbert, M Thomas P; Graves, Gary R; Hansen, Lars H

    2014-11-25

    Vultures are scavengers that fill a key ecosystem niche, in which they have evolved a remarkable tolerance to bacterial toxins in decaying meat. Here we report the first deep metagenomic analysis of the vulture microbiome. Through face and gut comparisons of 50 vultures representing two species, we demonstrate a remarkably conserved low diversity of gut microbial flora. The gut samples contained an average of 76 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) per specimen, compared with 528 OTUs on the facial skin. Clostridia and Fusobacteria, widely pathogenic to other vertebrates, dominate the vulture's gut microbiota. We reveal a likely faecal-oral-gut route for their origin. DNA of prey species detectable on facial swabs was completely degraded in the gut samples from most vultures, suggesting that the gastrointestinal tracts of vultures are extremely selective. Our findings show a strong adaption of vultures and their bacteria to their food source, exemplifying a specialized host-microbial alliance.

  17. Results of NVG-Induced Neck Strain Questionnaire Study in CH-146 Griffon Aircrew

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2004-11-01

    counterweight have been suggested as a cause factor in recent reports of neck strain within the CH - 146 Griffon helicopter fleet. The present study...within the CH - 146 Griffon helicopter fleet. The present study sought to determine the rate of incidence and severity of NVG-induced neck strain...None of the airframes involved in the study were tactical helicopters (as is the CH - 146 Griffon ) although the H-3 Sea King shares it’s lineage with

  18. Levels of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, Polychlorinated Biphenyls, and Organochlorine Pesticides in Various Tissues of White-Backed Vulture in India

    PubMed Central

    Dhananjayan, V.; Muralidharan, S.

    2013-01-01

    This study provides information on the current status of contamination by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in the tissues of endangered White-backed Vulture Gyps bengalensis in India. Chemical analyses revealed detectable amounts of PAHs, PCBs, and OCPs. Concentration ranges of ∑PAHs, ∑PCBs, and ∑OCPs in tissues were 60–2037 ng/g, 30–5790 ng/g, and 3.2–5836 ng/g wet weight, respectively. 1,1-Dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethylene (p,p′-DDE) concentrations ranged from below detectable level to 599 ng/g wet weight, representing more than 90% of the total dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT). Among the various OCPs analyzed, p,p′-DDE was detected most frequently. All the contaminants recorded show higher accumulation in liver than other tissues. Levels of contaminants measured in the tissues of vulture are comparable with the levels documented in a number of avian species and are lower than those reported to have caused deleterious effects. Although no threat is expected from the current level of contamination, the presence of varying levels of contaminants and their additive or synergistic toxicity is a cause of concern to vultures. Values reported in this study can serve as guideline for future research. PMID:24288666

  19. The Computational Electromagnetic Modelling of the CH-146 Griffon Helicopter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rogers, Sarah Alicia

    Selecting the optimal location for a new antenna on an aircraft is a difficult task. Given the limited space that is available on the fuselage, there maybe only a few available locations from which to choose. The performance of a new antenna is often hindered by nearby structures on the aircraft, which may block or diffract the antenna's desired radiation. In addition, given that there are many other antennas and electronic systems onboard aircraft, potential interference produced by the new antenna must also be considered. The choice of the best antenna location must therefore be based on the careful study of the electromagnetic performance of the antenna at each location. Given that it is unlikely that a new antenna can be physically tested in various locations on an operational aircraft, recourse must be made to computer simulation. In this work, the selection of an appropriate location for a new satellite communication antenna is considered for the CH-146 Griffon helicopter. To this end, a new computer electromagnetic model of the CH-146 Griffon helicopter was created, validated, and used to characterize the helicopter's electromagnetic environment. A commercial computational software called FEKO was subsequently used to calculate the radiation patterns, near-fields, and surface current distribution generated on the helicopter model by a broad-patterned antenna installed at three different locations on the aircraft. A subsequent analysis of the calculated results was then used to determine the best of the three possible placements of the proposed satellite communications antenna.

  20. Spatial patterning of vulture scavenged human remains.

    PubMed

    Spradley, M Katherine; Hamilton, Michelle D; Giordano, Alberto

    2012-06-10

    This article presents the results of a pilot study on the effects of vulture modification to human remains. A donated body from the Willed Body Donation Program was placed at the Forensic Anthropology Research Facility (FARF), an outdoor human decomposition laboratory located at Texas State University-San Marcos. The effects of vulture scavenging on the timing and sequence, and the rate of skeletonization, disarticulation, and dispersal were observed via a motion sensing camera and direct observation. Using GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and GPS (Global Positioning System) technologies and spatial analytical methods, the transport of skeletal elements was mapped in order to analyze dispersal and terrain-influenced patterns of active vulture scavenging. Results showed that the initial scavenging took place 37 days after placement at FARF. This delay in scavenging differs from previous research. After the initial appearance of the vultures, the body was reduced from a fully-fleshed individual to a skeleton within only 5h. This underscores the potential for errors in postmortem interval estimations made at vulture scavenged scenes. Additionally, spatial analysis showed that skeletal elements were dispersed by vultures to lower elevations, and that the disarticulation and dispersal of the skeletal elements occurs early in the scavenging sequence.

  1. Turkey vulture and California condor

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pattee, O.H.; Wilbur, S.R.; Pendleton, Beth Giron

    1989-01-01

    Populations of turkey vultures in the western states appear stable, with no evidence of recent significant changes in distribution. Turkey vultures occupy a variety of habitats, nest in diverse situations and utilize a wide variety of carrion. Consequently, no particular limiting factor is likely to have a major effect on the total population. California condor numbers, in contrast, have continued to decline. With the capture of the last wild bird in 1987, the species has been extirpated from the wild. Reestablishment will depend on production and introduction of captive-reared birds, hopefully within the next 10 years. In the 18th century, condors inhabited areas along the Pacific coast from British Columbia to Baja California. Since 1950, the range has been restricted to a six county area adjacent to the southern San Joaquin Valley of California. Within this area, there appears to be no shortage of suitable nest sites; all recently used nest sites are within federally-controlled lands. Suitable foraging grounds have continued to diminish and are now largely limited to private rangelands and some Bureau of Land Management rangelands within the foothills of the San Joaquin Valley. Only these areas continue to supply the large mammal carcasses that the California condor needs for survival. The habitat of the condor is subject to a variety of land use practices and development pressures. Excessive mortality, coupled with low reproductive potential, continues to threaten the recovery of the species. Development of management practices to reduce mortality, particularly those that are contaminant-related, and of a preserve design to insure adequate habitat for the reintroduced population are still necessary for eventual recovery of the species.

  2. Movement ecology of migration in turkey vultures

    PubMed Central

    Mandel, J. T.; Bildstein, K. L.; Bohrer, G.; Winkler, D. W.

    2008-01-01

    We develop individual-based movement ecology models (MEM) to explore turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) migration decisions at both hourly and daily scales. Vulture movements in 10 migration events were recorded with satellite-reporting GPS sensors, and flight behavior was observed visually, aided by on-the-ground VHF radio-tracking. We used the North American Regional Reanalysis dataset to obtain values for wind speed, turbulent kinetic energy (TKE), and cloud height and used a digital elevation model for a measure of terrain ruggedness. A turkey vulture fitted with a heart-rate logger during 124 h of flight during 38 contiguous days showed only a small increase in mean heart rate as distance traveled per day increased, which suggests that, unlike flapping, soaring flight does not lead to greatly increased metabolic costs. Data from 10 migrations for 724 hourly segments and 152 daily segments showed that vultures depended heavily upon high levels of TKE in the atmospheric boundary layer to increase flight distances and maintain preferred bearings at both hourly and daily scales. We suggest how the MEM can be extended to other spatial and temporal scales of avian migration. Our success in relating model-derived atmospheric variables to migration indicates the potential of using regional reanalysis data, as here, and potentially other regional, higher-resolution, atmospheric models in predicting changing movement patterns of soaring birds under various scenarios of climate and land use change. PMID:19060195

  3. Movement ecology of migration in turkey vultures.

    PubMed

    Mandel, J T; Bildstein, K L; Bohrer, G; Winkler, D W

    2008-12-09

    We develop individual-based movement ecology models (MEM) to explore turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) migration decisions at both hourly and daily scales. Vulture movements in 10 migration events were recorded with satellite-reporting GPS sensors, and flight behavior was observed visually, aided by on-the-ground VHF radio-tracking. We used the North American Regional Reanalysis dataset to obtain values for wind speed, turbulent kinetic energy (TKE), and cloud height and used a digital elevation model for a measure of terrain ruggedness. A turkey vulture fitted with a heart-rate logger during 124 h of flight during 38 contiguous days showed only a small increase in mean heart rate as distance traveled per day increased, which suggests that, unlike flapping, soaring flight does not lead to greatly increased metabolic costs. Data from 10 migrations for 724 hourly segments and 152 daily segments showed that vultures depended heavily upon high levels of TKE in the atmospheric boundary layer to increase flight distances and maintain preferred bearings at both hourly and daily scales. We suggest how the MEM can be extended to other spatial and temporal scales of avian migration. Our success in relating model-derived atmospheric variables to migration indicates the potential of using regional reanalysis data, as here, and potentially other regional, higher-resolution, atmospheric models in predicting changing movement patterns of soaring birds under various scenarios of climate and land use change.

  4. A Business Case Analysis for the Vulture Program

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-12-01

    NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA MBA PROFESSIONAL REPORT A Business Case Analysis for the Vulture Program By...REPORT TYPE AND DATES COVERED MBA Professional Report 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE A Business Case Analysis for the Vulture Program 6. AUTHOR(S) Jered...for public release; distribution is unlimited 12b. DISTRIBUTION CODE 13. ABSTRACT (maximum 200 words) The Vulture program is an initiative being

  5. Experimental lead poisoning in turkey vultures (Cathartes aura).

    PubMed

    Carpenter, James W; Pattee, Oliver H; Fritts, Steven H; Rattner, Barnett A; Wiemeyer, Stanley N; Royle, J Andrew; Smith, Milton R

    2003-01-01

    Lead-induced mortality appears to have been a major factor in the decline of the California condor (Gymnogyps californianus). We orally dosed turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) with BB-sized lead shot from January 1988 through July 1988 to determine physiologic response (delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase inhibition, erythrocyte protoporphyrin levels, anemia), diagnostic tissue lead concentrations (blood, liver, and kidney), and comparative sensitivity of this species. Two turkey vultures died and two became so intoxicated they were euthanized. Overall, responses of measured parameters were comparable to other species exposed to lead although there was considerable individual variation. Survival time (143-211 days), even with the large numbers of shot and constant redosing, was much longer than reported for other species of birds, suggesting considerable tolerance by turkey vultures to the deleterious effects of lead ingestion. Based on these observations, turkey vultures appear to be poor models for assessing the risk of lead poisoning to California condors or predicting their physiologic response.

  6. Experimental lead poisoning in Turkey Vultures, Cathartes aura

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carpenter, J.W.; Pattee, O.H.; Fritts, S.H.; Rattner, B.A.; Wiemeyer, Stanley N.; Royle, J. Andrew; Smith, M.R.

    2003-01-01

    Lead-induced mortality appears to have been a major factor in the decline of the California condor, Gymnogyps californianus. We orally dosed turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) with BB-sized lead shot from January 1988 through July 1988 to determine physiological response (delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase inhibition, erythrocyte protoporphyrin levels, anemia), diagnostic tissue lead concentrations (blood, liver, and kidney), and comparative sensitivity of this species. Two turkey vultures died and two became so intoxicated they were euthanized. Overall, responses of measured parameters were comparable to other species exposed to lead although there was considerable individual variation. Survival time (143-211 days), even with the large number of shot and constant redosing, was much longer than reported for other species of birds, suggesting considerable tolerance by turkey vultures to the deleterious effects of lead ingestion. Based on these observations, turkey vultures appear to be poor models for assessing the risk of lead poisoning to California condors or predicting their physiological response.

  7. Metataxonomics reveal vultures as a reservoir for Clostridium perfringens.

    PubMed

    Meng, Xiangli; Lu, Shan; Yang, Jing; Jin, Dong; Wang, Xiaohong; Bai, Xiangning; Wen, Yumeng; Wang, Yiting; Niu, Lina; Ye, Changyun; Rosselló-Móra, Ramon; Xu, Jianguo

    2017-02-22

    The Old World vulture may carry and spread pathogens for emerging infections since they feed on the carcasses of dead animals and participate in the sky burials of humans, some of whom have died from communicable diseases. Therefore, we studied the precise fecal microbiome of the Old World vulture with metataxonomics, integrating the high-throughput sequencing of almost full-length small subunit ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA) gene amplicons in tandem with the operational phylogenetic unit (OPU) analysis strategy. Nine vultures of three species were sampled using rectal swabs on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China. Using the Pacific Biosciences sequencing platform, we obtained 54 135 high-quality reads of 16S rRNA amplicons with an average of 1442±6.9 bp in length and 6015±1058 reads per vulture. Those sequences were classified into 314 OPUs, including 102 known species, 50 yet to be described species and 161 unknown new lineages of uncultured representatives. Forty-five species have been reported to be responsible for human outbreaks or infections, and 23 yet to be described species belong to genera that include pathogenic species. Only six species were common to all vultures. Clostridium perfringens was the most abundant and present in all vultures, accounting for 30.8% of the total reads. Therefore, using the new technology, we found that vultures are an important reservoir for C. perfringens as evidenced by the isolation of 107 strains encoding for virulence genes, representing 45 sequence types. Our study suggests that the soil-related C. perfringens and other pathogens could have a reservoir in vultures and other animals.

  8. Metataxonomics reveal vultures as a reservoir for Clostridium perfringens

    PubMed Central

    Meng, Xiangli; Lu, Shan; Yang, Jing; Jin, Dong; Wang, Xiaohong; Bai, Xiangning; Wen, Yumeng; Wang, Yiting; Niu, Lina; Ye, Changyun; Rosselló-Móra, Ramon; Xu, Jianguo

    2017-01-01

    The Old World vulture may carry and spread pathogens for emerging infections since they feed on the carcasses of dead animals and participate in the sky burials of humans, some of whom have died from communicable diseases. Therefore, we studied the precise fecal microbiome of the Old World vulture with metataxonomics, integrating the high-throughput sequencing of almost full-length small subunit ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA) gene amplicons in tandem with the operational phylogenetic unit (OPU) analysis strategy. Nine vultures of three species were sampled using rectal swabs on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China. Using the Pacific Biosciences sequencing platform, we obtained 54 135 high-quality reads of 16S rRNA amplicons with an average of 1442±6.9 bp in length and 6015±1058 reads per vulture. Those sequences were classified into 314 OPUs, including 102 known species, 50 yet to be described species and 161 unknown new lineages of uncultured representatives. Forty-five species have been reported to be responsible for human outbreaks or infections, and 23 yet to be described species belong to genera that include pathogenic species. Only six species were common to all vultures. Clostridium perfringens was the most abundant and present in all vultures, accounting for 30.8% of the total reads. Therefore, using the new technology, we found that vultures are an important reservoir for C. perfringens as evidenced by the isolation of 107 strains encoding for virulence genes, representing 45 sequence types. Our study suggests that the soil-related C. perfringens and other pathogens could have a reservoir in vultures and other animals. PMID:28223683

  9. Vultures acquire information on carcass location from scavenging eagles.

    PubMed

    Kane, Adam; Jackson, Andrew L; Ogada, Darcy L; Monadjem, Ara; McNally, Luke

    2014-10-22

    Vultures are recognized as the scroungers of the natural world, owing to their ecological role as obligate scavengers. While it is well known that vultures use intraspecific social information as they forage, the possibility of inter-guild social information transfer and the resulting multi-species social dilemmas has not been explored. Here, we use data on arrival times at carcasses to show that such social information transfer occurs, with raptors acting as producers of information and vultures acting as scroungers of information. We develop a game-theoretic model to show that competitive asymmetry, whereby vultures dominate raptors at carcasses, predicts this evolutionary outcome. We support this theoretical prediction using empirical data from competitive interactions at carcasses. Finally, we use an individual-based model to show that these producer-scrounger dynamics lead to vultures being vulnerable to declines in raptor populations. Our results show that social information transfer can lead to important non-trophic interactions among species and highlight important potential links among social evolution, community ecology and conservation biology. With vulture populations suffering global declines, our study underscores the importance of ecosystem-based management for these endangered keystone species.

  10. Historic and recent nesting records of Turkey Vultures in South Dakota

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Igl, Lawrence D.; Chepulis, Brian J.; McLean, Kyle E.

    2014-01-01

    Present-day vultures are generally classified into two distinct groups: Old World vultures and new World vultures. The two groups share morphological and behavioral characters (e.g. scavenger diet, energy-efficient soaring, mostly featherless head), but historically the two groups were considered phylogenetically distant with long and independent histories (Rich 198., Wink 1995, Zhang et al. 2012). Old World vultures occur in the family Accipitridae and are closely related to hawks and eagles. New World Vultures occur in the family Cathartidae but their taxonomic placement has been controversial. New World vultures were previously allied with storks (Ciconiidae) but were usually placed within the order Falconiformes. Recent phylogenomic analyses using DNA sequencing suggest that new World vultures show no affinity with storks and support placement of New World vultures with other landbirds (in the order Accipitriformes, near Accipitridae) rather than with waterbirds (Hackett et al. 2008). Old World vultures presently are confined to Europe, Asia, and Africa, and New World vultures presently occur in North and South America.

  11. Repeated use of an abandoned vehicle by nesting Turkey vultures (Cathartes aura)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Igl, L.D.; Peterson, S.L.

    2010-01-01

    Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) lay their eggs on an existing substrate in the dark recesses of a variety of natural sites (Kirk and Mossman 1998). Although an important requirement of Turkey Vulture nest-site selection is isolation from human disturbances (Kirk and Mossman 1998), their nests have been reported in abandoned buildings since at least the early 1800s (Nuttall 1832). Depopulation of rural areas in North America in recent decades has resulted in many abandoned buildings within the Turkey Vulture's breeding range (Peck 2003). Increased use of abandoned buildings by nesting Turkey Vultures has been implicated in the species' recent northward range expansion (Peck 2003, Nelson et al. 2005, Houston et al. 2007). Although abandoned or inoperative vehicles also are widespread in rural areas, we found no published literature documenting Turkey Vultures' use of these potential nest sites. Herein, we summarize the first documented incidence of a Turkey Vulture nesting in an abandoned vehicle.

  12. Griffon Helicopter Neck Strain Project: Part 1: Mission Function Task Analysis and Physical Demands Analysis Report. Part 2: Physical Demands Analysis Library

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2014-10-01

    between December 2013 through March 2014, 15 SMEs (9 Pilots and 6 Flight Engineers) from the 400 Tactical Helicopter Squadron at Canadian Forces Base...interviews the following information was elicited from the SMEs using elicitation probes, questions and interview techniques: Mission components Detailed...HumanSystems Griffon Helicopter Neck Strain Project: MFTA and PDA Page 27 4. Results Based on the review of the original 1997 MFTA, 15 Griffon Helicopter SMEs

  13. The type specimens, type localities and nomenclature of Sarcoramphus vultures (Aves: Cathartidae), with a note on their speciation.

    PubMed

    Mlíkovský, Jiří

    2015-02-13

    A nomenclatural review of Sarcoramphus vultures resulted in the following: The genus Sarcoramphus was described by Duméril in 1805 rather than 1806. Vultur papa Linnaeus, 1758, is the type of Sarcoramphus by subsequent monotypy (Froriep in Duméril 1806), not by Vigors's (1825) designation. The type of the genus Gypagus Vieillot, 1816, is, by monotypy, Vultur gryphus Linnaeus, 1758, not Vultur papa Linnaeus, 1758. Due to this, Gypagus is a junior objective synonym of Vultur Linnaeus, 1758. Gyparchus was created by Gloger (1841) as a new genus for Vultur papa Linnaeus, 1758, not as an emendation of Gypagus Vieillot, 1816. Vultur papa Linnaeus, 1758 was found to be possibly based on syntypes from two different taxa and a lectotype is here designated. The author of Vultur sacer is Zimmermann (in Bartram 1793), not Cassin (1853). Possible speciation events in the genus Sarcoramphus are also discussed.

  14. Sublethal landrin toxicity: Behavioral and physiological effects on captive vultures

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Forthman-Quick, D.L.; Hill, E.F.

    1988-01-01

    Use of conditioned taste aversion (CTA) has been proposed to reduce consumption of California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) eggs by ravens (Corvus corax). Although landrin has induced aversions in ravens and other birds, no data were available on behavioral and physiological effects of landrin on condors, non-target birds that might consume treated eggs. Because condors are endangered, we selected taxonomically related surrogates to approximate the effects on condors of acute oral doses of landrin. Seven black vultures (Coragyps atratus), 2 turkey vultures (Cathartes aura), and 2 king vultures (Sarcoramphus papa) received landrin and placebo treatments 1 week apart. Plasma cholinesterase (ChE) activity was monitored at zero, 3, and 24 hours posttreatment, and behavioral observations were made for 2 hours posttreatment. The doses tested were nonlethal, and ChE levels approached normal within 24 hours after treatment. Only the frequency of vomiting differed statistically between the placebo and landrin treatment. We conclude that with appropriate precautions, landrin can be used in applications of CTA to discourage consumption of condor eggs by ravens, while posing no apparent risk to reintroduced condors.

  15. Genetic characterization of HPAI (H5N1) viruses from poultry and wild vultures, Burkina Faso.

    PubMed

    Ducatez, Mariette F; Tarnagda, Zekiba; Tahita, Marc C; Sow, Adama; de Landtsheer, Sebastien; Londt, Brandon Z; Brown, Ian H; Osterhaus, D M E; Fouchier, Ron A M; Ouedraogo, Jean-Bosco B; Muller, Claude P

    2007-04-01

    Genetic analysis of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) viruses from poultry and hooded vultures in Burkina Faso shows that these viruses belong to 1 of 3 sublineages initially found in Nigeria and later in other African countries. Hooded vultures could potentially be vectors or sentinels of influenza subtype H5N1, as are cats and swans elsewhere.

  16. First isolation of tandemly repeated DNA sequences in New World vultures and phylogenetic implications.

    PubMed

    Keyser, C; Montagnon, D; Schlee, M; Ludes, B; Pfitzinger, H; Mangin, P

    1996-02-01

    A highly repeated DNA sequence composed of closely related subunits that ranged from 171 to 176 base pairs has been cloned and characterized in the king vulture (Sarcoramphus papa). Related sequences were also isolated in the black vulture (Coragyps atratus). This new family of avian repetitive DNA elements is here termed the "HaeIII family." Genomic DNAs from a number of avian species were probed with one of the king vulture restriction fragments. In the cathartids, the hybridization patterns showed no individual or sexual variations. A strong HaeIII ladder was present in the two aforementioned species as well as in the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus), but in the black vulture the bands of the ladder alternated in intensity. Weaker hybridization signals were obtained in two ciconids, the jabiru stork (Jabiru mycteria) and the white stork (Ciconia ciconia). The HaeIII repeat was not detected in accipitrid birds of prey, a Polyborinae falconid, pelecanids, and psittacids.

  17. Exposure of Threatened Accipitridae to Mycobacterium bovis Calls for Active Surveillance.

    PubMed

    Cunha, Mónica V; Azorín, Beatriz; Peñuela, Rocío G; Albuquerque, Teresa; Botelho, Ana

    2017-03-03

    Anthropogenic activities have cumulatively led to the dramatic decline of world populations of vultures that currently face serious survival challenges in several regions of the world. In Portugal, the three resident species qualify as endangered and are under conservation efforts, mainly in the central east and south-east regions, where habitat protection and artificial feeding stations were implemented. Concurrently, the areas under protection are highly affected by tuberculosis (TB) in cattle and wild ungulates, whose potentially infected carcasses may naturally or artificially be used as feed by local vultures. In this work, we opportunistically surveyed populations of Eurasian griffon (Gyps fulvus) and Eurasian black vulture (Aegypius monachus) for the presence of Mycobacterium bovis. Nine pathogenic mycobacteria, including one M. bovis isolate, were cultured from the oropharynx of nine of the surveyed vultures (n = 55), sampled in recovery centres or in artificial feeding stations. Genotyping of the M. bovis strain indicated spoligotype SB0121, the most frequent type in Portugal, and a unique MIRU-VNTR profile that differed in two loci from the profiles of SB0121 bovine and deer strains from the same geographical area. The M. bovis-positive griffon exhibited poor clinical condition when admitted to the recovery centre; however, clinical evidence of TB was not present. Although the significance of M. bovis isolation in this vulture specimen could not be ascertained and despite the accepted notion that vultures are naturally resistant to microbial pathogens, the sanitary follow-up of Accipitridae vulture populations in TB-hotspot areas is essential to safeguard ongoing conservation efforts and also to evaluate the suitability of standing legislation on deliberate supplementary feeding schemes for menaced birds of prey.

  18. Aspidoscelis deppii (Black-bellied Racerunner). Predation by Turkey Vulture

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reynolds, Robert P.; Gebhard, Christina A.

    2014-01-01

    Aspidoscelis deppii is widely distributed from Veracruz and Michoacan, Mexico, to Costa Rica (Köhler et al. 2006. The Amphibians and Reptiles of El Salvador, Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida. 238 pp.). Neotropical lizards are abundant and common prey to all classes of terrestrial vertebrates, and bird predation of lizards is well known. The Turkey Vulture (Carthartes aura) is widely distributed from southern Canada south to South America and is present throughout the entire range of A. deppii, where it occupies a variety of open and forested habitats and feeds opportunistically on a wide range of wild and domestic carrion. While almost exclusively a scavenger, this species is known to rarely kill small animals or invertebrates (Kirk and Mossman 1998. In A. Poole [ed.], The Birds of North America Online. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca; accessed 15 August 2013). An adult Turkey Vulture was collected during avian control to minimize wildlife hazards at the Aeropuerto Internacional de El Salvador (ca. 50 km SE of San Salvador, 13.4408°N 89.0556°W; datum WGS84) on 10 July 2012 and subsequently cataloged (USNM 646876) in the Bird Division at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Washington, DC. Dissection during preparation of the bird as a museum specimen revealed a male A. deppii (ca. 56 mm SVL) in the stomach. It was cataloged at the NMNH in the Division of Amphibians and Reptiles (USNM 580989). Tissue samples were removed from both the lizard and the bird and deposited in the biorepository at the NMNH. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first documented record identifying A. deppii as a prey item of the Turkey Vulture.

  19. Mycoplasma corogypsi-associated polyarthritis and tenosynovitis in black vultures (Coragyps atratus).

    PubMed

    Van Wettere, A J; Ley, D H; Scott, D E; Buckanoff, H D; Degernes, L A

    2013-03-01

    Three wild American black vultures (Coragyps atratus) were presented to rehabilitation centers with swelling of multiple joints, including elbows, stifles, hocks, and carpal joints, and of the gastrocnemius tendons. Cytological examination of the joint fluid exudate indicated heterophilic arthritis. Radiographic examination in 2 vultures demonstrated periarticular soft tissue swelling in both birds and irregular articular surfaces with subchondral bone erosion in both elbows in 1 bird. Prolonged antibiotic therapy administered in 2 birds did not improve the clinical signs. Necropsy and histological examination demonstrated a chronic lymphoplasmacytic arthritis involving multiple joints and gastrocnemius tenosynovitis. Articular lesions varied in severity and ranged from moderate synovitis and cartilage erosion and fibrillation to severe synovitis, diffuse cartilage ulceration, subchondral bone loss and/or sclerosis, pannus, synovial cysts, and epiphyseal osteomyelitis. No walled bacteria were observed or isolated from the joints. However, mycoplasmas polymerase chain reactions were positive in at least 1 affected joint from each bird. Mycoplasmas were isolated from joints of 1 vulture that did not receive antibiotic therapy. Sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons from joint samples and the mycoplasma isolate identified Mycoplasma corogypsi in 2 vultures and was suggestive in the third vulture. Mycoplasma corogypsi identification was confirmed by sequencing the 16S-23S intergenic spacer region of mycoplasma isolates. This report provides further evidence that M. corogypsi is a likely cause of arthritis and tenosynovitis in American black vultures. Cases of arthritis and tenosynovitis in New World vultures should be investigated for presence of Mycoplasma spp, especially M. corogypsi.

  20. Comparison of eye morphology and retinal topography in two species of New World vultures (Aves: Cathartidae).

    PubMed

    Lisney, Thomas J; Stecyk, Karyn; Kolominsky, Jeffrey; Graves, Gary R; Wylie, Douglas R; Iwaniuk, Andrew N

    2013-12-01

    Vultures are highly reliant on their sensory systems for the rapid detection and localization of carrion before other scavengers can exploit the resource. In this study, we compared eye morphology and retinal topography in two species of New World vultures (Cathartidae), turkey vultures (Cathartes aura), with a highly developed olfactory sense, and black vultures (Coragyps atratus), with a less developed sense of olfaction. We found that eye size relative to body mass was the same in both species, but that black vultures have larger corneas relative to eye size than turkey vultures. However, the overall retinal topography, the total number of cells in the retinal ganglion cell layer, peak and average cell densities, cell soma area frequency distributions, and the theoretical peak anatomical spatial resolving power were the same in both species. This suggests that the visual systems of these two species are similar and that vision plays an equally important role in the biology of both species, despite the apparently greater reliance on olfaction for finding carrion in turkey vultures.

  1. Lead poisoning in captive Andean condors (Vultur gryphus)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pattee, O.H.; Carpenter, J.W.; Fritts, S.H.; Rattner, B.A.; Wiemeyer, Stanley N.; Royle, J. Andrew; Smith, M.R.

    2006-01-01

    Elevated lead in the tissues of raptors, especially those that scavenge, is a common occurrence, and lead poisoning appears to be a significant problem in the ongoing recovery effort for California condors (Gymnogyps californianus). Elevated blood lead levels have been found in released birds, and a number of birds have died of lead poisoning. In earlier work, we dosed turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) with lead shot but found them to be a poor model for lead poisoning. In this study, we dosed four Andean condors (Vultur gryphus) with lead shot and found them to be quite sensitive, as two of the birds died and the other two exhibit signs of lead poisoning within 50 days. All lead-responsive parameters were affected, and regurgitation of dosed shot occurred only once. The response of the Andean condors appeared to mimic California condors, suggesting that once exposed to lead, the possibility of survival is poor. This is consistent with observations in the wild, where otherwise healthy birds exposed to metallic lead quickly succumb. At the very least, the release program has to maintain constant surveillance and an active lead monitoring program.

  2. Lead poisoning in captive Andean condors (Vultur gryphus).

    PubMed

    Pattee, Oliver H; Carpenter, James W; Fritts, Steven H; Rattner, Barnett A; Wiemeyer, Stanley N; Royle, J Andrew; Smith, Milton R

    2006-10-01

    Elevated lead in the tissues of raptors, especially those that scavenge, is a common occurrence, and lead poisoning appears to be a significant problem in the ongoing recovery effort for California condors (Gymnogyps californianus). Elevated blood lead levels have been found in released birds, and a number of birds have died of lead poisoning. In earlier work, we dosed turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) with lead shot but found them to be a poor model for lead poisoning. In this study, we dosed four Andean condors (Vultur gryphus) with lead shot and found them to be quite sensitive, as two of the birds died and the other two exhibit signs of lead poisoning within 50 days. All lead-responsive parameters were affected, and regurgitation of dosed shot occurred only once. The response of the Andean condors appeared to mimic California condors, suggesting that once exposed to lead, the possibility of survival is poor. This is consistent with observations in the wild, where otherwise healthy birds exposed to metallic lead quickly succumb. At the very least, the release program has to maintain constant surveillance and an active lead monitoring program.

  3. Multi-locus phylogenetic inference among New World Vultures (Aves: Cathartidae).

    PubMed

    Johnson, Jeff A; Brown, Joseph W; Fuchs, Jérôme; Mindell, David P

    2016-12-01

    New World Vultures are large-bodied carrion feeding birds in the family Cathartidae, currently consisting of seven species from five genera with geographic distributions in North and South America. No study to date has included all cathartid species in a single phylogenetic analysis. In this study, we investigated the phylogenetic relationships among all cathartid species using five nuclear (nuc; 4060bp) and two mitochondrial (mt; 2165bp) DNA loci with fossil calibrated gene tree (27 outgroup taxa) and coalescent-based species tree (2 outgroup taxa) analyses. We also included an additional four nuclear loci (2578bp) for the species tree analysis to explore changes in nodal support values. Although the stem lineage is inferred to have originated ∼69 million years ago (Ma; 74.5-64.9 credible interval), a more recent basal split within Cathartidae was recovered at ∼14Ma (17.1-11.1 credible interval). Two primary clades were identified: (1) Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) together with the three Cathartes species (Lesser C. burrovianus and Greater C. melambrotus Yellow-headed Vultures, and Turkey Vulture C. aura), and (2) King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa), California (Gymnogyps californianus) and Andean (Vultur gryphus) Condors. Support for taxon relationships within the two basal clades were inconsistent between analyses with the exception of Black Vulture sister to a monophyletic Cathartes clade. Increased support for a yellow-headed vulture clade was recovered in the species tree analysis using the four additional nuclear loci. Overall, these results are in agreement with cathartid life history (e.g. olfaction ability and behavior) and contrasting habitat affinities among sister taxa with overlapping geographic distributions. More research is needed using additional molecular loci to further resolve the phylogenetic relationships within the two basal cathartid clades, as speciation appeared to have occurred in a relatively short period of time.

  4. African Vultures Don’t Follow Migratory Herds: Scavenger Habitat Use Is Not Mediated by Prey Abundance

    PubMed Central

    Kendall, Corinne J.; Virani, Munir Z.; Hopcraft, J. Grant C.; Bildstein, Keith L.; Rubenstein, Daniel I.

    2014-01-01

    The ongoing global decline in vulture populations raises major conservation concerns, but little is known about the factors that mediate scavenger habitat use, in particular the importance of abundance of live prey versus prey mortality. We test this using data from the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem in East Africa. The two hypotheses that prey abundance or prey mortality are the main drivers of vulture habitat use provide alternative predictions. If vultures select areas based only on prey abundance, we expect tracked vultures to remain close to herds of migratory wildebeest regardless of season. However, if vultures select areas where mortality rates are greatest then we expect vultures to select the driest regions, where animals are more likely to die of starvation, and to be attracted to migratory wildebeest only during the dry season when wildebeest mortality is greatest. We used data from GSM-GPS transmitters to assess the relationship between three vulture species and migratory wildebeest in the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem. Results indicate that vultures preferentially cluster around migratory herds only during the dry season, when herds experience their highest mortality. Additionally during the wet season, Ruppell’s and Lappet-faced vultures select relatively dry areas, based on Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, whereas White-backed vultures preferred wetter areas during the wet season. Differences in habitat use among species may mediate coexistence in this scavenger guild. In general, our results suggest that prey abundance is not the primary driver of avian scavenger habitat use. The apparent reliance of vultures on non-migratory ungulates during the wet season has important conservation implications for vultures in light of on-going declines in non-migratory ungulate species and use of poisons in unprotected areas. PMID:24421887

  5. African vultures don't follow migratory herds: scavenger habitat use is not mediated by prey abundance.

    PubMed

    Kendall, Corinne J; Virani, Munir Z; Hopcraft, J Grant C; Bildstein, Keith L; Rubenstein, Daniel I

    2014-01-01

    The ongoing global decline in vulture populations raises major conservation concerns, but little is known about the factors that mediate scavenger habitat use, in particular the importance of abundance of live prey versus prey mortality. We test this using data from the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem in East Africa. The two hypotheses that prey abundance or prey mortality are the main drivers of vulture habitat use provide alternative predictions. If vultures select areas based only on prey abundance, we expect tracked vultures to remain close to herds of migratory wildebeest regardless of season. However, if vultures select areas where mortality rates are greatest then we expect vultures to select the driest regions, where animals are more likely to die of starvation, and to be attracted to migratory wildebeest only during the dry season when wildebeest mortality is greatest. We used data from GSM-GPS transmitters to assess the relationship between three vulture species and migratory wildebeest in the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem. Results indicate that vultures preferentially cluster around migratory herds only during the dry season, when herds experience their highest mortality. Additionally during the wet season, Ruppell's and Lappet-faced vultures select relatively dry areas, based on Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, whereas White-backed vultures preferred wetter areas during the wet season. Differences in habitat use among species may mediate coexistence in this scavenger guild. In general, our results suggest that prey abundance is not the primary driver of avian scavenger habitat use. The apparent reliance of vultures on non-migratory ungulates during the wet season has important conservation implications for vultures in light of on-going declines in non-migratory ungulate species and use of poisons in unprotected areas.

  6. Testing problem solving in turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) using the string-pulling test.

    PubMed

    Ellison, Anne Margaret; Watson, Jane; Demers, Eric

    2015-01-01

    To examine problem solving in turkey vultures (Cathartes aura), six captive vultures were presented with a string-pulling task, which involved drawing a string up to access food. This test has been used to assess cognition in many bird species. A small piece of meat suspended by a string was attached to a perch. Two birds solved the problem without apparent trial-and-error learning; a third bird solved the problem after observing a successful bird, suggesting that this individual learned from the other vulture. The remaining birds failed to complete the task. The successful birds significantly reduced the time needed to solve the task from early trials compared to late trials, suggesting that they had learned to solve the problem and improved their technique. The successful vultures solved the problem in a novel way: they pulled the string through their beak with their tongue, and may have gathered the string in their crop until the food was in reach. In contrast, ravens, parrots and finches use a stepwise process; they pull the string up, tuck it under foot, and reach down to pull up another length. As scavengers, turkey vultures use their beak for tearing and ripping at carcasses, but possess large, flat, webbed feet that are ill-suited to pulling or grasping. The ability to solve this problem and the novel approach used by the turkey vultures in this study may be a result of the unique evolutionary pressures imposed on this scavenging species.

  7. Enteric pathogens and antimicrobial resistance in turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) feeding at the wildlife-livestock interface.

    PubMed

    Sulzner, Kate; Kelly, Terra; Smith, Woutrina; Johnson, Christine K

    2014-12-01

    Free-flying turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) were sampled in California to investigate the fecal shedding prevalence and antimicrobial susceptibility of Salmonella enterica, Campylobacter spp., and Escherichia coli. Nine different serotypes of Salmonella enterica were detected in cloacal swabs from turkey vultures, and 6% of vultures were shedding Campylobacter spp.. Turkey vultures sampled at a location with range sheep were more likely to shed tetracycline-resistant E. coli, suggesting that proximity to livestock facilities could facilitate acquisition of drug-resistant bacteria in avian scavengers. These findings illustrate the importance of assessing drug-resistant pathogen transfer at the livestock-wildlife interface.

  8. How predictability of feeding patches affects home range and foraging habitat selection in avian social scavengers?

    PubMed

    Monsarrat, Sophie; Benhamou, Simon; Sarrazin, François; Bessa-Gomes, Carmen; Bouten, Willem; Duriez, Olivier

    2013-01-01

    Feeding stations are commonly used to sustain conservation programs of scavengers but their impact on behaviour is still debated. They increase the temporal and spatial predictability of food resources while scavengers have supposedly evolved to search for unpredictable resources. In the Grands Causses (France), a reintroduced population of Griffon vultures Gyps fulvus can find carcasses at three types of sites: 1. "light feeding stations", where farmers can drop carcasses at their farm (spatially predictable), 2. "heavy feeding stations", where carcasses from nearby farms are concentrated (spatially and temporally predictable) and 3. open grasslands, where resources are randomly distributed (unpredictable). The impact of feeding stations on vulture's foraging behaviour was investigated using 28 GPS-tracked vultures. The average home range size was maximal in spring (1272 ± 752 km(2)) and minimal in winter (473 ± 237 km(2)) and was highly variable among individuals. Analyses of home range characteristics and feeding habitat selection via compositional analysis showed that feeding stations were always preferred compared to the rest of the habitat where vultures can find unpredictable resources. Feeding stations were particularly used when resources were scarce (summer) or when flight conditions were poor (winter), limiting long-ranging movements. However, when flight conditions were optimal, home ranges also encompassed large areas of grassland where vultures could find unpredictable resources, suggesting that vultures did not lose their natural ability to forage on unpredictable resources, even when feeding stations were available. However during seasons when food abundance and flight conditions were not limited, vultures seemed to favour light over heavy feeding stations, probably because of the reduced intraspecific competition and a pattern closer to the natural dispersion of resources in the landscape. Light feeding stations are interesting tools for managing

  9. Effects of vehicle speed on flight initiation by Turkey vultures: implications for bird-vehicle collisions.

    PubMed

    DeVault, Travis L; Blackwell, Bradley F; Seamans, Thomas W; Lima, Steven L; Fernández-Juricic, Esteban

    2014-01-01

    The avoidance of motorized vehicles is a common challenge for birds in the modern world. Birds appear to rely on antipredator behaviors to avoid vehicles, but modern vehicles (automobiles and aircraft) are faster than natural predators. Thus, birds may be relatively ill-equipped, in terms of sensory capabilities and behaviors, to avoid vehicles. We examined the idea that birds may be unable to accurately assess particularly high speeds of approaching vehicles, which could contribute to miscalculations in avoidance behaviors and ultimately cause collisions. We baited turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) to roads with animal carcasses and measured flight initiation distance and effective time-to-collision in response to a truck driving directly towards vultures from a starting distance of 1.13 km and at one of three speeds: 30, 60, or 90 kph (no vultures were struck). Flight initiation distance of vultures increased by a factor of 1.85 as speed increased from 30 to 90 kph. However, for 90-kph approaches there was no clear trend in flight initiation distance across replicates: birds appeared equally likely to initiate escape behavior at 40 m as at 220 m. Time-to-collision decreased by a factor of 0.62 with approach speeds from 30 to 90 kph. Also, at 90 kph, four vehicle approaches (17%) resulted in near collisions with vultures (time-to-collision ≤ 1.7 s), compared to none during 60 kph approaches and one during 30 kph approaches (4%). Our findings suggest that antipredator behaviors in turkey vultures, particularly stimulus processing and response, might not be well tuned to vehicles approaching at speeds ≥ 90 kph. The possible inability of turkey vultures to react appropriately to high-speed vehicles could be common among birds, and might represent an important determinant of bird-vehicle collisions.

  10. Mycoplasma corogypsi associated polyarthritis and tenosynovitis in black vultures (Coragyps atratus)

    PubMed Central

    Van Wettere, A. J.; Ley, D. H.; Scott, D. E.; Buckanoff, H. D.; Degernes, L. A.

    2013-01-01

    Three wild American black vultures (Coragyps atratus) were presented to rehabilitation centers with swelling of multiple joints, including elbows, stifles, hocks, and carpal joints, and of the gastrocnemius tendons. Cytological examination of the joint fluid exudate indicated heterophilic arthritis. Radiographic examination in 2 vultures demonstrated periarticular soft tissue swelling in both birds and irregular articular surfaces with subchondral bone erosion in both elbows in 1 bird. Prolonged antibiotic therapy administered in 2 birds did not improve the clinical signs. Necropsy and histological examination demonstrated a chronic lymphoplasmacytic arthritis involving multiple joints and gastrocnemius tenosynovitis. Articular lesions varied in severity and ranged from moderate synovitis and cartilage erosion and fibrillation to severe synovitis, diffuse cartilage ulceration, subchondral bone loss and/or sclerosis, pannus, synovial cysts, and epiphyseal osteomyelitis. No walled bacteria were observed or isolated from the joints. However, mycoplasmas polymerase chain reactions were positive in at least 1 affected joint from each bird. Mycoplasmas were isolated from joints of 1 vulture that did not receive antibiotic therapy. Sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons from joint samples and the mycoplasma isolate identified Mycoplasma corogypsi in 2 vultures and was suggestive in the third vulture. Mycoplasma corogypsi identification was confirmed by sequencing the 16S-23S intergenic spacer region of mycoplasma isolates. This report provides further evidence that M. corogypsi is a likely cause of arthritis and tenosynovitis in American black vultures. Cases of arthritis and tenosynovitis in New World vultures should be investigated for presence of Mycoplasma spp, especially M. corogypsi. PMID:22903399

  11. Effects of Vehicle Speed on Flight Initiation by Turkey Vultures: Implications for Bird-Vehicle Collisions

    PubMed Central

    DeVault, Travis L.; Blackwell, Bradley F.; Seamans, Thomas W.; Lima, Steven L.; Fernández-Juricic, Esteban

    2014-01-01

    The avoidance of motorized vehicles is a common challenge for birds in the modern world. Birds appear to rely on antipredator behaviors to avoid vehicles, but modern vehicles (automobiles and aircraft) are faster than natural predators. Thus, birds may be relatively ill-equipped, in terms of sensory capabilities and behaviors, to avoid vehicles. We examined the idea that birds may be unable to accurately assess particularly high speeds of approaching vehicles, which could contribute to miscalculations in avoidance behaviors and ultimately cause collisions. We baited turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) to roads with animal carcasses and measured flight initiation distance and effective time-to-collision in response to a truck driving directly towards vultures from a starting distance of 1.13 km and at one of three speeds: 30, 60, or 90 kph (no vultures were struck). Flight initiation distance of vultures increased by a factor of 1.85 as speed increased from 30 to 90 kph. However, for 90-kph approaches there was no clear trend in flight initiation distance across replicates: birds appeared equally likely to initiate escape behavior at 40 m as at 220 m. Time-to-collision decreased by a factor of 0.62 with approach speeds from 30 to 90 kph. Also, at 90 kph, four vehicle approaches (17%) resulted in near collisions with vultures (time-to-collision ≤1.7 s), compared to none during 60 kph approaches and one during 30 kph approaches (4%). Our findings suggest that antipredator behaviors in turkey vultures, particularly stimulus processing and response, might not be well tuned to vehicles approaching at speeds ≥90 kph. The possible inability of turkey vultures to react appropriately to high-speed vehicles could be common among birds, and might represent an important determinant of bird-vehicle collisions. PMID:24503622

  12. Maintenance of syntenic groups between Cathartidae and Gallus gallus indicates symplesiomorphic karyotypes in new world vultures.

    PubMed

    Tagliarini, Marcella M; O'Brien, Patricia C M; Ferguson-Smith, Malcolm A; de Oliveira, Edivaldo H C

    2011-01-01

    Similarities between New World and Old World vultures have been interpreted to reflect a close relationship and to suggest the inclusion of both in Accipitridae (Falconiformes). However, deeper analyses indicated that the placement of the New World vultures (cathartids) in this Order is uncertain. Chromosome analysis has shown that cathartids retained a karyotype similar to the putative avian ancestor. In order to verify the occurrence of intrachromosomal rearrangements in cathartids, we hybridized whole chromosome probes of two species (Gallus gallus and Leucopternis albicollis) onto metaphases of Cathartes aura. The results showed that not only were the syntenic groups conserved between Gallus and C. aura, but probably also the general gene order, suggesting that New World vultures share chromosomal symplesiomorphies with most bird lineages.

  13. Food predictability determines space use of endangered vultures: implications for management of supplementary feeding.

    PubMed

    López-López, Pascual; García-Ripollés, Clara; Urios, Vicente

    2014-07-01

    Understanding space use of free-living endangered animals is key to informing management decisions for conservation planning. Like most scavengers, vultures have evolved under a context of unpredictability of food resources (i.e., exploiting scattered carcasses that are intermittently available). However, the role of predictable sources of food in shaping spatial ecology of vultures has seldom been studied in detail. Here, we quantify the home range of the Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus), a long-lived raptor that has experienced severe population decline throughout its range and is qualified as endangered worldwide. To this end, six adults were tracked by satellite telemetry in Spain during the breeding season, from 2007 to 2012, recording 10360 GPS locations. Using Resource Utilization Functions, we assessed the topology of the Utilization Distribution, a three-dimensional measure that shows the probability of finding an animal within the home range. Our results showed how food availability, and principally, how food predictability, determines ranging behavior of this species. Egyptian Vultures showed consistent site fidelity across years, measured as the two- and three-dimensional overlap in their home ranges. Space use varied considerably within the home range and remarkably, places located far from nesting sites were used more frequently than some areas located closer. Therefore, traditional conservation measures based on establishing restrictive rules within a fixed radius around nesting sites could be biologically meaningless if other areas within the home range are not protected too. Finally, our results emphasize the importance of anthropogenic predictable sources of food (mainly vulture restaurants) in shaping the space use of scavengers, which is in agreement with recent findings. Hence, measures aimed at ensuring food availability are essential to preserve this endangered vulture, especially in the present context of limiting carrion dumping in

  14. Dynamic complex formation between HD-GYP, GGDEF and PilZ domain proteins regulates motility in Xanthomonas campestris.

    PubMed

    Ryan, Robert P; McCarthy, Yvonne; Kiely, Patrick A; O'Connor, Rosemary; Farah, Chuck S; Armitage, Judith P; Dow, J Maxwell

    2012-11-01

    RpfG is a member of a class of wide spread bacterial two-component regulators with an HD-GYP cyclic di-GMP phosphodiesterase domain. In the plant pathogen Xanthomonas campestris, RpfG together with the sensor kinase RpfC regulates multiple factors as a response to the cell-to-cell Diffusible Signalling Factor (DSF). A dynamic physical interaction of RpfG with two diguanylate cyclase (GGDEF) domain proteins controls motility. Here we show that, contrary to expectation, regulation of motility by the GGDEF domain proteins does not depend upon their cyclic di-GMP synthetic activity. Furthermore we show that the complex of RpfG and GGDEF domain proteins recruits a specific PilZ domain 'adaptor' protein, and this complex then interacts with the pilus motor proteins PilU and PiIT. The results support a model in which DSF signalling influences motility through the highly regulated dynamic interaction of proteins that affect pilus action. A specific motif that we identify to be required for HD-GYP domain interaction is conserved in a number of GGDEF domain proteins, suggesting that regulation via interdomain interactions is of broad relevance.

  15. How Predictability of Feeding Patches Affects Home Range and Foraging Habitat Selection in Avian Social Scavengers?

    PubMed Central

    Monsarrat, Sophie; Benhamou, Simon; Sarrazin, François; Bessa-Gomes, Carmen; Bouten, Willem; Duriez, Olivier

    2013-01-01

    Feeding stations are commonly used to sustain conservation programs of scavengers but their impact on behaviour is still debated. They increase the temporal and spatial predictability of food resources while scavengers have supposedly evolved to search for unpredictable resources. In the Grands Causses (France), a reintroduced population of Griffon vultures Gyps fulvus can find carcasses at three types of sites: 1. “light feeding stations”, where farmers can drop carcasses at their farm (spatially predictable), 2. “heavy feeding stations”, where carcasses from nearby farms are concentrated (spatially and temporally predictable) and 3. open grasslands, where resources are randomly distributed (unpredictable). The impact of feeding stations on vulture’s foraging behaviour was investigated using 28 GPS-tracked vultures. The average home range size was maximal in spring (1272±752 km2) and minimal in winter (473±237 km2) and was highly variable among individuals. Analyses of home range characteristics and feeding habitat selection via compositional analysis showed that feeding stations were always preferred compared to the rest of the habitat where vultures can find unpredictable resources. Feeding stations were particularly used when resources were scarce (summer) or when flight conditions were poor (winter), limiting long-ranging movements. However, when flight conditions were optimal, home ranges also encompassed large areas of grassland where vultures could find unpredictable resources, suggesting that vultures did not lose their natural ability to forage on unpredictable resources, even when feeding stations were available. However during seasons when food abundance and flight conditions were not limited, vultures seemed to favour light over heavy feeding stations, probably because of the reduced intraspecific competition and a pattern closer to the natural dispersion of resources in the landscape. Light feeding stations are interesting tools for

  16. The presence of black vultures at the calving sites and its effects on cows' and calves' behaviour immediately following parturition.

    PubMed

    Toledo, L M; Paranhos da Costa, M J R; Schmidek, A; Jung, J; Ciryllo, J N S G; Cromberg, V U

    2013-03-01

    Black vultures (Coragyps atratus) are often present near calving sites, and under this situation they may play a positive role by removing animal carcasses and afterbirth or a negative role by attacking neonate calves or disturbing cow-calf behaviours following parturition. Cow-calf behaviour was recorded over a 4-year study period from a total of 300 births involving 200 Nellore, 54 Guzerat, 20 Gyr and 26 Caracu cows. The calving site in relation to the location of the herd, considering cow-calf pairs within, close or distant to the herd, the presence of vultures and the behaviour of cows and calves were recorded instantaneously, at 5-min interval. On average, vultures were present at 80% of the calving sites. The frequency of vultures present at calving sites was dependent on the years for the Nellore herd, increasing from 1998 to 2003. When vultures were present, the time that the cow was in contact with its calf decreased, and the percentage of time that the cow was standing still increased. Vultures were observed pecking cows and their neonates during 34.1% of all recordings. However, in only two cases pecking injuries were actually observed on calves that were noted to be very weak. The preliminary results suggest that although black vultures cannot be characterized as a predator of neonate calves, they sometimes attack neonate calves and their presence near the calving sites alter the behaviours of cows and calves.

  17. Abnormal lead exposure in globally threatened Cinereous vultures (Aegypius monachus) wintering in South Korea.

    PubMed

    Nam, Dong-Ha; Lee, Doo-Pyo

    2009-02-01

    Globally threatened Cinereous vultures (Aegypius monachus) regularly over-winter in South Korea, and they have frequently been found dead in their natural habitats. As one possible factor for their mortality, we investigated tissues for heavy metal contaminants along with necropsies on 20 dead Cinereous vultures. Severe emaciation was found in the survey, being associated with 19 of the deaths. Two of the 19 showed lesions suggestive of lead poisoning in the tissues; there was no indication of trauma, embedded shot, lead bullets in the stomach, or signs of electrocution in the specimens. Of 20 vultures, two showed lesions compatible with death from lead poisoning with 19.7 ppm dry weight (6.9 ppm wet weight) and 34.1 ppm dry weight (11.1 ppm wet weight), and 14 individuals had a potentially toxic level of lead with >6 ppm dry weight (about 2 ppm wet weight) in liver or kidney. The ingestion of lead-contaminated carcasses probably occurs along their migratory route. The possibility of lead exposure from the breeding site (Mongolia) or stopover area (China) should also be considered because some individuals are likely to die at or upon arrival. Our results suggest that most of the dead Cinereous vultures may be suffering from abnormally high lead exposure, indicating a potentially important cause of mortality in this endangered species.

  18. DNA sequence support for a close phylogenetic relationship between some storks and New World vultures.

    PubMed Central

    Avise, J C; Nelson, W S; Sibley, C G

    1994-01-01

    Nucleotide sequences from the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene were used to address a controversial suggestion that New World vultures are related more closely to storks than to Old World vultures. Phylogenetic analyses of 1-kb sequences from 18 relevant avian species indicate that the similarities in morphology and behavior between New World and Old World vultures probably manifest convergent adaptations associated with carrion-feeding, rather than propinquity of descent. Direct sequence evidence for a close phylogenetic alliance between at least some New World vultures and storks lends support to conclusions reached previously from DNA.DNA hybridization methods and detailed morphology-based appraisals, and it illustrates how mistaken assumptions of homology for organismal adaptations can compromise biological classifications. However, there was a lack of significant resolution for most other branches in the cytochrome b phylogenetic reconstructions. This irresolution is most likely attributable to a close temporal clustering of nodes, rather than to ceiling effects (mutational saturation) producing an inappropriate window of resolution for the cytochrome b sequences. Images PMID:8197203

  19. Lead toxicosis of captive vultures: case description and responses to chelation therapy

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Lead, a serious threat for raptors, can hamper the success of their conservation. This study reports on experience with accidental lead intoxication and responses to chelation therapy in captive Cinereous (Aegypius monachus) and Egyptian (Neophron percnopterus) Vultures. Results Soil contamination by lead-based paint sanded off the steel aviary resulted in poisoning of eight Cinereous and two Egyptian Vultures. A male Egyptian Vulture developed signs of apathy, polydipsia, polyuria, regurgitation, and stupor, and died on the next day. Liver, kidney and blood lead concentrations were 12.2, 8.16 and 2.66 μg/g, respectively. Laboratory analyses confirmed severe liver and kidney damage and anaemia. Blood Pb levels of Pb-exposed Cinereous Vultures were 1.571 ± 0.510 μg/g shortly after intoxication, decreased to 0.530 ± 0.165 μg/g without any therapy in a month and to 0.254 ± 0.097 μg/g one month after CaNa2EDTA administration. Eight months later, blood lead levels decreased to close to the background of the control group. Blood parameters of healthy Pb-non-exposed Cinereous Vultures were compared with those of the exposed group prior to and after chelation therapy. Iron levels in the lead-exposed pre-treatment birds significantly decreased after chelation. Haematocrit levels in Pb-exposed birds were significantly lower than those of the controls and improved one month after chelation. Creatine kinase was higher in pre-treatment birds than in the controls but normalised after therapy. Alkaline phosphatase increased after chelation. A marked increase in the level of lipid peroxidation measured as thiobarbituric acid reactive species was demonstrated in birds both prior to and after chelation. The ferric reducing antioxidant power was significantly lower in pre-treatment vultures and returned to normal following chelation therapy. Blood metallothionein levels in lead-exposed birds were higher than in controls. Reduced glutathione dropped after

  20. Chlorinated hydrocarbon contaminants in blood of black and turkey vultures from Savannah River Site, South Carolina, USA.

    PubMed

    Senthil Kumar, Kurunthachalam; Bowerman, William W; DeVault, Travis L; Takasuga, Takumi; Rhodes, Olin E; Lehr Brisbin, I; Masunaga, Shigeki

    2003-10-01

    Blood of adult and juvenile black and turkey vultures in the Savannah River Site of South Carolina, USA was analyzed for the presence of 2,3,7,8-chlorine substituted polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (2,3,7,8-PCDDs), dibenzofurans (2,3,7,8-PCDFs), -dioxin-like and -di-ortho polychlorinated biphenyls. Concentration ranges of 2,3,7,8-PCDD/DFs in blood of black and turkey vultures were 14.2-34.6 and 8.7-56.2 pg/ml wet wt., respectively. Dioxin-like PCBs were in the ranges of 815-4627 and 753-3611 pg/ml wet wt. respectively, in black and turkey vultures. Considerable concentrations of two congeners of di-ortho PCBs were noticed in the ranges of 1415-10325 and 663-7500 pg/ml respectively, in black and turkey vultures. Comparatively, greater toxic equivalency (TEQ) were observed in blood of turkey vultures with the ranges of 3.2-20, whereas black vulture contained 1.8-8.4 pgTEQ/ml wet wt. basis. The species-specific accumulation profiles of PCDD/DFs and dioxin-like PCBs may reflect the different feeding habits, ecology, metabolic capacity and migratory movements of these two scavenging species.

  1. A randomized nearest-neighbor approach for assessment of character displacement: the vulture guild as a model

    PubMed

    Hertel; Lehman

    1998-01-07

    Character displacement has been analysed in the past but not with an approach that considers nearest-neighbor distances between members of a guild. Vultures provide a model system in which to test a new analytical approach presented here to assess character displacement. Vultures are represented by two geographically isolated and taxonomically distinct groups: the Old World accipitrids and New World vultures. These two groups provide an excellent case of convergent evolution in which functional similarities can be compared among obligate carrion-feeding birds. The vulture guild was analysed from several geographic regions where species occur in a high diversity: East Africa, South Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Amazonia, and the pleistocene deposits from Rancho La Brea, California. A three-dimensional morphospace was constructed derived from features of the skull, beak, and mandible to assess feeding capabilities. Species packing and their distribution within the morphospace were compared using a nearest-neighbor approach through Monte Carlo simulations. Vultures seem to exhibit a similar array of ecomorphological types wherever they occur in a high diversity, even though there are phylogenetic differences among some regions. Phylogenetic effects appear to have little influence on the distribution of functional types in each region and evidence for character displacement was found only at Rancho La Brea where both Old and New World vultures were present.Copyright 1998 Academic Press Limited Copyright 1998 Academic Press Limited

  2. A Late Miocene Accipitrid (Aves: Accipitriformes) from Nebraska and Its Implications for the Divergence of Old World Vultures

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Zihui; Feduccia, Alan; James, Helen F.

    2012-01-01

    Background Old World vultures are likely polyphyletic, representing two subfamilies, the Aegypiinae and Gypaetinae, and some genera of the latter may be of independent origin. Evidence concerning the origin, as well as the timing of the divergence of each subfamily and even genera of the Gypaetinae has been elusive. Methodology/Principal Findings Compared with the Old World, the New World has an unexpectedly diverse and rich fossil component of Old World vultures. Here we describe a new accipitriform bird, Anchigyps voorhiesi gen. et sp. nov., from the Ash Hollow Formation (Upper Clarendonian, Late Miocene) of Nebraska. It represents a form close in morphology to the Old World vultures. Characteristics of its wing bones suggest it was less specialized for soaring than modern vultures. It was likely an opportunistic predator or scavenger having a grasping foot and a mandible morphologically similar to modern carrion-feeding birds. Conclusions/Significance The new fossil reported here is intermediate in morphology between the bulk of accipitrids and the Old World gypaetine vultures, representing a basal lineage of Accipitridae trending towards the vulturine habit, and of its Late Miocene age suggests the divergence of true gypaetine vultures, may have occurred during or slightly before the Miocene. PMID:23152811

  3. Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) Study Identifies Novel Genomic Regions Associated to Chiari-Like Malformation in Griffon Bruxellois Dogs

    PubMed Central

    Lemay, Philippe; Knowler, Susan P.; Bouasker, Samir; Nédélec, Yohann; Platt, Simon; Freeman, Courtenay; Child, Georgina; Barreiro, Luis B.; Rouleau, Guy A.; Rusbridge, Clare; Kibar, Zoha

    2014-01-01

    Chiari-like malformation (CM) is a developmental abnormality of the craniocervical junction that is common in the Griffon Bruxellois (GB) breed with an estimated prevalence of 65%. This disease is characterized by overcrowding of the neural parenchyma at the craniocervical junction and disturbance of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow. The most common clinical sign is pain either as a direct consequence of CM or neuropathic pain as a consequence of secondary syringomyelia. The etiology of CM remains unknown but genetic factors play an important role. To investigate the genetic complexity of the disease, a quantitative trait locus (QTL) approach was adopted. A total of 14 quantitative skull and atlas measurements were taken and were tested for association to CM. Six traits were found to be associated to CM and were subjected to a whole-genome association study using the Illumina canine high density bead chip in 74 GB dogs (50 affected and 24 controls). Linear and mixed regression analyses identified associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on 5 Canis Familiaris Autosomes (CFAs): CFA2, CFA9, CFA12, CFA14 and CFA24. A reconstructed haplotype of 0.53 Mb on CFA2 strongly associated to the height of the cranial fossa (diameter F) and an haplotype of 2.5 Mb on CFA14 associated to both the height of the rostral part of the caudal cranial fossa (AE) and the height of the brain (FG) were significantly associated to CM after 10 000 permutations strengthening their candidacy for this disease (P = 0.0421, P = 0.0094 respectively). The CFA2 QTL harbours the Sall-1 gene which is an excellent candidate since its orthologue in humans is mutated in Townes-Brocks syndrome which has previously been associated to Chiari malformation I. Our study demonstrates the implication of multiple traits in the etiology of CM and has successfully identified two new QTL associated to CM and a potential candidate gene. PMID:24740420

  4. Livestock drugs and disease: the fatal combination behind breeding failure in endangered bearded vultures.

    PubMed

    Blanco, Guillermo; Lemus, Jesús A

    2010-11-30

    There is increasing concern about the impact of veterinary drugs and livestock pathogens as factors damaging wildlife health, especially of threatened avian scavengers feeding upon medicated livestock carcasses. We conducted a comprehensive study of failed eggs and dead nestlings in bearded vultures (Gypaetus barbatus) to attempt to elucidate the proximate causes of breeding failure behind the recent decline in productivity in the Spanish Pyrenees. We found high concentrations of multiple veterinary drugs, primarily fluoroquinolones, in most failed eggs and nestlings, associated with multiple internal organ damage and livestock pathogens causing disease, especially septicaemia by swine pathogens and infectious bursal disease. The combined impact of drugs and disease as stochastic factors may result in potentially devastating effects exacerbating an already high risk of extinction and should be considered in current conservation programs for bearded vultures and other scavenger species, especially in regards to dangerous veterinary drugs and highly pathogenic poultry viruses.

  5. Livestock Drugs and Disease: The Fatal Combination behind Breeding Failure in Endangered Bearded Vultures

    PubMed Central

    Blanco, Guillermo; Lemus, Jesús A.

    2010-01-01

    There is increasing concern about the impact of veterinary drugs and livestock pathogens as factors damaging wildlife health, especially of threatened avian scavengers feeding upon medicated livestock carcasses. We conducted a comprehensive study of failed eggs and dead nestlings in bearded vultures (Gypaetus barbatus) to attempt to elucidate the proximate causes of breeding failure behind the recent decline in productivity in the Spanish Pyrenees. We found high concentrations of multiple veterinary drugs, primarily fluoroquinolones, in most failed eggs and nestlings, associated with multiple internal organ damage and livestock pathogens causing disease, especially septicaemia by swine pathogens and infectious bursal disease. The combined impact of drugs and disease as stochastic factors may result in potentially devastating effects exacerbating an already high risk of extinction and should be considered in current conservation programs for bearded vultures and other scavenger species, especially in regards to dangerous veterinary drugs and highly pathogenic poultry viruses. PMID:21152405

  6. Opposite roles of the F-box protein Rcy1p and the GTPase-activating protein Gyp2p during recycling of internalized proteins in yeast.

    PubMed Central

    Lafourcade, Céline; Galan, Jean-Marc; Peter, Matthias

    2003-01-01

    The F-box protein Rcy1p is part of a non-SCF (Skp1p-cullin-F-box protein) complex involved in recycling of internalized material. Like rcy1Delta, cells lacking the Rab-GTPase Ypt6p or its heterodimeric GEFs Rgp1p and Ric1p are unable to recycle the v-SNARE Snc1p. Here we provide genetic evidence suggesting that Rcy1p is a positive regulator of Ypt6p. Deletion of the GAP Gyp2p restores recycling in rcy1Delta, while overexpression of an active form of Ypt6p partially suppresses the recycling defect of rcy1Delta cells. Conversely, overexpression of Gyp2p in wild-type cells interferes with recycling of GFP-Snc1p, and the cells accumulate membrane structures as evidenced by electron microscopy. Gyp2p-GFP is distributed throughout the cytoplasm and accumulates in punctate structures, which concentrate in an actin-dependent manner at sites of polarized growth. Taken together, our results suggest that the F-box protein Rcy1p may activate the Ypt6p GTPase module during recycling. PMID:12807768

  7. Risk assessment of bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) exposure to topical antiparasitics used in livestock within an ecotoxicovigilance framework.

    PubMed

    Mateo, Rafael; Sánchez-Barbudo, Inés S; Camarero, Pablo R; Martínez, José M

    2015-12-01

    Between 2004 and 2013, 486 suspected scavenger poisoning cases, including 24 bearded vultures (Gypaetus barbatus), were investigated in the Pyrenees and surrounding areas in Spain as part of a monitoring programme regarding accidental and intentional poisoning of wildlife. Poisoning was confirmed in 36% of all analysed cases where scavenger species were found dead within the distribution range of bearded vultures. Organophosphates and carbamates were the most frequently detected poisons. Four of the bearded vulture cases were positive for the presence of topical antiparasitics (3 with diazinon and 1 with permethrin). These likely represented accidental exposure due to the legal use of these veterinary pharmaceuticals. In order to confirm the risk of exposure to topical antiparasitics in bearded vultures, pig feet (n=24) and lamb feet (n=24) were analysed as these are one of the main food resources provided to bearded vultures at supplementary feeding stations. Pig feet had no detectable residues of topical antiparasitics. In contrast, 71.4% of lamb feet showed residues of antiparasitics including diazinon (64.3%), pirimiphos-methyl (25.4%), chlorpyrifos (7.1%), fenthion (1.6%), permethrin (0.8%) and cypermethrin (27.8%). Washing the feet with water significantly reduced levels of these topical antiparasitics, as such, this should be a recommended practice for lamb feet supplied at feeding stations for bearded vultures. Although the detected levels of antiparasitics were relatively low (≤1 μg/g), a risk assessment suggests that observed diazinon levels may affect brain acetylcholinesterase and thermoregulation in bearded vultures subject to chronic exposure.

  8. Wildlife contamination with fluoroquinolones from livestock: Widespread occurrence of enrofloxacin and marbofloxacin in vultures.

    PubMed

    Blanco, Guillermo; Junza, Alexandra; Segarra, David; Barbosa, José; Barrón, Dolores

    2016-02-01

    There is much recent interest in the presence and impact of veterinary pharmaceuticals in wildlife. Livestock carcasses are often disposed of in supplementary feeding stations for avian scavengers, as a management and conservation tool for these species worldwide. In feeding stations, vultures and other scavengers can consume carcasses almost immediately after disposal, which implies the potential ingestion of veterinary pharmaceuticals as a non-target consequence of supplementary feeding. Using UPLC-MS/MS and HPLC-TOF, we evaluated the presence and concentration of fluoroquinolone residues in plasma of nestling vultures feeding on domestic livestock carrion. Three different fluoroquinolones (marbofloxacin, enrofloxacin and its metabolite ciprofloxacin) and a non-targeted β-lactam (nafcillin) were detected in vulture plasma. The high proportion of individuals (92%) with fluoroquinolone residues at variable concentrations (up to ∼20 μg L(-1) of enrofloxacin and ∼150 μg L(-1) of marbofloxacin) sampled in several geographically distant colonies and on different dates suggests that these and other drugs were potentially ingested throughout nestling development. Contamination with veterinary fluoroquinolones and other pharmaceuticals should be considered as an unintended but alarming consequence of food management in threatened wildlife.

  9. Minimum anesthetic concentration and cardiovascular dose-response relationship of isoflurane in cinereous vultures (Aegypius monachus).

    PubMed

    Kim, Young K; Lee, Scott S; Suh, Euy H; Lee, Lyon; Lee, Hee C; Lee, Hyo J; Yeon, Seong C

    2011-09-01

    This study aimed to determine the minimum anesthetic concentration (MAC) and dose-related cardiovascular effects of isoflurane during controlled ventilation in cinereous vultures (Aegypius monachus). The MAC was determined for 10 cinereous vultures as the midpoint between the end-tidal isoflurane concentration that allows gross purposeful movement and that which prevents the movement in response to clamping a pedal digit. Immediately after the MAC was determined, the cardiovascular effects of isoflurane at 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0 times the MAC were investigated in seven of the 10 birds. The MAC of isoflurane for 10 cinereous vultures during controlled ventilation was 1.06 +/- 0.07% (mean +/- SD). When the isoflurane concentration was increased to 1.5 and 2.0 times the MAC, there was significant dose-dependent decrease in the arterial blood pressure. However, the heart rate did not change over a range of 1.0 to 2.0 times the MAC.

  10. Combining scales in habitat models to improve conservation planning in an endangered vulture

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mateo-Tomás, Patricia; Olea, Pedro P.

    2009-07-01

    Predictive modelling of species' distributions has been successfully applied in conservation ecology, but effective conservation requires predictive and accurate models. The combination of different scales to build habitat models might improve their predictive ability and hence their usefulness for conservation, but this approach has rarely been evaluated. We developed habitat-occupancy models combining scales from nest-site to landscape for a key population at the northwestern edge of the distribution of the globally endangered Egyptian vulture ( Neophron percnopterus). We used generalised linear models (GLM) and an information-theoretic approach to identify the best combination of scales and resolutions for explaining occurrence. Those models that combined nest-site and landscape scales improved the predictive ability compared with the scale-specific ones. The best combined model had a very high predictive ability when used against an independent dataset (92% correct classifications). Egyptian vultures preferred to nest in caves with vegetation at the entrance that were situated at the base of long cliffs, provided that these cliffs are embedded within low-lying, heterogeneous areas with little topographic irregularity and with little human disturbance. The density of sheep around the nest positively influenced Egyptian vulture presence. Conservation of the studied population should focus on minimising human disturbance and on promoting sustainable development through conservation of traditional pastoralism. Our findings highlight the importance of developing region-specific multiscale models in order to design effective conservation strategies. The approach described here may be applied similarly in other populations and species.

  11. Lead exposure in free-flying turkey vultures is associated with big game hunting in California.

    PubMed

    Kelly, Terra R; Johnson, Christine K

    2011-04-06

    Predatory and scavenging birds are at risk of lead exposure when they feed on animals injured or killed by lead ammunition. While lead ammunition has been banned from waterfowl hunting in North America for almost two decades, lead ammunition is still widely used for hunting big game and small game animals. In this study, we evaluated the association between big game hunting and blood lead concentration in an avian scavenger species that feeds regularly on large mammals in California. We compared blood lead concentration in turkey vultures within and outside of the deer hunting season, and in areas with varying wild pig hunting intensity. Lead exposure in turkey vultures was significantly higher during the deer hunting season compared to the off-season, and blood lead concentration was positively correlated with increasing wild pig hunting intensity. Our results link lead exposure in turkey vultures to deer and wild pig hunting activity at these study sites, and we provide evidence that spent lead ammunition in carrion poses a significant risk of lead exposure to scavengers.

  12. Lead Exposure in Free-Flying Turkey Vultures Is Associated with Big Game Hunting in California

    PubMed Central

    Kelly, Terra R.; Johnson, Christine K.

    2011-01-01

    Predatory and scavenging birds are at risk of lead exposure when they feed on animals injured or killed by lead ammunition. While lead ammunition has been banned from waterfowl hunting in North America for almost two decades, lead ammunition is still widely used for hunting big game and small game animals. In this study, we evaluated the association between big game hunting and blood lead concentration in an avian scavenger species that feeds regularly on large mammals in California. We compared blood lead concentration in turkey vultures within and outside of the deer hunting season, and in areas with varying wild pig hunting intensity. Lead exposure in turkey vultures was significantly higher during the deer hunting season compared to the off-season, and blood lead concentration was positively correlated with increasing wild pig hunting intensity. Our results link lead exposure in turkey vultures to deer and wild pig hunting activity at these study sites, and we provide evidence that spent lead ammunition in carrion poses a significant risk of lead exposure to scavengers. PMID:21494326

  13. Hematology and blood chemistry reference values and age-related changes in wild Bearded Vultures (Gypaetus barbatus).

    PubMed

    Hernández, M; Margalida, A

    2010-04-01

    Normal hematologic and blood chemistry values for clinical use and age-related changes are reported as reference values for the endangered Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus). Blood samples were obtained from 21 nestlings and 26 free-living subadults and adults. No significant differences were found between subadults and adults or between sexes for any of the studied parameters. Reference ranges have been established for Bearded Vulture nestlings (less than 3 mo of age) and for free-living Bearded Vultures, with subadult and adult data combined without affecting clinical interpretation. Some reference values for the parameters reported in this study are similar to those previously described for vultures and other raptor species, although creatine phosphokinase and lactate dehydrogenase activities were higher than those reported for birds of prey. Significant age-related differences were identified in urea, uric acid, triglycerides, total serum protein, inorganic phosphorus, and magnesium concentrations, as well as aspartate aminotransferase, creatine phosphokinase, lactate dehydrogenase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, and lipase activities (P<0.05). Additionally, significant age-related differences were noted in red and white blood cell counts, packed cell volume, hemoglobin concentration, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration, fibrinogen level, and heterophils, lymphocytes, and eosinophils (P<0.005). The results obtained from this study provide reference ranges that will be useful for evaluating the pathologic conditions and general health of Bearded Vulture populations and reveal the existence of important age-related differences in the species.

  14. Set a thief to catch a thief: brown-necked raven ( Corvus ruficollis) cooperatively kleptoparasitize Egyptian vulture ( Neophron percnopterus)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yosef, Reuven; Kabesa, Shai; Yosef, Nufar

    2011-05-01

    Our study describes how brown-necked ravens ( Corvus ruficollis) are able to take advantage of an ordinarily inaccessible, high-quality food source by relying upon their innovative and manipulative thinking capabilities to exploit methods used by Egyptian vulture ( Neophron percnopterus) to overcome the problem. In five observed interactions, the ravens were first seen in the vicinity of an abandoned clutch of ostrich eggs ( Struthio camelus). The area was frequented by a pair of Egyptian vultures that bred on the cliffs across the road from the nature reserve. The Egyptian vulture exhibits tool use in birds, and is able to crack the hard shells of ostrich eggs by lifting a rock in the beak and pounding at the egg till it breaks open or cracks. If the egg is only cracked, the vulture inserts its narrow bill into the fissure and widens it by opening the mandibles. Pieces of eggshell are removed from around the crack in order to further open the egg. This is the point at which the pair of ravens attacked the vulture and harassed it till it abandoned the egg and left the area. The ravens then jointly enjoyed the contents of the egg which was otherwise inaccessible to them because of the strong egg shell.

  15. Ochre Bathing of the Bearded Vulture: A Bio-Mimetic Model for Early Humans towards Smell Prevention and Health.

    PubMed

    Tributsch, Helmut

    2016-01-15

    Since primordial times, vultures have been competing with man for animal carcasses. One of these vultures, the once widespread bearded vulture ( Gypaetus barbatus ), has the habit of bathing its polluted feathers and skin in red iron oxide - ochre - tainted water puddles. Why? Primitive man may have tried to find out and may have discovered its advantages. Red ochre, which has accompanied human rituals and everyday life for more than 100,000 years, is not just a simple red paint for decoration or a symbol for blood. As modern experiments demonstrate, it is active in sunlight producing aggressive chemical species. They can kill viruses and bacteria and convert smelly organic substances into volatile neutral carbon dioxide gas. In this way, ochre can in sunlight sterilize and clean the skin to provide health and comfort and make it scentless, a definitive advantage for nomadic meat hunters. This research thus also demonstrates a sanitary reason for the vulture's habit of bathing in red ochre mud. Prehistoric people have therefore included ochre use into their rituals, especially into those in relation to birth and death. Significant ritual impulses during evolution of man may thus have developed bio-mimetically, inspired from the habits of a vulture. It is discussed how this health strategy could be developed to a modern standard helping to fight antibiotics-resistant bacteria in hospitals.

  16. Modeling the consequences of the demise and potential recovery of a keystone-species: wild rabbits and avian scavengers in Mediterranean landscapes.

    PubMed

    Cortés-Avizanda, Ainara; Colomer, Maria Àngels; Margalida, Antoni; Ceballos, Olga; Donázar, José Antonio

    2015-11-23

    Restoration of demised keystone-species populations is an overriding concern in conservation biology. However, since no population is independent of its environment, progress is needed in predicting the efficacy of restoration in unstable ecological contexts. Here, by means of Population Dynamics P-system Models (PDP), we studied long-term changes in the population size of Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus) inhabiting a Natural Park, northern Spain, to changes in the numbers of wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), a keystone-species of Mediterranean ecosystems that have suffered >90% population decline after a hemorrhagic disease outbreak. Low availability of rabbit carcasses leads Egyptian vultures to extend their foraging activities to unprotected areas with higher non-natural mortality whereas growing numbers of griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus), a dominant competitor, progressively monopolize trophic resources resulting in a focal population decrease. Modeling shows that, even if keystone-species populations recover in core protected areas, the return to the original studied population size may be unfeasible, due to both the high non-natural mortality rates in humanized areas and long-term changes in the scavenger guild structure. Policy decisions aimed to restore keystone-species should rely on holistic approaches integrating the effects of spatial heterogeneity on both producer and consumer populations as well as within-guild processes.

  17. Modeling the consequences of the demise and potential recovery of a keystone-species: wild rabbits and avian scavengers in Mediterranean landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Cortés-Avizanda, Ainara; Colomer, Maria Àngels; Margalida, Antoni; Ceballos, Olga; Donázar, José Antonio

    2015-01-01

    Restoration of demised keystone-species populations is an overriding concern in conservation biology. However, since no population is independent of its environment, progress is needed in predicting the efficacy of restoration in unstable ecological contexts. Here, by means of Population Dynamics P-system Models (PDP), we studied long-term changes in the population size of Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus) inhabiting a Natural Park, northern Spain, to changes in the numbers of wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), a keystone-species of Mediterranean ecosystems that have suffered >90% population decline after a hemorrhagic disease outbreak. Low availability of rabbit carcasses leads Egyptian vultures to extend their foraging activities to unprotected areas with higher non-natural mortality whereas growing numbers of griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus), a dominant competitor, progressively monopolize trophic resources resulting in a focal population decrease. Modeling shows that, even if keystone-species populations recover in core protected areas, the return to the original studied population size may be unfeasible, due to both the high non-natural mortality rates in humanized areas and long-term changes in the scavenger guild structure. Policy decisions aimed to restore keystone-species should rely on holistic approaches integrating the effects of spatial heterogeneity on both producer and consumer populations as well as within-guild processes. PMID:26593338

  18. Modeling the consequences of the demise and potential recovery of a keystone-species: wild rabbits and avian scavengers in Mediterranean landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cortés-Avizanda, Ainara; Colomer, Maria Àngels; Margalida, Antoni; Ceballos, Olga; Donázar, José Antonio

    2015-11-01

    Restoration of demised keystone-species populations is an overriding concern in conservation biology. However, since no population is independent of its environment, progress is needed in predicting the efficacy of restoration in unstable ecological contexts. Here, by means of Population Dynamics P-system Models (PDP), we studied long-term changes in the population size of Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus) inhabiting a Natural Park, northern Spain, to changes in the numbers of wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), a keystone-species of Mediterranean ecosystems that have suffered >90% population decline after a hemorrhagic disease outbreak. Low availability of rabbit carcasses leads Egyptian vultures to extend their foraging activities to unprotected areas with higher non-natural mortality whereas growing numbers of griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus), a dominant competitor, progressively monopolize trophic resources resulting in a focal population decrease. Modeling shows that, even if keystone-species populations recover in core protected areas, the return to the original studied population size may be unfeasible, due to both the high non-natural mortality rates in humanized areas and long-term changes in the scavenger guild structure. Policy decisions aimed to restore keystone-species should rely on holistic approaches integrating the effects of spatial heterogeneity on both producer and consumer populations as well as within-guild processes.

  19. Need and seek for dietary micronutrients: endogenous regulation, external signalling and food sources of carotenoids in new world vultures.

    PubMed

    Blanco, Guillermo; Hornero-Méndez, Dámaso; Lambertucci, Sergio A; Bautista, Luis M; Wiemeyer, Guillermo; Sanchez-Zapata, José A; Garrido-Fernández, Juan; Hiraldo, Fernando; Donázar, José A

    2013-01-01

    Among birds, vultures show low concentrations of plasma carotenoids due to the combination of their large size, general dull colouration and a diet based on carrion. We recorded the concentration of each carotenoid type present in plasma of the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus) according to age and sex, that determine colour signalling and dominance hierarchies in the carcasses. We compared the carotenoid profile in wild condors with that of captive condors fed with a controlled diet of flesh to test the hypothesis that wild individuals could acquire extra carotenoids from vegetal matter contained in carcass viscera and fresh vegetation. Wild American black vultures (Coragyps atratus) were also sampled to evaluate the potential influence of colouration in the integument on absorption and accumulation patterns of plasma carotenoids. A remarkably higher concentration of lutein than β-carotene was found in wild condors, while the contrary pattern was recorded in American black vultures and captive condors. We found a consistent decrease in all plasma carotenoids with age, and a lower concentration of most xanthophylls in male compared to female wild condors. Positive correlations of all carotenoids indicated general common absorption and accumulation strategies or a single dietary source containing all pigments found in plasma. The comparatively low total concentration of carotenoids, and especially of lutein rather than β-carotene, found in captive condors fed with a diet restricted to flesh supports the hypothesis that Andean condors can efficiently acquire carotenoids from vegetal matter in the wild. Andean condors seem to be physiologically more competent in the uptake or accumulation of xanthophylls than American black vultures, which agrees with the use of colour-signalling strategies in sexual and competitive contexts in the Andean condor. This study suggests that vultures may use dietary vegetal supplements that provide pigments and micronutrients that are

  20. Need and Seek for Dietary Micronutrients: Endogenous Regulation, External Signalling and Food Sources of Carotenoids in New World Vultures

    PubMed Central

    Blanco, Guillermo; Hornero-Méndez, Dámaso; Lambertucci, Sergio A.; Bautista, Luis M.; Wiemeyer, Guillermo; Sanchez-Zapata, José A.; Garrido-Fernández, Juan; Hiraldo, Fernando; Donázar, José A.

    2013-01-01

    Among birds, vultures show low concentrations of plasma carotenoids due to the combination of their large size, general dull colouration and a diet based on carrion. We recorded the concentration of each carotenoid type present in plasma of the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus) according to age and sex, that determine colour signalling and dominance hierarchies in the carcasses. We compared the carotenoid profile in wild condors with that of captive condors fed with a controlled diet of flesh to test the hypothesis that wild individuals could acquire extra carotenoids from vegetal matter contained in carcass viscera and fresh vegetation. Wild American black vultures (Coragyps atratus) were also sampled to evaluate the potential influence of colouration in the integument on absorption and accumulation patterns of plasma carotenoids. A remarkably higher concentration of lutein than β-carotene was found in wild condors, while the contrary pattern was recorded in American black vultures and captive condors. We found a consistent decrease in all plasma carotenoids with age, and a lower concentration of most xanthophylls in male compared to female wild condors. Positive correlations of all carotenoids indicated general common absorption and accumulation strategies or a single dietary source containing all pigments found in plasma. The comparatively low total concentration of carotenoids, and especially of lutein rather than β-carotene, found in captive condors fed with a diet restricted to flesh supports the hypothesis that Andean condors can efficiently acquire carotenoids from vegetal matter in the wild. Andean condors seem to be physiologically more competent in the uptake or accumulation of xanthophylls than American black vultures, which agrees with the use of colour-signalling strategies in sexual and competitive contexts in the Andean condor. This study suggests that vultures may use dietary vegetal supplements that provide pigments and micronutrients that are

  1. Testing the Goodness of Supplementary Feeding to Enhance Population Viability in an Endangered Vulture

    PubMed Central

    Oro, Daniel; Margalida, Antoni; Carrete, Martina; Heredia, Rafael; Donázar, José Antonio

    2008-01-01

    Background Human-predator conflicts are directly or indirectly threatening many species with extinction. Thus, biologists are urged to find simple solutions to complex situations while avoiding unforeseen conservation outcomes. The provision of supplementary food at artificial feeding sites (AFS) is frequently used in the conservation of scavenger bird populations currently suffering from indirect poisoning, although no scientific studies on its effectiveness have been conducted. Methodology/Principal Findings We used a long-term data set of 95 individually marked birds from the largest European core of the endangered bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) to test the long-term effects of specific AFS for bearded vultures on their survival rates (by CMR models) and population dynamics (by Monte Carlo simulations) in an area where fatalities derived from illegal poisoning and the use of other toxics like veterinary drugs have increased over the last several years. Our data support the positive relationship between the use of AFS and survival. However, contrary to theoretical predictions (e.g. high and more stable adult survival among long-lived species), the use of AFS increased only survival of pre-adults. Moreover, AFS buffered the effects of illegal poisoning on this age-class, while adult survival decreased over years. Our simulations predicted a maximum value of extinction probability over a time horizon of 50 years. Population projections run with survival rates expected in scenarios without poisoning predicted the situation of least conservation concern, while including only AFS can maintain a large floater surplus that may delay population decline but fails to reduce poisoning risk among adults. Conclusions/Significance Although AFS are not effective to save bearded vultures from an expected population decline, they delay population extinction and can be a useful tool for prolonging population viability while combating illegal and indirect poisoning. The

  2. Rate of decline of the Oriental white-backed vulture population in India estimated from a survey of diclofenac residues in carcasses of ungulates.

    PubMed

    Green, Rhys E; Taggart, Mark A; Senacha, Kalu Ram; Raghavan, Bindu; Pain, Deborah J; Jhala, Yadvendradev; Cuthbert, Richard

    2007-08-01

    The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac is a major cause of the rapid declines in the Indian subcontinent of three species of vultures endemic to South Asia. The drug causes kidney failure and death in vultures. Exposure probably arises through vultures feeding on carcasses of domesticated ungulates treated with the drug. However, before the study reported here, it had not been established from field surveys of ungulate carcasses that a sufficient proportion was contaminated to cause the observed declines. We surveyed diclofenac concentrations in samples of liver from carcasses of domesticated ungulates in India in 2004-2005. We estimated the concentration of diclofenac in tissues available to vultures, relative to that in liver, and the proportion of vultures killed after feeding on a carcass with a known level of contamination. We assessed the impact of this mortality on vulture population trend with a population model. We expected levels of diclofenac found in ungulate carcasses in 2004-2005 to cause oriental white-backed vulture population declines of 80-99% per year, depending upon the assumptions used in the model. This compares with an observed rate of decline, from road transect counts, of 48% per year in 2000-2003. The precision of the estimate based upon carcass surveys is low and the two types of estimate were not significantly different. Our analyses indicate that the level of diclofenac contamination found in carcasses of domesticated ungulates in 2004-2005 was sufficient to account for the observed rapid decline of the oriental white-backed vulture in India. The methods we describe could be used again to assess changes in the effect on vulture population trend of diclofenac and similar drugs. In this way, the effectiveness of the recent ban in India on the manufacture and importation of diclofenac for veterinary use could be monitored.

  3. Environmental drivers of variability in the movement ecology of turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) in North and South America.

    PubMed

    Dodge, Somayeh; Bohrer, Gil; Bildstein, Keith; Davidson, Sarah C; Weinzierl, Rolf; Bechard, Marc J; Barber, David; Kays, Roland; Brandes, David; Han, Jiawei; Wikelski, Martin

    2014-01-01

    Variation is key to the adaptability of species and their ability to survive changes to the Earth's climate and habitats. Plasticity in movement strategies allows a species to better track spatial dynamics of habitat quality. We describe the mechanisms that shape the movement of a long-distance migrant bird (turkey vulture, Cathartes aura) across two continents using satellite tracking coupled with remote-sensing science. Using nearly 10 years of data from 24 satellite-tracked vultures in four distinct populations, we describe an enormous amount of variation in their movement patterns. We related vulture movement to environmental conditions and found important correlations explaining how far they need to move to find food (indexed by the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) and how fast they can move based on the prevalence of thermals and temperature. We conclude that the extensive variability in the movement ecology of turkey vultures, facilitated by their energetically efficient thermal soaring, suggests that this species is likely to do well across periods of modest climate change. The large scale and sample sizes needed for such analysis in a widespread migrant emphasizes the need for integrated and collaborative efforts to obtain tracking data and for policies, tools and open datasets to encourage such collaborations and data sharing.

  4. Environmental drivers of variability in the movement ecology of turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) in North and South America

    PubMed Central

    Dodge, Somayeh; Bohrer, Gil; Bildstein, Keith; Davidson, Sarah C.; Weinzierl, Rolf; Bechard, Marc J.; Barber, David; Kays, Roland; Brandes, David; Han, Jiawei; Wikelski, Martin

    2014-01-01

    Variation is key to the adaptability of species and their ability to survive changes to the Earth's climate and habitats. Plasticity in movement strategies allows a species to better track spatial dynamics of habitat quality. We describe the mechanisms that shape the movement of a long-distance migrant bird (turkey vulture, Cathartes aura) across two continents using satellite tracking coupled with remote-sensing science. Using nearly 10 years of data from 24 satellite-tracked vultures in four distinct populations, we describe an enormous amount of variation in their movement patterns. We related vulture movement to environmental conditions and found important correlations explaining how far they need to move to find food (indexed by the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) and how fast they can move based on the prevalence of thermals and temperature. We conclude that the extensive variability in the movement ecology of turkey vultures, facilitated by their energetically efficient thermal soaring, suggests that this species is likely to do well across periods of modest climate change. The large scale and sample sizes needed for such analysis in a widespread migrant emphasizes the need for integrated and collaborative efforts to obtain tracking data and for policies, tools and open datasets to encourage such collaborations and data sharing. PMID:24733950

  5. Spatial and temporal movements in Pyrenean bearded vultures (Gypaetus barbatus): Integrating movement ecology into conservation practice.

    PubMed

    Margalida, Antoni; Pérez-García, Juan Manuel; Afonso, Ivan; Moreno-Opo, Rubén

    2016-10-25

    Understanding the movement of threatened species is important if we are to optimize management and conservation actions. Here, we describe the age and sex specific spatial and temporal ranging patterns of 19 bearded vultures Gypaetus barbatus tracked with GPS technology. Our findings suggest that spatial asymmetries are a consequence of breeding status and age-classes. Territorial individuals exploited home ranges of about 50 km(2), while non-territorial birds used areas of around 10 000 km(2) (with no seasonal differences). Mean daily movements differed between territorial (23.8 km) and non-territorial birds (46.1 km), and differences were also found between sexes in non-territorial birds. Daily maximum distances travelled per day also differed between territorial (8.2 km) and non-territorial individuals (26.5 km). Territorial females moved greater distances (12 km) than males (6.6 km). Taking into account high-use core areas (K20), Supplementary Feeding Sites (SFS) do not seem to play an important role in the use of space by bearded vultures. For non-territorial and territorial individuals, 54% and 46% of their home ranges (K90), respectively, were outside protected areas. Our findings will help develop guidelines for establishing priority areas based on spatial use, and also optimize management and conservation actions for this threatened species.

  6. Cardiorespiratory dose-response relationship of isoflurane in Cinereous vulture (Aegypius monachus) during spontaneous ventilation

    PubMed Central

    SEOK, Seong-Hoon; JEONG, Dong-Hyuk; HONG, Il-Hwa; LEE, Hee-Chun; YEON, Seong-Chan

    2016-01-01

    Anesthesia is an inevitably important component of diagnosis and treatments examining the health condition of wild animals. Not only does anesthesia become an essential tool in minimizing stress of the patients and providing an opportunity to deliver accurate and safe procedures, but it also ensures the safety of the medical crew members. This study was conducted to investigate the dose-response cardiorespiratory effects of isoflurane during spontaneous ventilation in ten cinereous vultures. Each bird was administered isoflurane at initial concentration of 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 and then an end-tidal isoflurane concentrations (ETiso) of 1.0% for an equilibration period of 15 min in the given order. At the end of the equilibration period, the direct blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), respiratory rate (RR) and end tidal CO2 partial pressure (PETCO2) were recorded, and blood gas analysis was performed. Increasing isoflurane concentrations during spontaneous ventilation led to dose-dependent increases in HR and PETCO2, with minimal changes in RR, decreased arterial BP and respiratory acidosis. Overall, isoflurane for anesthesia of spontaneously breathing cinereous vultures is a suitable choice for diagnostic or surgical procedures. PMID:27725351

  7. Spatial and temporal movements in Pyrenean bearded vultures (Gypaetus barbatus): Integrating movement ecology into conservation practice

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Margalida, Antoni; Pérez-García, Juan Manuel; Afonso, Ivan; Moreno-Opo, Rubén

    2016-10-01

    Understanding the movement of threatened species is important if we are to optimize management and conservation actions. Here, we describe the age and sex specific spatial and temporal ranging patterns of 19 bearded vultures Gypaetus barbatus tracked with GPS technology. Our findings suggest that spatial asymmetries are a consequence of breeding status and age-classes. Territorial individuals exploited home ranges of about 50 km2, while non-territorial birds used areas of around 10 000 km2 (with no seasonal differences). Mean daily movements differed between territorial (23.8 km) and non-territorial birds (46.1 km), and differences were also found between sexes in non-territorial birds. Daily maximum distances travelled per day also differed between territorial (8.2 km) and non-territorial individuals (26.5 km). Territorial females moved greater distances (12 km) than males (6.6 km). Taking into account high-use core areas (K20), Supplementary Feeding Sites (SFS) do not seem to play an important role in the use of space by bearded vultures. For non-territorial and territorial individuals, 54% and 46% of their home ranges (K90), respectively, were outside protected areas. Our findings will help develop guidelines for establishing priority areas based on spatial use, and also optimize management and conservation actions for this threatened species.

  8. Density-dependent productivity depression in Pyrenean Bearded Vultures: implications for conservation.

    PubMed

    Carrete, Martina; Donázar, José A; Margalida, Antoni

    2006-10-01

    The main objective of many conservation programs is to increase population size by improving a species' survival and reproduction. However, density dependence of demographic parameters may confound this approach. In this study we used a 25-year data set on Bearded Vultures (Gypaetus barbatus) in Spain to evaluate the consequences of population growth on reproductive performance. Unlike its coefficient of variation (cv), mean annual productivity decreased with increasing population size. After controlling for territorial heterogeneity, productivity also was negatively related to the distance to the nearest conspecific breeding pair and to supplementary feeding points where floaters congregate. These results suggest that vulture populations are regulated as posited by the site-dependency hypothesis: as the population increases, average productivity decreases because progressively poorer territories are used. The combined effects of the shrinkage of territories and the presence of floaters around supplementary feeding points seem to be the main causes of productivity decline and are therefore the main determinants of territory quality. This has conservation implications, especially concerning the role of supplementary feeding points. Supplementary feeding should be reviewed given that its usefulness in reducing preadult mortality has not yet been proved and its effect on productivity, as our results suggest, is negative.

  9. Spatial and temporal movements in Pyrenean bearded vultures (Gypaetus barbatus): Integrating movement ecology into conservation practice

    PubMed Central

    Margalida, Antoni; Pérez-García, Juan Manuel; Afonso, Ivan; Moreno-Opo, Rubén

    2016-01-01

    Understanding the movement of threatened species is important if we are to optimize management and conservation actions. Here, we describe the age and sex specific spatial and temporal ranging patterns of 19 bearded vultures Gypaetus barbatus tracked with GPS technology. Our findings suggest that spatial asymmetries are a consequence of breeding status and age-classes. Territorial individuals exploited home ranges of about 50 km2, while non-territorial birds used areas of around 10 000 km2 (with no seasonal differences). Mean daily movements differed between territorial (23.8 km) and non-territorial birds (46.1 km), and differences were also found between sexes in non-territorial birds. Daily maximum distances travelled per day also differed between territorial (8.2 km) and non-territorial individuals (26.5 km). Territorial females moved greater distances (12 km) than males (6.6 km). Taking into account high-use core areas (K20), Supplementary Feeding Sites (SFS) do not seem to play an important role in the use of space by bearded vultures. For non-territorial and territorial individuals, 54% and 46% of their home ranges (K90), respectively, were outside protected areas. Our findings will help develop guidelines for establishing priority areas based on spatial use, and also optimize management and conservation actions for this threatened species. PMID:27779179

  10. Ochre Bathing of the Bearded Vulture: A Bio-Mimetic Model for Early Humans towards Smell Prevention and Health

    PubMed Central

    Tributsch, Helmut

    2016-01-01

    Simple Summary The once widespread bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) has the habit of bathing its polluted feathers and skin in red iron oxide-ochre-tainted water puddles. Primitive man may have tried to find out why: ochre is active in sunlight producing aggressive chemical species. They can kill viruses and bacteria and convert smelly organic substances into volatile neutral carbon dioxide gas. There is consequently a sanitary reason for the vulture’s habit of bathing in red ochre mud and this explains why prehistoric people included ochre use into their habits and rituals. Abstract Since primordial times, vultures have been competing with man for animal carcasses. One of these vultures, the once widespread bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), has the habit of bathing its polluted feathers and skin in red iron oxide - ochre - tainted water puddles. Why? Primitive man may have tried to find out and may have discovered its advantages. Red ochre, which has accompanied human rituals and everyday life for more than 100,000 years, is not just a simple red paint for decoration or a symbol for blood. As modern experiments demonstrate, it is active in sunlight producing aggressive chemical species. They can kill viruses and bacteria and convert smelly organic substances into volatile neutral carbon dioxide gas. In this way, ochre can in sunlight sterilize and clean the skin to provide health and comfort and make it scentless, a definitive advantage for nomadic meat hunters. This research thus also demonstrates a sanitary reason for the vulture’s habit of bathing in red ochre mud. Prehistoric people have therefore included ochre use into their rituals, especially into those in relation to birth and death. Significant ritual impulses during evolution of man may thus have developed bio-mimetically, inspired from the habits of a vulture. It is discussed how this health strategy could be developed to a modern standard helping to fight antibiotics-resistant bacteria in

  11. Investigating the impact of large carcass feeding on the behavior of captive Andean condors (Vultur gryphus) and its perception by zoo visitors.

    PubMed

    Gaengler, Hannah; Clum, Nancy

    2015-01-01

    Naturalistic feeding methods, such as the provision of whole carcasses to zoo animals, are potentially controversial because zoo visitors might not approve of them. However, since several species of zoo animals feed from large carcasses in the wild, this food type could benefit their welfare in captivity compared to other less-natural food types. Scavengers in particular almost exclusively live on carcasses in nature; therefore, their welfare in captivity could significantly depend on the opportunity to express behaviors related to carcass feeding. In this study, we assessed the frequency of carcass feeding for vultures in North American zoos and investigated the effect of different food types on the behavior of zoo-housed Andean condors (Vultur gryphus). We also evaluated the opinion of North American zoo visitors about carcass feeding. Our results show that small whole carcasses (rats, rabbits) are part of the diet of vultures in most North American zoos, but large whole carcasses (ungulates) are rarely fed. Our behavioral study indicated that Andean condors appear to be more motivated to feed on more natural food types, which also seem to physically engage the birds more and occupy them longer. Most zoo visitors approved of carcass feeding for captive vultures over a range of prey animals, and the majority would also like to observe the vultures eat. Collectively, our results demonstrate that carcass feeding, particularly with larger prey, potentially enriches both zoo-housed vultures as well as the visitor experience.

  12. Dermatological remedies in the traditional pharmacopoeia of Vulture-Alto Bradano, inland southern Italy

    PubMed Central

    Quave, Cassandra L; Pieroni, Andrea; Bennett, Bradley C

    2008-01-01

    Background Dermatological remedies make up at least one-third of the traditional pharmacopoeia in southern Italy. The identification of folk remedies for the skin is important both for the preservation of traditional medical knowledge and in the search for novel antimicrobial agents in the treatment of skin and soft tissue infection (SSTI). Our goal is to document traditional remedies from botanical, animal, mineral and industrial sources for the topical treatment of skin ailments. In addition to SSTI remedies for humans, we also discuss certain ethnoveterinary applications. Methods Field research was conducted in ten communities in the Vulture-Alto Bradano area of the Basilicata province, southern Italy. We randomly sampled 112 interviewees, stratified by age and gender. After obtaining prior informed consent, we collected data through semi-structured interviews, participant-observation, and small focus groups techniques. Voucher specimens of all cited botanic species were deposited at FTG and HLUC herbaria located in the US and Italy. Results We report the preparation and topical application of 116 remedies derived from 38 plant species. Remedies are used to treat laceration, burn wound, wart, inflammation, rash, dental abscess, furuncle, dermatitis, and other conditions. The pharmacopoeia also includes 49 animal remedies derived from sources such as pigs, slugs, and humans. Ethnoveterinary medicine, which incorporates both animal and plant derived remedies, is addressed. We also examine the recent decline in knowledge regarding the dermatological pharmacopoeia. Conclusion The traditional dermatological pharmacopoeia of Vulture-Alto Bradano is based on a dynamic folk medical construct of natural and spiritual illness and healing. Remedies are used to treat more than 45 skin and soft tissue conditions of both humans and animals. Of the total 165 remedies reported, 110 have never before been published in the mainland southern Italian ethnomedical literature. PMID

  13. Estimating updraft velocity components over large spatial scales: contrasting migration strategies of golden eagles and turkey vultures.

    PubMed

    Bohrer, Gil; Brandes, David; Mandel, James T; Bildstein, Keith L; Miller, Tricia A; Lanzone, Michael; Katzner, Todd; Maisonneuve, Charles; Tremblay, Junior A

    2012-02-01

    Soaring birds migrate in massive numbers worldwide. These migrations are complex and dynamic phenomena, strongly influenced by meteorological conditions that produce thermal and orographic uplift as the birds traverse the landscape. Herein we report on how methods were developed to estimate the strength of thermal and orographic uplift using publicly available digital weather and topography datasets at continental scale. We apply these methods to contrast flight strategies of two morphologically similar but behaviourally different species: golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos, and turkey vulture, Cathartes aura, during autumn migration across eastern North America tracked using GPS tags. We show that turkey vultures nearly exclusively used thermal lift, whereas golden eagles primarily use orographic lift during migration. It has not been shown previously that migration tracks are affected by species-specific specialisation to a particular uplift mode. The methods introduced herein to estimate uplift components and test for differences in weather use can be applied to study movement of any soaring species.

  14. The HD-GYP Domain Protein RpfG of Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzicola Regulates Synthesis of Extracellular Polysaccharides that Contribute to Biofilm Formation and Virulence on Rice

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Yuanbao; Wei, Chao; Jiang, Wendi; Wang, Lei; Li, Churui; Wang, Yunyue; Dow, John Maxwell; Sun, Wenxian

    2013-01-01

    Bacterial leaf streak caused by Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzicola (Xoc) is one of the most important diseases in rice. However, little is known about the pathogenicity mechanisms of Xoc. Here we have investigated the function of three HD-GYP domain regulatory proteins in biofilm formation, the synthesis of virulence factors and virulence of Xoc. Deletion of rpfG resulted in altered production of extracellular polysaccharides (EPS), abolished virulence on rice and enhanced biofilm formation, but had little effect on the secretion of proteases and motility. In contrast, mutational analysis showed that the other two HD-GYP domain proteins had no effect on virulence factor synthesis and tested phenotypes. Mutation of rpfG led to up-regulation of the type III secretion system and altered expression of three putative glycosyltransferase genes gumD, pgaC and xagB, which are part of operons directing the synthesis of different extracellular polysaccharides. The pgaABCD and xagABCD operons were greatly up-regulated in the Xoc ΔrpfG mutant, whereas the expression of the gum genes was unaltered or slightly enhanced. The elevated biofilm formation of the Xoc ΔrpfG mutant was dramatically reduced upon deletion of gumD, xagA and xagB, but not when pgaA and pgaC were deleted. Interestingly, only the ΔgumD mutant, among these single gene mutants, exhibits multiple phenotype alterations including reduced biofilm and EPS production and attenuated virulence on rice. These data indicate that RpfG is a global regulator that controls biofilm formation, EPS production and bacterial virulence in Xoc and that both gumD- and xagB-dependent EPS contribute to biofilm formation under different conditions. PMID:23544067

  15. Analysis of the HD-GYP Domain Cyclic Dimeric GMP Phosphodiesterase Reveals a Role in Motility and the Enzootic Life Cycle of Borrelia burgdorferi ▿ †

    PubMed Central

    Sultan, Syed Z.; Pitzer, Joshua E.; Boquoi, Tristan; Hobbs, Gerry; Miller, Michael R.; Motaleb, M. A.

    2011-01-01

    HD-GYP domain cyclic dimeric GMP (c-di-GMP) phosphodiesterases are implicated in motility and virulence in bacteria. Borrelia burgdorferi possesses a single set of c-di-GMP-metabolizing enzymes, including a putative HD-GYP domain protein, BB0374. Recently, we characterized the EAL domain phosphodiesterase PdeA. A mutation in pdeA resulted in cells that were defective in motility and virulence. Here we demonstrate that BB0374/PdeB specifically hydrolyzed c-di-GMP with a Km of 2.9 nM, confirming that it is a functional phosphodiesterase. Furthermore, by measuring phosphodiesterase enzyme activity in extracts from cells containing the pdeA pdeB double mutant, we demonstrate that no additional phosphodiesterases are present in B. burgdorferi. pdeB single mutant cells exhibit significantly increased flexing, indicating a role for c-di-GMP in motility. Constructing and analyzing a pilZ pdeB double mutant suggests that PilZ likely interacts with chemotaxis signaling. While virulence in needle-inoculated C3H/HeN mice did not appear to be altered significantly in pdeB mutant cells, these cells exhibited a reduced ability to survive in Ixodes scapularis ticks. Consequently, those ticks were unable to transmit the infection to naïve mice. All of these phenotypes were restored when the mutant was complemented. Identification of this role of pdeB increases our understanding of the c-di-GMP signaling network in motility regulation and the life cycle of B. burgdorferi. PMID:21670168

  16. Analysis of the HD-GYP domain cyclic dimeric GMP phosphodiesterase reveals a role in motility and the enzootic life cycle of Borrelia burgdorferi.

    PubMed

    Sultan, Syed Z; Pitzer, Joshua E; Boquoi, Tristan; Hobbs, Gerry; Miller, Michael R; Motaleb, M A

    2011-08-01

    HD-GYP domain cyclic dimeric GMP (c-di-GMP) phosphodiesterases are implicated in motility and virulence in bacteria. Borrelia burgdorferi possesses a single set of c-di-GMP-metabolizing enzymes, including a putative HD-GYP domain protein, BB0374. Recently, we characterized the EAL domain phosphodiesterase PdeA. A mutation in pdeA resulted in cells that were defective in motility and virulence. Here we demonstrate that BB0374/PdeB specifically hydrolyzed c-di-GMP with a K(m) of 2.9 nM, confirming that it is a functional phosphodiesterase. Furthermore, by measuring phosphodiesterase enzyme activity in extracts from cells containing the pdeA pdeB double mutant, we demonstrate that no additional phosphodiesterases are present in B. burgdorferi. pdeB single mutant cells exhibit significantly increased flexing, indicating a role for c-di-GMP in motility. Constructing and analyzing a pilZ pdeB double mutant suggests that PilZ likely interacts with chemotaxis signaling. While virulence in needle-inoculated C3H/HeN mice did not appear to be altered significantly in pdeB mutant cells, these cells exhibited a reduced ability to survive in Ixodes scapularis ticks. Consequently, those ticks were unable to transmit the infection to naïve mice. All of these phenotypes were restored when the mutant was complemented. Identification of this role of pdeB increases our understanding of the c-di-GMP signaling network in motility regulation and the life cycle of B. burgdorferi.

  17. The HD-GYP domain protein RpfG of Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzicola regulates synthesis of extracellular polysaccharides that contribute to biofilm formation and virulence on rice.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Yuanbao; Wei, Chao; Jiang, Wendi; Wang, Lei; Li, Churui; Wang, Yunyue; Dow, John Maxwell; Sun, Wenxian

    2013-01-01

    Bacterial leaf streak caused by Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzicola (Xoc) is one of the most important diseases in rice. However, little is known about the pathogenicity mechanisms of Xoc. Here we have investigated the function of three HD-GYP domain regulatory proteins in biofilm formation, the synthesis of virulence factors and virulence of Xoc. Deletion of rpfG resulted in altered production of extracellular polysaccharides (EPS), abolished virulence on rice and enhanced biofilm formation, but had little effect on the secretion of proteases and motility. In contrast, mutational analysis showed that the other two HD-GYP domain proteins had no effect on virulence factor synthesis and tested phenotypes. Mutation of rpfG led to up-regulation of the type III secretion system and altered expression of three putative glycosyltransferase genes gumD, pgaC and xagB, which are part of operons directing the synthesis of different extracellular polysaccharides. The pgaABCD and xagABCD operons were greatly up-regulated in the Xoc ΔrpfG mutant, whereas the expression of the gum genes was unaltered or slightly enhanced. The elevated biofilm formation of the Xoc ΔrpfG mutant was dramatically reduced upon deletion of gumD, xagA and xagB, but not when pgaA and pgaC were deleted. Interestingly, only the ΔgumD mutant, among these single gene mutants, exhibits multiple phenotype alterations including reduced biofilm and EPS production and attenuated virulence on rice. These data indicate that RpfG is a global regulator that controls biofilm formation, EPS production and bacterial virulence in Xoc and that both gumD- and xagB-dependent EPS contribute to biofilm formation under different conditions.

  18. Impact of the California lead ammunition ban on reducing lead exposure in golden eagles and turkey vultures.

    PubMed

    Kelly, Terra R; Bloom, Peter H; Torres, Steve G; Hernandez, Yvette Z; Poppenga, Robert H; Boyce, Walter M; Johnson, Christine K

    2011-04-06

    Predatory and scavenging birds may be exposed to high levels of lead when they ingest shot or bullet fragments embedded in the tissues of animals injured or killed with lead ammunition. Lead poisoning was a contributing factor in the decline of the endangered California condor population in the 1980s, and remains one of the primary factors threatening species recovery. In response to this threat, a ban on the use of lead ammunition for most hunting activities in the range of the condor in California was implemented in 2008. Monitoring of lead exposure in predatory and scavenging birds is essential for assessing the effectiveness of the lead ammunition ban in reducing lead exposure in these species. In this study, we assessed the effectiveness of the regulation in decreasing blood lead concentration in two avian sentinels, golden eagles and turkey vultures, within the condor range in California. We compared blood lead concentration in golden eagles and turkey vultures prior to the lead ammunition ban and one year following implementation of the ban. Lead exposure in both golden eagles and turkey vultures declined significantly post-ban. Our findings provide evidence that hunter compliance with lead ammunition regulations was sufficient to reduce lead exposure in predatory and scavenging birds at our study sites.

  19. Impact of the California Lead Ammunition Ban on Reducing Lead Exposure in Golden Eagles and Turkey Vultures

    PubMed Central

    Kelly, Terra R.; Bloom, Peter H.; Torres, Steve G.; Hernandez, Yvette Z.; Poppenga, Robert H.; Boyce, Walter M.; Johnson, Christine K.

    2011-01-01

    Predatory and scavenging birds may be exposed to high levels of lead when they ingest shot or bullet fragments embedded in the tissues of animals injured or killed with lead ammunition. Lead poisoning was a contributing factor in the decline of the endangered California condor population in the 1980s, and remains one of the primary factors threatening species recovery. In response to this threat, a ban on the use of lead ammunition for most hunting activities in the range of the condor in California was implemented in 2008. Monitoring of lead exposure in predatory and scavenging birds is essential for assessing the effectiveness of the lead ammunition ban in reducing lead exposure in these species. In this study, we assessed the effectiveness of the regulation in decreasing blood lead concentration in two avian sentinels, golden eagles and turkey vultures, within the condor range in California. We compared blood lead concentration in golden eagles and turkey vultures prior to the lead ammunition ban and one year following implementation of the ban. Lead exposure in both golden eagles and turkey vultures declined significantly post-ban. Our findings provide evidence that hunter compliance with lead ammunition regulations was sufficient to reduce lead exposure in predatory and scavenging birds at our study sites. PMID:21494329

  20. Aspergillus fumigatus infection in two wild Eurasian black vultures (Aegypius monachus Linnaeus) with carbofuran insecticide poisoning: a case report.

    PubMed

    Jung, Kwonil; Kim, Youngjun; Lee, Hang; Kim, Jong-Taek

    2009-02-01

    Aspergillus spp. are opportunistic pathogens which cause pulmonary aspergillosis in animals and humans with compromised immune systems. Two Eurasian black vultures (Aegypius monachus Linnaeus) were found dead or clinically ill from carbofuran insecticide during the winter of 2004. Carbofuran was detected in the stomach contents by gas chromatograph-mass spectrometry. Gross lesions showed severe granulomatous pneumonia and serofibrinous pleuropneumonia in both birds, with most lesions restricted to the pulmonary system. Histological lesions included pyogranulomatous pneumonia and suppurative parabronchiolitis/pleuritis/air sacculitis with a number of septated fungal hyphae, suggesting severe pulmonary aspergillosis. Fungal isolates from each vulture were identified as Aspergillus fumigatus by both lactophenol cotton blue staining and genetic analysis. This is the first report of pulmonary aspergillosis caused by A. fumigatus in wild Eurasian black vultures and suggests that Aspergillus infection could be an important cause of death in these birds which migrate from Mongolia to Korea during the winter. The incidence of the disease may be related to impaired immunity caused directly or indirectly by carbofuran poisoning.

  1. Food safety in scavenger conservation: Diet-associated exposure to livestock pharmaceuticals and opportunist mycoses in threatened Cinereous and Egyptian vultures.

    PubMed

    Blanco, Guillermo; Junza, Alexandra; Barrón, Dolores

    2017-01-01

    Pharmaceuticals from veterinary treatments may enter terrestrial food webs when medicated livestock are available to wildlife in supplementary feeding stations aimed at the conservation of endangered scavengers. Here, we hypothesized that the exposure risk to livestock fluoroquinolones, as indicators of pharmaceutical burden in food, is related to the variable reliance of scavengers on domestic versus wild animal carcasses. Since the misuse of broad-spectrum antibiotics is a major predisposing factor for opportunistic mycoses, we evaluated disease signs potentially associated with diet-dependent drug exposure in nestlings of two threatened vultures. A greater occurrence (100%, n=14) and concentration of fluoroquinolones (mean±SD=73.0±27.5µgL(-1), range=33.2-132.7), mostly enrofloxacin, were found in Cinereous vultures, Aegypius monachus, due to their greater dependence on livestock carcasses than Egyptian vultures, Neophron percnopterus (fluoroquinolones occurrence: 44%, n=16, concentration: 37.9±16.6µgL(-1), range=11.5-55.9), which rely much more on carcasses of wild animals (42% of remains vs. 23% in the cinereous vulture). The chaotic, chronic and pulsed ingestion of these drugs throughout nestling development is proposed as one of the most plausible explanations for the high occurrence and intensity of oral Candida-like lesions in nestling vultures. The high occurrence of fluoroquinolone residues and disease hindered the probing of a cause-effect relationship between both factors in individual vultures. This relationship could be evaluated through a population-based approach by sampling vultures not exposed to these drugs. The high dependence of vultures on domestic animals today compared to past decades and the growing intensification of livestock farming, imply an expected increase in the impact of pharmaceuticals on scavenger populations. This requires further evaluation due to potential consequences in biodiversity conservation and environmental health

  2. Characterization of an avianpox virus isolated from an Andean condor (Vultur gryphus).

    PubMed

    Kim, Tae-Joong; Schnitzlein, William M; McAloose, Denise; Pessier, Allan P; Tripathy, Deoki N

    2003-10-30

    A novel pox virus, condorpox virus (CPV) isolated from the spleen of an Andean condor (Vultur gryphus) by inoculation of chorioallantoic membranes (CAM) of specific pathogen free (SPF) chicken embryos was compared biologically, antigenically and genetically with fowlpox virus (FPV), the type species of the genus Avipoxvirus. Susceptible chickens inoculated with CPV developed only mild localized lesions but were not protected against subsequent challenge with FPV. Based on Western blotting, in addition to the presence of cross-reacting antigens, distinct differences in antigenic profiles of CPV and FPV were observed. Sequence analysis of a 4.5 kb HindIII fragment of CPV genomic DNA revealed the presence of eight co-linear genes corresponding to FPV open reading frame (ORF)193-198, 201 and 203. Interestingly, reticuloendotheliosis virus (REV) sequences present in the genome of all FPV were absent in CPV. Although, the results of a phylogenic analysis suggested that CPV is a member of the genus Avipoxvirus, its unique antigenic, biologic and genetic characteristics distinguish it from FPV to be considered as a new member of this genus.

  3. Long-term effects of lead poisoning on bone mineralization in vultures exposed to ammunition sources.

    PubMed

    Gangoso, Laura; Alvarez-Lloret, Pedro; Rodríguez-Navarro, Alejandro A B; Mateo, Rafael; Hiraldo, Fernando; Donázar, José Antonio

    2009-02-01

    Long-lived species are particularly susceptible to bioaccumulation of lead in bone tissues. In this paper we gain insights into the sublethal effects of lead contamination on Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus). Our approach was done on the comparison of two populations (Canary Islands and Iberian Peninsula) differing in exposures to the ingestion of lead ammunition. Blood lead levels were higher in the island population (Canary Islands range: 5.10-1780 microg L(-1) n=137; Iberian Peninsula range: 5.60-217.30 microg L(-1) n=32) showing clear seasonal trends, peaking during the hunting season. Moreover, males were more susceptible to lead accumulation than females. Bone lead concentration increased with age, reflecting a bioaccumulation effect. The bone composition was significatively altered by this contaminant: the mineralization degree decreased as lead concentration levels increased. These results demonstrate the existence of long-term effects of lead poisoning, which may be of importance in the declines of threatened populations of long-lived species exposed to this contaminant.

  4. Characterization of exo-s, exo-u, and alg virulence factors and antimicrobial resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated from migratory Egyptian vultures from India.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Pradeep; Faridi, Farah; Mir, Irfan A; Sharma, Sandeep K

    2014-01-01

    This study of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in fecal droppings of migratory Egyptian vultures (Neophron p. percnopterus) revealed eight positive samples (n=25) by a 16S rRNA gene-based PCR in two consecutive winter seasons. Disk diffusion sensitivity testing revealed three multiple antimicrobial resistant (MAR) isolates. Genotypic characterization showed mutually exclusive exo-s and exo-u virulence genes in five and three isolates, respectively, while the alg gene was present in all of the isolates. MAR isolates with virulence genes were detected in both seasons. The Egyptian vultures could potentially be vectors of pathogenic and MAR P. aeruginosa, thereby affecting regional control and preventive measures.

  5. Susceptibility to Infection and Immune Response in Insular and Continental Populations of Egyptian Vulture: Implications for Conservation

    PubMed Central

    Gangoso, Laura; Grande, Juan M.; Lemus, Jesús A.; Blanco, Guillermo; Grande, Javier; Donázar, José A.

    2009-01-01

    Background A generalized decline in populations of Old World avian scavengers is occurring on a global scale. The main cause of the observed crisis in continental populations of these birds should be looked for in the interaction between two factors - changes in livestock management, including the increased use of pharmaceutical products, and disease. Insular vertebrates seem to be especially susceptible to diseases induced by the arrival of exotic pathogens, a process often favored by human activities, and sedentary and highly dense insular scavengers populations may be thus especially exposed to infection by such pathogens. Here, we compare pathogen prevalence and immune response in insular and continental populations of the globally endangered Egyptian vulture under similar livestock management scenarios, but with different ecological and evolutionary perspectives. Methods/Principal Findings Adult, immature, and fledgling vultures from the Canary Islands and the Iberian Peninsula were sampled to determine a) the prevalence of seven pathogen taxa and b) their immunocompetence, as measured by monitoring techniques (white blood cells counts and immunoglobulins). In the Canarian population, pathogen prevalence was higher and, in addition, an association among pathogens was apparent, contrary to the situation detected in continental populations. Despite that, insular fledglings showed lower leukocyte profiles than continental birds and Canarian fledglings infected by Chlamydophila psittaci showed poorer cellular immune response. Conclusions/Significance A combination of environmental and ecological factors may contribute to explain the high susceptibility to infection found in insular vultures. The scenario described here may be similar in other insular systems where populations of carrion-eaters are in strong decline and are seriously threatened. Higher susceptibility to infection may be a further factor contributing decisively to the extinction of island scavengers

  6. Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) in Ecuador: Geographic Distribution, Population Size and Extinction Risk

    PubMed Central

    Naveda-Rodríguez, Adrián; Vargas, Félix Hernán; Kohn, Sebastián; Zapata-Ríos, Galo

    2016-01-01

    The Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) in Ecuador is classified as Critically Endangered. Before 2015, standardized and systematic estimates of geographic distribution, population size and structure were not available for this species, hampering the assessment of its current status and hindering the design and implementation of effective conservation actions. In this study, we performed the first quantitative assessment of geographic distribution, population size and population viability of Andean Condor in Ecuador. We used a methodological approach that included an ecological niche model to study geographic distribution, a simultaneous survey of 70 roosting sites to estimate population size and a population viability analysis (PVA) for the next 100 years. Geographic distribution in the form of extent of occurrence was 49 725 km2. During a two-day census, 93 Andean Condors were recorded and a population of 94 to 102 individuals was estimated. In this population, adult-to-immature ratio was 1:0.5. In the modeled PVA scenarios, the probability of extinction, mean time to extinction and minimum population size varied from zero to 100%, 63 years and 193 individuals, respectively. Habitat loss is the greatest threat to the conservation of Andean Condor populations in Ecuador. Population size reduction in scenarios that included habitat loss began within the first 15 years of this threat. Population reinforcement had no effects on the recovery of Andean Condor populations given the current status of the species in Ecuador. The population size estimate presented in this study is the lower than those reported previously in other countries where the species occur. The inferences derived from the population viability analysis have implications for Condor management in Ecuador. This study highlights the need to redirect efforts from captive breeding and population reinforcement to habitat conservation. PMID:26986004

  7. Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) in Ecuador: Geographic Distribution, Population Size and Extinction Risk.

    PubMed

    Naveda-Rodríguez, Adrián; Vargas, Félix Hernán; Kohn, Sebastián; Zapata-Ríos, Galo

    2016-01-01

    The Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) in Ecuador is classified as Critically Endangered. Before 2015, standardized and systematic estimates of geographic distribution, population size and structure were not available for this species, hampering the assessment of its current status and hindering the design and implementation of effective conservation actions. In this study, we performed the first quantitative assessment of geographic distribution, population size and population viability of Andean Condor in Ecuador. We used a methodological approach that included an ecological niche model to study geographic distribution, a simultaneous survey of 70 roosting sites to estimate population size and a population viability analysis (PVA) for the next 100 years. Geographic distribution in the form of extent of occurrence was 49 725 km2. During a two-day census, 93 Andean Condors were recorded and a population of 94 to 102 individuals was estimated. In this population, adult-to-immature ratio was 1:0.5. In the modeled PVA scenarios, the probability of extinction, mean time to extinction and minimum population size varied from zero to 100%, 63 years and 193 individuals, respectively. Habitat loss is the greatest threat to the conservation of Andean Condor populations in Ecuador. Population size reduction in scenarios that included habitat loss began within the first 15 years of this threat. Population reinforcement had no effects on the recovery of Andean Condor populations given the current status of the species in Ecuador. The population size estimate presented in this study is the lower than those reported previously in other countries where the species occur. The inferences derived from the population viability analysis have implications for Condor management in Ecuador. This study highlights the need to redirect efforts from captive breeding and population reinforcement to habitat conservation.

  8. Electrocardiography in conscious releasable Andean condors (Vultur gryphus): reference panel and unusual findings.

    PubMed

    Wiemeyer, Guillermo M; Lambertucci, Sergio A; Bianchini, Laura Torres; Belerenian, Guillermo

    2013-01-01

    Electrocardiography is a useful tool when included in healthcare protocols and is increasingly utilized for monitoring wild birds. However, the lack of reference data for many species is limiting the clinical value of this technique. In this study 26 Andean condors (Vultur gryphus) coming from rehabilitation and captive breeding programs were examined to determine electrocardiographic references prior to being released. Standard bipolar (I, II, and III) and augmented unipolar limb (aVR, aVL, and aVF) leads were recorded with birds under physical restraint. Five beats were analyzed on Lead II at 50 mm/sec and 1 cm = 1 mV to determine QRS complex morphology, cardiac rhythm, heart rate, P, PR, R, S, QRS, T, QT, and ST amplitude and/or duration. P and T wave configuration was determined for all leads, and Mean Electrical Axis (MEA) in the frontal plane was determined using leads I and III. Cardiac rhythm corresponded to regular sinus rhythm in 42% of the birds, with a relevant rate of sinus arrhythmia in 58%, and rS as the most common pattern (42%) for QRS complex in lead II. We found an influence of age and heart rate but not of sex on several ECG waves and intervals. Relevant ECG findings for studied Andean condors include a high rate of T(a), R', and U wave detection. Waves T(a) and R' were considered non-pathological, while the significance of U waves remains unclear. Our results provide a useful reference to improve clinical interpretation of full electrocardiographic examination in Andean condors.

  9. Differential range use between age classes of southern African Bearded Vultures Gypaetus barbatus.

    PubMed

    Krüger, Sonja; Reid, Timothy; Amar, Arjun

    2014-01-01

    Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus movements were investigated in southern Africa to determine whether an individual's age, sex or breeding status influenced its ranging behaviour and to provide the information required to guide conservation activities. Data from satellite transmitters fitted to 18 individuals of four age classes were used to determine range size and use. Because of the nature of the movements of marked individuals, these data could be used to determine the overall foraging range of the entire population, which was estimated to be 51 767 km(2). Although juvenile, immature and sub-adult birds used different parts of the overall range, their combined foraging range was 65% (33 636 km(2)) of the overall range. Average adult home ranges (286 km(2)) were only around 1% the size of the average foraging ranges of non-adults (10 540 -25 985 km(2)), with those of breeding adults being even smaller (95 km(2)). Home ranges of breeding adults did not vary in size between seasons but adults utilized their home range more intensively whilst breeding, moving greater distances during the incubation and chick hatching period. Range size and use increased as non-adults aged. Immatures and sub-adults had larger range sizes during winter, but range use of non-adults did not vary seasonally. Range size and use did not differ between the sexes in any of the age classes. Information on home range size and use enables specific areas within the species' range to be targeted for management planning, education and conservation action.

  10. Differential Range Use between Age Classes of Southern African Bearded Vultures Gypaetus barbatus

    PubMed Central

    Krüger, Sonja; Reid, Timothy; Amar, Arjun

    2014-01-01

    Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus movements were investigated in southern Africa to determine whether an individual's age, sex or breeding status influenced its ranging behaviour and to provide the information required to guide conservation activities. Data from satellite transmitters fitted to 18 individuals of four age classes were used to determine range size and use. Because of the nature of the movements of marked individuals, these data could be used to determine the overall foraging range of the entire population, which was estimated to be 51 767 km2. Although juvenile, immature and sub-adult birds used different parts of the overall range, their combined foraging range was 65% (33 636 km2) of the overall range. Average adult home ranges (286 km2) were only around 1% the size of the average foraging ranges of non-adults (10 540 –25 985 km2), with those of breeding adults being even smaller (95 km2). Home ranges of breeding adults did not vary in size between seasons but adults utilized their home range more intensively whilst breeding, moving greater distances during the incubation and chick hatching period. Range size and use increased as non-adults aged. Immatures and sub-adults had larger range sizes during winter, but range use of non-adults did not vary seasonally. Range size and use did not differ between the sexes in any of the age classes. Information on home range size and use enables specific areas within the species' range to be targeted for management planning, education and conservation action. PMID:25551614

  11. Mycoplasma neophronis sp. nov., isolated from the upper respiratory tract of Canarian Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus majorensis).

    PubMed

    Suárez-Pérez, A; Ramírez, A S; Rosales, R S; Calabuig, P; Poveda, C; Rosselló-Móra, R; Nicholas, R A J; Poveda, J B

    2012-06-01

    Six strains with the typical characteristics of mycoplasmas were isolated from the tracheae of six Canarian Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus majorensis). The results of biochemical, serological and molecular genetic studies showed that the isolates were nearly identical and that they could be considered as representing a novel species of the genus Mycoplasma. Colonies possessed the typical fried-egg appearance and electron micrographs revealed a pleomorphic cellular morphology with the lack of a cell wall. The isolates hydrolysed arginine and required sterol for growth but did not ferment glucose or hydrolyse urea. We propose that the isolates be assigned to a novel species,Mycoplasma neophronis sp. nov. The type strain is G.A.(T) ( = DSM 24097(T) = ATCC BAA-2157(T)). The antiserum of strain G.A.(T) has been deposited in the Mollicutes collection at Purdue University (Indiana, USA).

  12. Uneven large-scale movement patterns in wild and reintroduced pre-adult bearded vultures: conservation implications.

    PubMed

    Margalida, Antoni; Carrete, Martina; Hegglin, Daniel; Serrano, David; Arenas, Rafael; Donázar, José A

    2013-01-01

    After the quasi-extinction of much of the European vertebrate megafauna during the last few centuries, many reintroduction projects seek to restore decimated populations. However, the future of numerous species depends on the management scenarios of metapopulations where the flow of individuals can be critical to ensure their viability. This is the case of the bearded vulture Gypaetus barbatus, an Old World, large body-sized and long-lived scavenger living in mountain ranges. Although persecution in Western Europe restrained it to the Pyrenees, the species is nowadays present in other mountains thanks to reintroduction projects. We examined the movement patterns of pre-adult non-breeding individuals born in the wild population of the Pyrenees (n = 9) and in the reintroduced populations of the Alps (n = 24) and Andalusia (n = 13). Most birds were equipped with GPS-GSM radio transmitters, which allowed accurate determination of individual dispersal patterns. Two estimators were considered: i) step length (i.e., the distance travelled per day by each individual, calculated considering only successive days); and ii) total dispersal distance (i.e., the distance travelled between each mean daily location and the point of release). Both dispersal estimators showed a positive relationship with age but were also highly dependent on the source population, birds in Andalusia and Alps moving farther than in Pyrenees. Future research should confirm if differences in dispersal distances are the rule, in which case the dynamics of future populations would be strongly influenced. In summary, our findings highlight that inter-population differences can affect the flow of individuals among patches (a key aspect to ensure the viability of the European metapopulation of the endangered bearded vulture), and thus should be taken into account when planning reintroduction programs. This result also raises questions about whether similar scenarios may occur in other restoration

  13. Uneven Large-Scale Movement Patterns in Wild and Reintroduced Pre-Adult Bearded Vultures: Conservation Implications

    PubMed Central

    Margalida, Antoni; Carrete, Martina; Hegglin, Daniel; Serrano, David; Arenas, Rafael; Donázar, José A.

    2013-01-01

    After the quasi-extinction of much of the European vertebrate megafauna during the last few centuries, many reintroduction projects seek to restore decimated populations. However, the future of numerous species depends on the management scenarios of metapopulations where the flow of individuals can be critical to ensure their viability. This is the case of the bearded vulture Gypaetus barbatus, an Old World, large body-sized and long-lived scavenger living in mountain ranges. Although persecution in Western Europe restrained it to the Pyrenees, the species is nowadays present in other mountains thanks to reintroduction projects. We examined the movement patterns of pre-adult non-breeding individuals born in the wild population of the Pyrenees (n = 9) and in the reintroduced populations of the Alps (n = 24) and Andalusia (n = 13). Most birds were equipped with GPS-GSM radio transmitters, which allowed accurate determination of individual dispersal patterns. Two estimators were considered: i) step length (i.e., the distance travelled per day by each individual, calculated considering only successive days); and ii) total dispersal distance (i.e., the distance travelled between each mean daily location and the point of release). Both dispersal estimators showed a positive relationship with age but were also highly dependent on the source population, birds in Andalusia and Alps moving farther than in Pyrenees. Future research should confirm if differences in dispersal distances are the rule, in which case the dynamics of future populations would be strongly influenced. In summary, our findings highlight that inter-population differences can affect the flow of individuals among patches (a key aspect to ensure the viability of the European metapopulation of the endangered bearded vulture), and thus should be taken into account when planning reintroduction programs. This result also raises questions about whether similar scenarios may occur in other restoration

  14. Pathologic bone tissues in a Turkey vulture and a nonavian dinosaur: implications for interpreting endosteal bone and radial fibrolamellar bone in fossil dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Chinsamy, Anusuya; Tumarkin-Deratzian, Allison

    2009-09-01

    We report on similar pathological bone microstructure in an extant turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) and a nonavian dinosaur from Transylvania. Both these individuals exhibit distinctive periosteal reactive bone deposition accompanied by endosteal bone deposits in the medullary cavity. Our findings have direct implications on the two novel bone tissues recently described among nonavian dinosaurs, radial fibrolamellar bone tissue and medullary bone tissue. On the basis of the observed morphology of the periosteal reactive bone in the turkey vulture and the Transylvanian dinosaur, we propose that the radial fibrolamellar bone tissues observed in mature dinosaurs may have had a pathological origin. Our analysis also shows that on the basis of origin, location, and morphology, pathologically derived endosteal bone tissue can be similar to medullary bone tissues described in nonavian dinosaurs. As such, we caution the interpretation of all endosteally derived bone tissue as homologous to avian medullary bone.

  15. A balanced solution to the cumulative threat of industrialized wind farm development on cinereous vultures (Aegypius monachus) in south-eastern Europe.

    PubMed

    Vasilakis, Dimitris P; Whitfield, D Philip; Kati, Vassiliki

    2017-01-01

    Wind farm development can combat climate change but may also threaten bird populations' persistence through collision with wind turbine blades if such development is improperly planned strategically and cumulatively. Such improper planning may often occur. Numerous wind farms are planned in a region hosting the only cinereous vulture population in south-eastern Europe. We combined range use modelling and a Collision Risk Model (CRM) to predict the cumulative collision mortality for cinereous vulture under all operating and proposed wind farms. Four different vulture avoidance rates were considered in the CRM. Cumulative collision mortality was expected to be eight to ten times greater in the future (proposed and operating wind farms) than currently (operating wind farms), equivalent to 44% of the current population (103 individuals) if all proposals are authorized (2744 MW). Even under the most optimistic scenario whereby authorized proposals will not collectively exceed the national target for wind harnessing in the study area (960 MW), cumulative collision mortality would still be high (17% of current population) and likely lead to population extinction. Under any wind farm proposal scenario, over 92% of expected deaths would occur in the core area of the population, further implying inadequate spatial planning and implementation of relevant European legislation with scant regard for governmental obligations to protect key species. On the basis of a sensitivity map we derive a spatially explicit solution that could meet the national target of wind harnessing with a minimum conservation cost of less than 1% population loss providing that the population mortality (5.2%) caused by the operating wind farms in the core area would be totally mitigated. Under other scenarios, the vulture population would probably be at serious risk of extinction. Our 'win-win' approach is appropriate to other potential conflicts where wind farms may cumulatively threaten wildlife

  16. A balanced solution to the cumulative threat of industrialized wind farm development on cinereous vultures (Aegypius monachus) in south-eastern Europe

    PubMed Central

    Whitfield, D. Philip; Kati, Vassiliki

    2017-01-01

    Wind farm development can combat climate change but may also threaten bird populations’ persistence through collision with wind turbine blades if such development is improperly planned strategically and cumulatively. Such improper planning may often occur. Numerous wind farms are planned in a region hosting the only cinereous vulture population in south-eastern Europe. We combined range use modelling and a Collision Risk Model (CRM) to predict the cumulative collision mortality for cinereous vulture under all operating and proposed wind farms. Four different vulture avoidance rates were considered in the CRM. Cumulative collision mortality was expected to be eight to ten times greater in the future (proposed and operating wind farms) than currently (operating wind farms), equivalent to 44% of the current population (103 individuals) if all proposals are authorized (2744 MW). Even under the most optimistic scenario whereby authorized proposals will not collectively exceed the national target for wind harnessing in the study area (960 MW), cumulative collision mortality would still be high (17% of current population) and likely lead to population extinction. Under any wind farm proposal scenario, over 92% of expected deaths would occur in the core area of the population, further implying inadequate spatial planning and implementation of relevant European legislation with scant regard for governmental obligations to protect key species. On the basis of a sensitivity map we derive a spatially explicit solution that could meet the national target of wind harnessing with a minimum conservation cost of less than 1% population loss providing that the population mortality (5.2%) caused by the operating wind farms in the core area would be totally mitigated. Under other scenarios, the vulture population would probably be at serious risk of extinction. Our ‘win-win’ approach is appropriate to other potential conflicts where wind farms may cumulatively threaten wildlife

  17. Decision-making by a soaring bird: time, energy and risk considerations at different spatio-temporal scales.

    PubMed

    Harel, Roi; Duriez, Olivier; Spiegel, Orr; Fluhr, Julie; Horvitz, Nir; Getz, Wayne M; Bouten, Willem; Sarrazin, François; Hatzofe, Ohad; Nathan, Ran

    2016-09-26

    Natural selection theory suggests that mobile animals trade off time, energy and risk costs with food, safety and other pay-offs obtained by movement. We examined how birds make movement decisions by integrating aspects of flight biomechanics, movement ecology and behaviour in a hierarchical framework investigating flight track variation across several spatio-temporal scales. Using extensive global positioning system and accelerometer data from Eurasian griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) in Israel and France, we examined soaring-gliding decision-making by comparing inbound versus outbound flights (to or from a central roost, respectively), and these (and other) home-range foraging movements (up to 300 km) versus long-range movements (longer than 300 km). We found that long-range movements and inbound flights have similar features compared with their counterparts: individuals reduced journey time by performing more efficient soaring-gliding flight, reduced energy expenditure by flapping less and were more risk-prone by gliding more steeply between thermals. Age, breeding status, wind conditions and flight altitude (but not sex) affected time and energy prioritization during flights. We therefore suggest that individuals facing time, energy and risk trade-offs during movements make similar decisions across a broad range of ecological contexts and spatial scales, presumably owing to similarity in the uncertainty about movement outcomes.This article is part of the themed issue 'Moving in a moving medium: new perspectives on flight'.

  18. Active adaptive management for reintroduction of an animal population

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Runge, Michael C.

    2013-01-01

    Captive animals are frequently reintroduced to the wild in the face of uncertainty, but that uncertainty can often be reduced over the course of the reintroduction effort, providing the opportunity for adaptive management. One common uncertainty in reintroductions is the short-term survival rate of released adults (a release cost), an important factor because it can affect whether releasing adults or juveniles is better. Information about this rate can improve the success of the reintroduction program, but does the expected gain offset the costs of obtaining the information? I explored this question for reintroduction of the griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) by framing the management question as a belief Markov decision process, characterizing uncertainty about release cost with 2 information state variables, and finding the solution using stochastic dynamic programming. For a reintroduction program of fixed length (e.g., 5 years of releases), the optimal policy in the final release year resembles the deterministic solution: release either all adults or all juveniles depending on whether the point estimate for the survival rate in question is above or below a specific threshold. But the optimal policy in the earlier release years 1) includes release of a mixture of juveniles and adults under some circumstances, and 2) recommends release of adults even when the point estimate of survival is much less than the deterministic threshold. These results show that in an iterated decision setting, the optimal decision in early years can be quite different from that in later years because of the value of learning. 

  19. The HD-GYP domain of RpfG mediates a direct linkage between the Rpf quorum-sensing pathway and a subset of diguanylate cyclase proteins in the phytopathogen Xanthomonas axonopodis pv citri.

    PubMed

    Andrade, Maxuel O; Alegria, Marcos Castanheira; Guzzo, Cristiane R; Docena, Cassia; Rosa, Maria Claudia Pareda; Ramos, Carlos H I; Farah, Chuck S

    2006-10-01

    Bacteria use extracellular levels of small diffusible autoinducers to estimate local cell-density (quorum-sensing) and to regulate complex physiological processes. The quorum-sensing signal transduction pathway of Xanthomonas spp. phytopathogens has special features that distinguish it from that of other pathogens. This pathway consists of RpfF, necessary for the production of the unique autoinducer 'diffusible signalling factor' (DSF), and RpfC and RpfG, a two-component system necessary for the DSF-dependent production of extracellular pathogenicity factors and cellular dispersion. Yeast two-hybrid and direct in vitro assays were used to identify interactions involving the Rpf group of proteins. We show that RpfC, a protein consisting of N-terminal transmembrane, histidine kinase, response-regulator and C-terminal histidine phosphotransfer domains interacts with both RpfG, a protein consisting of an N-terminal response regulator domain and a C-terminal HD-GYP domain, and with RpfF. We also show that RpfC interacts with the only known homologue of 'conditioned medium factor', which is involved in quorum-sensing in Dictyostelium discoideum under conditions of nutritional stress. Furthermore, RpfCG is shown to interact with a second two-component system made up of NtrB and NtrC homologues. Finally we show that the recently characterized HD-GYP phosphodiesterase domain of RpfG interacts directly with diguanylate cyclase GGDEF domain-containing proteins coded by the Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. citri genome, which in other bacteria produce cyclic diGMP, an important second messenger involved in the regulation of complex bacterial processes including biofilm production, virulence and motility. These results demonstrate a direct physical linkage between quorum-sensing and cyclic diGMP signalling pathways in bacteria.

  20. Age-Related Relationships between Innate Immunity and Plasma Carotenoids in an Obligate Avian Scavenger

    PubMed Central

    López-Rull, Isabel; Hornero-Méndez, Dámaso; Frías, Óscar; Blanco, Guillermo

    2015-01-01

    Variation in immunity is influenced by allocation trade-offs that are expected to change between age-classes as a result of the different environmental and physiological conditions that individuals encounter over their lifetime. One such trade-off occurs with carotenoids, which must be acquired with food and are involved in a variety of physiological functions. Nonetheless, relationships between immunity and carotenoids in species where these micronutrients are scarce due to diet are poorly studied. Among birds, vultures show the lowest concentrations of plasma carotenoids due to a diet based on carrion. Here, we investigated variations in the relationships between innate immunity (hemagglutination by natural antibodies and hemolysis by complement proteins), pathogen infection and plasma carotenoids in nestling and adult griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) in the wild. Nestlings showed lower hemolysis, higher total carotenoid concentration and higher pathogen infection than adults. Hemolysis was negatively related to carotenoid concentration only in nestlings. A differential carotenoid allocation to immunity due to the incomplete development of the immune system of nestlings compared with adults is suggested linked to, or regardless of, potential differences in parasite infection, which requires experimental testing. We also found that individuals with more severe pathogen infections showed lower hemagglutination than those with a lower intensity infection irrespective of their age and carotenoid level. These results are consistent with the idea that intraspecific relationships between innate immunity and carotenoids may change across ontogeny, even in species lacking carotenoid-based coloration. Thus, even low concentrations of plasma carotenoids due to a scavenger diet can be essential to the development and activation of the immune system in growing birds. PMID:26544885

  1. Multidrug-resistant Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium Monophasic Variant 4,12:i:- Isolated from Asymptomatic Wildlife in a Catalonian Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Spain.

    PubMed

    Molina-López, Rafael A; Vidal, Anna; Obón, Elena; Martín, Marga; Darwich, Laila

    2015-07-01

    Wildlife can act as long-term asymptomatic reservoirs for zoonotic bacteria, such as Salmonella. The prevalence and antimicrobial-susceptibility profiles of Salmonella spp. were assessed in 263 cases in wildlife from 22 animal orders from a wildlife rehabilitation center in Catalonia (NE Spain), September 2013-May 2014. Eleven of 263 tested animals were positive for Salmonella spp., representing an overall prevalence of 4.2%. Prevalences by taxonomic categories were 2% in mammals, 4.7% in birds, and 4.5% in reptiles. By species, one each of European hedgehog (Erinaceus europeus; from a sample of n = 26), Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo; n = 2), Barn Owl (Tyto alba; n = 3), Tawny Owl (Strix aluco; n = 20), Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus; n = 1), Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus; n = 1), and Hoopoe (Upupa epops; n = 2), and two each Common Kestrels (Falco tinnunculus; n = 16) and pond sliders (Trachemys scripta; n = 25) were positive for Salmonella. By serotyping, seven of eleven isolates were classified as S. enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium, and five of seven belonged to the monophasic variant 4,12:i:-. All the monophasic variants were isolated from birds (4/5 in raptors) and showed a multidrug-resistance (MDR) profile to at least ampicillin, streptomycin, sulfonamide, and tetracycline (R-type ASSuT), and up to 12 antibiotics. The large proportion of S. Typhimurium monophasic MDR strains detected in wildlife never treated with antibiotics, especially in raptors, adds more complexity to the epidemiologic control of one of the most frequent serovars involved in human and livestock infection.

  2. Wild Birds, Frequent Carriers of Extended-Spectrum β-Lactamase (ESBL) Producing Escherichia coli of CTX-M and SHV-12 Types.

    PubMed

    Alcalá, Leticia; Alonso, Carla Andrea; Simón, Carmen; González-Esteban, Chabier; Orós, Jesús; Rezusta, Antonio; Ortega, Carmelo; Torres, Carmen

    2016-11-01

    To get a better insight into the role of birds as reservoirs of extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) and plasmidic AmpC β-lactamase (pAmpC) Escherichia coli producers, 100 fecal samples belonging to 15 different wild avian species from Northern Spain were analyzed. Cefotaxime-resistant (CTX(R)) E. coli isolates were identified in 16 of the 100 tested birds, which corresponded to 9 animal species (Gyps fulvus-griffon vulture, Larus michahellis-yellow-legged gull, Milvus migrans-black kite, Milvus milvus-red kite, Ciconia ciconia-white stork, Sturnus unicolor-spotless starling, Aquila chrysaetos-golden eagle, Cuculus canorus-common cuckoo, Tyto alba-barn owl). Fifteen isolates harbored ESBL or pAmpC-encoding genes (number of isolates): bla SHV-12 (9), bla CTX-M-1 (3), bla CTX-M-14 (2), and bla CMY-2 (1). The last CTX(R) isolate presented a -42-point-mutation in the chromosomal ampC promoter. Eleven out of 15 ESBL/pAmpC E. coli isolates were multiresistant (most common resistance phenotype: β-lactams-quinolones-tetracycline-sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim). A plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance determinant (qnrS1) was identified in one E. coli from a barn owl. High genetic diversity was observed among ESBL/pAmpC E. coli isolates, with 12 different sequence types (STs), including several strains of STs frequently detected among human clinical isolates (ST38/D, ST131/B2, ST155/B1, ST10/A). The ST131 isolate belonged to the emergent ciprofloxacin-resistant H30R subclone. This study reveals a high percentage of bird as carriers of ESBL/pAmpC E. coli isolates in Spain, highlighting the elevated rate among storks, kites, and vultures. Wild birds can contribute to the global spread of ESBL/pAmpC-producing E. coli in natural ecosystems.

  3. Age-Related Relationships between Innate Immunity and Plasma Carotenoids in an Obligate Avian Scavenger.

    PubMed

    López-Rull, Isabel; Hornero-Méndez, Dámaso; Frías, Óscar; Blanco, Guillermo

    2015-01-01

    Variation in immunity is influenced by allocation trade-offs that are expected to change between age-classes as a result of the different environmental and physiological conditions that individuals encounter over their lifetime. One such trade-off occurs with carotenoids, which must be acquired with food and are involved in a variety of physiological functions. Nonetheless, relationships between immunity and carotenoids in species where these micronutrients are scarce due to diet are poorly studied. Among birds, vultures show the lowest concentrations of plasma carotenoids due to a diet based on carrion. Here, we investigated variations in the relationships between innate immunity (hemagglutination by natural antibodies and hemolysis by complement proteins), pathogen infection and plasma carotenoids in nestling and adult griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) in the wild. Nestlings showed lower hemolysis, higher total carotenoid concentration and higher pathogen infection than adults. Hemolysis was negatively related to carotenoid concentration only in nestlings. A differential carotenoid allocation to immunity due to the incomplete development of the immune system of nestlings compared with adults is suggested linked to, or regardless of, potential differences in parasite infection, which requires experimental testing. We also found that individuals with more severe pathogen infections showed lower hemagglutination than those with a lower intensity infection irrespective of their age and carotenoid level. These results are consistent with the idea that intraspecific relationships between innate immunity and carotenoids may change across ontogeny, even in species lacking carotenoid-based coloration. Thus, even low concentrations of plasma carotenoids due to a scavenger diet can be essential to the development and activation of the immune system in growing birds.

  4. Seropositivity and risk factors associated with Toxoplasma gondii infection in wild birds from Spain.

    PubMed

    Cabezón, Oscar; García-Bocanegra, Ignacio; Molina-López, Rafael; Marco, Ignasi; Blanco, Juan M; Höfle, Ursula; Margalida, Antoni; Bach-Raich, Esther; Darwich, Laila; Echeverría, Israel; Obón, Elena; Hernández, Mauro; Lavín, Santiago; Dubey, Jitender P; Almería, Sonia

    2011-01-01

    Toxoplasma gondii is a zoonotic intracellular protozoan parasite of worldwide distribution that infects many species of warm-blooded animals, including birds. To date, there is scant information about the seropositivity of T. gondii and the risk factors associated with T. gondii infection in wild bird populations. In the present study, T. gondii infection was evaluated on sera obtained from 1079 wild birds belonging to 56 species (including Falconiformes (n=610), Strigiformes (n=260), Ciconiiformes (n=156), Gruiformes (n=21), and other orders (n=32), from different areas of Spain. Antibodies to T. gondii (modified agglutination test, MAT titer ≥1:25) were found in 282 (26.1%, IC(95%:)23.5-28.7) of the 1079 birds. This study constitute the first extensive survey in wild birds species in Spain and reports for the first time T. gondii antibodies in the griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus), short-toed snake-eagle (Circaetus gallicus), Bonelli's eagle (Aquila fasciata), golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Montagu's harrier (Circus pygargus), Western marsh-harrier (Circus aeruginosus), peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), long-eared owl (Asio otus), common scops owl (Otus scops), Eurasian spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), white stork (Ciconia ciconia), grey heron (Ardea cinerea), common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus); in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) "vulnerable" Spanish imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti), lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) and great bustard (Otis tarda); and in the IUCN "near threatened" red kite (Milvus milvus). The highest seropositivity by species was observed in the Eurasian eagle owl (Bubo bubo) (68.1%, 98 of 144). The main risk factors associated with T. gondii seropositivity in wild birds were age and diet, with the highest exposure in older animals and in carnivorous wild birds. The results showed that T. gondii infection is widespread and can be at a high level in

  5. Sex determination in the wild: a field application of loop-mediated isothermal amplification successfully determines sex across three raptor species.

    PubMed

    Centeno-Cuadros, A; Abbasi, I; Nathan, R

    2017-03-01

    PCR-based methods are the most common technique for sex determination of birds. Although these methods are fast, easy and accurate, they still require special facilities that preclude their application outdoors. Consequently, there is a time lag between sampling and obtaining results that impedes researchers to take decisions in situ and in real time considering individuals' sex. We present an outdoor technique for sex determination of birds based on the amplification of the duplicated sex-chromosome-specific gene Chromo-Helicase-DNA binding protein using a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP). We tested our method on Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus), Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) and Black Kite (Milvus migrans) (family Accipitridae). We introduce the first fieldwork procedure for sex determination of animals in the wild, successfully applied to raptor species of three different subfamilies using the same specific LAMP primers. This molecular technique can be deployed directly in sampling areas because it only needs a voltage inverter to adapt a thermo-block to a car lighter and results can be obtained by the unaided eye based on colour change within the reaction tubes. Primers and reagents are prepared in advance to facilitate their storage at room temperature. We provide detailed guidelines how to implement this procedure, which is simpler (no electrophoresis required), cheaper and faster (results in c. 90 min) than PCR-based laboratory methods. Our successful cross-species application across three different raptor subfamilies posits our set of markers as a promising tool for molecular sexing of other raptor families and our field protocol extensible to all bird species.

  6. Vultures of the seas: hyperacidic stomachs in wandering albatrosses as an adaptation to dispersed food resources, including fishery wastes.

    PubMed

    Grémillet, David; Prudor, Aurélien; le Maho, Yvon; Weimerskirch, Henri

    2012-01-01

    Animals are primarily limited by their capacity to acquire food, yet digestive performance also conditions energy acquisition, and ultimately fitness. Optimal foraging theory predicts that organisms feeding on patchy resources should maximize their food loads within each patch, and should digest these loads quickly to minimize travelling costs between food patches. We tested the prediction of high digestive performance in wandering albatrosses, which can ingest prey of up to 3 kg, and feed on highly dispersed food resources across the southern ocean. GPS-tracking of 40 wandering albatrosses from the Crozet archipelago during the incubation phase confirmed foraging movements of between 475-4705 km, which give birds access to a variety of prey, including fishery wastes. Moreover, using miniaturized, autonomous data recorders placed in the stomach of three birds, we performed the first-ever measurements of gastric pH and temperature in procellariformes. These revealed surprisingly low pH levels (average 1.50±0.13), markedly lower than in other seabirds, and comparable to those of vultures feeding on carrion. Such low stomach pH gives wandering albatrosses a strategic advantage since it allows them a rapid chemical breakdown of ingested food and therefore a rapid digestion. This is useful for feeding on patchy, natural prey, but also on fishery wastes, which might be an important additional food resource for wandering albatrosses.

  7. Misleading Population Estimates: Biases and Consistency of Visual Surveys and Matrix Modelling in the Endangered Bearded Vulture

    PubMed Central

    Margalida, Antoni; Oro, Daniel; Cortés-Avizanda, Ainara; Heredia, Rafael; Donázar, José A.

    2011-01-01

    Conservation strategies for long-lived vertebrates require accurate estimates of parameters relative to the populations' size, numbers of non-breeding individuals (the “cryptic” fraction of the population) and the age structure. Frequently, visual survey techniques are used to make these estimates but the accuracy of these approaches is questionable, mainly because of the existence of numerous potential biases. Here we compare data on population trends and age structure in a bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) population from visual surveys performed at supplementary feeding stations with data derived from population matrix-modelling approximations. Our results suggest that visual surveys overestimate the number of immature (<2 years old) birds, whereas subadults (3–5 y.o.) and adults (>6 y.o.) were underestimated in comparison with the predictions of a population model using a stable-age distribution. In addition, we found that visual surveys did not provide conclusive information on true variations in the size of the focal population. Our results suggest that although long-term studies (i.e. population matrix modelling based on capture-recapture procedures) are a more time-consuming method, they provide more reliable and robust estimates of population parameters needed in designing and applying conservation strategies. The findings shown here are likely transferable to the management and conservation of other long-lived vertebrate populations that share similar life-history traits and ecological requirements. PMID:22039550

  8. Vultures of the Seas: Hyperacidic Stomachs in Wandering Albatrosses as an Adaptation to Dispersed Food Resources, including Fishery Wastes

    PubMed Central

    Grémillet, David; Prudor, Aurélien; le Maho, Yvon; Weimerskirch, Henri

    2012-01-01

    Animals are primarily limited by their capacity to acquire food, yet digestive performance also conditions energy acquisition, and ultimately fitness. Optimal foraging theory predicts that organisms feeding on patchy resources should maximize their food loads within each patch, and should digest these loads quickly to minimize travelling costs between food patches. We tested the prediction of high digestive performance in wandering albatrosses, which can ingest prey of up to 3 kg, and feed on highly dispersed food resources across the southern ocean. GPS-tracking of 40 wandering albatrosses from the Crozet archipelago during the incubation phase confirmed foraging movements of between 475–4705 km, which give birds access to a variety of prey, including fishery wastes. Moreover, using miniaturized, autonomous data recorders placed in the stomach of three birds, we performed the first-ever measurements of gastric pH and temperature in procellariformes. These revealed surprisingly low pH levels (average 1.50±0.13), markedly lower than in other seabirds, and comparable to those of vultures feeding on carrion. Such low stomach pH gives wandering albatrosses a strategic advantage since it allows them a rapid chemical breakdown of ingested food and therefore a rapid digestion. This is useful for feeding on patchy, natural prey, but also on fishery wastes, which might be an important additional food resource for wandering albatrosses. PMID:22701581

  9. Who Are We Feeding? Asymmetric Individual Use of Surplus Food Resources in an Insular Population of the Endangered Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus

    PubMed Central

    García-Heras, Marie-Sophie; Cortés-Avizanda, Ainara; Donázar, José-Antonio

    2013-01-01

    Supplementary feeding stations, or “vulture restaurants”, are common conservation management tools. While a number of studies have investigated the consequences of surplus food on the population dynamics of scavengers, relatively little is known about the effects of such practices at the individual level. Within the long-term monitored breeding population of Canarian Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus majorensis) we investigated individual bird’s patterns of use of a supplementary feeding station at Fuerteventura (Canary Islands), over the course of breeding (2001, 2002; 2004-2011) and non-breeding seasons (2000-2010). Our results show that during the breeding season the individual use of the supplementary feeding station was inversely related to the distance to the breeding territory, which suggests the existence of central-place foraging constraints. In addition, larger birds of poor body-condition and individuals that ultimately failed to fledge young were detected more frequently at the feeding station. During the non-breeding season, and because most breeding birds abandoned the breeding territories, the overall abundance of Egyptian vultures at the feeding station grew. Moreover, the only variable increasing the probability of presence of individuals was poor body condition so that birds with lower wing residual visited the feeding station more frequently. Supplementary feeding may benefit individuals who would otherwise have been subject to selective pressures. From our results it follows that this conservation strategy must be used with caution because it can have consequences on an individual level and thus potentially affect the viability of endangered populations. PMID:24244695

  10. Major histocompatibility complex variation in insular populations of the Egyptian vulture: inferences about the roles of genetic drift and selection.

    PubMed

    Agudo, Rosa; Alcaide, Miguel; Rico, Ciro; Lemus, Jesus A; Blanco, Guillermo; Hiraldo, Fernando; Donázar, Jose A

    2011-06-01

    Insular populations have attracted the attention of evolutionary biologists because of their morphological and ecological peculiarities with respect to their mainland counterparts. Founder effects and genetic drift are known to distribute neutral genetic variability in these demes. However, elucidating whether these evolutionary forces have also shaped adaptive variation is crucial to evaluate the real impact of reduced genetic variation in small populations. Genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) are classical examples of evolutionarily relevant loci because of their well-known role in pathogen confrontation and clearance. In this study, we aim to disentangle the partial roles of genetic drift and natural selection in the spatial distribution of MHC variation in insular populations. To this end, we integrate the study of neutral (22 microsatellites and one mtDNA locus) and MHC class II variation in one mainland (Iberia) and two insular populations (Fuerteventura and Menorca) of the endangered Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus). Overall, the distribution of the frequencies of individual MHC alleles (n=17 alleles from two class II B loci) does not significantly depart from neutral expectations, which indicates a prominent role for genetic drift over selection. However, our results point towards an interesting co-evolution of gene duplicates that maintains different pairs of divergent alleles in strong linkage disequilibrium on islands. We hypothesize that the co-evolution of genes may counteract the loss of genetic diversity in insular demes, maximize antigen recognition capabilities when gene diversity is reduced, and promote the co-segregation of the most efficient allele combinations to cope with local pathogen communities.

  11. Mantle CO2 degassing at Mt. Vulture volcano (Italy): Relationship between CO2 outgassing of volcanoes and the time of their last eruption

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Caracausi, Antonio; Paternoster, Michele; Nuccio, Pasquale Mario

    2015-02-01

    Mantle volatiles are mainly lost from the Earth to the atmosphere through subaerial and submarine volcanism. Recent studies have shown that degassing of mantle volatiles also occurs from inactive volcanic areas and in tectonically active areas. A new challenge in Earth science is to quantify the mantle-derived flux of volatiles (e.g., CO2) which is important for understanding such diverse issues as the evolution of the atmosphere, the relationships between magma degassing and volcanic activity, gas pressure and seismogenic processes, and the hazards posed by volcanic lakes. Here we present a detailed study of mantle-derived CO2 budget from Mt. Vulture volcano in the Apennines, Italy, whose latest eruption occurred 141 ± 11 kyr ago. The relationship between δ13CCO2 and total dissolved carbon at Mt. Vulture volcano indicates that the emitted CO2 is a mixture of a biogenic end-member with an average δ13CCO2 of about - 17 ‰ and a mantle-derived CO2 end-member with δ13CCO2 values from - 3 ‰ to + 2 ‰. These values of mantle-derived δ13CCO2 are in the range of those for gas emitted from active volcanoes in the Mediterranean. We calculated the contribution of individual components (CO2 in groundwater, in lakes and from main pools) to the total CO2 budget in the area. We used new measurements of water flow, combined with literature data, to calculate the CO2 flux associated with groundwater, and measured the gas flux from the main pools on the volcanic edifice. Finally, we calculated the CO2 flow in the lakes based on the gradient concentration and eddy diffusivity. The total mantle-derived CO2 budget in the area is 4.85 ×108 molyr-1, which is more than double previous estimates. This is higher than those observed in younger volcanic systems elsewhere, thereby supporting the existence of actively degassing mantle melts below Mt. Vulture volcano. A structural map highlights the tectonic control on CO2 flow across the Mt. Vulture volcanic edifice. Indeed, the

  12. Serum chemistry and antibody status to some avian pathogens of free-living and captive condors (Vultur gryphus) of central Chile.

    PubMed

    Toro, H; Pavez, E F; Gough, R E; Montes, G; Kaleta, E F

    1997-01-01

    This study provides information on serology and serum chemistry of the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus). Twenty condors living under natural conditions were captured, blood sampled, measured, and released. In addition, 12 captive condors maintained at the Metropolitan Zoo of Santiago, Chile, were included as a comparison with free-living birds. All sera were negative to antibodies against reference strains of avian paramyxoviruses of serotypes 1 to 9, avian influenza and avian pox virus. Free-living condors had total protein, albumin, globulin and Mg values significantly (P< 0.05) lower than those of captive birds. The haematological values obtained in free-living condors are of particular interest since they may correspond to the optimum values of the species.

  13. Delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (δALAD) activity in four free-living bird species exposed to different levels of lead under natural conditions.

    PubMed

    Espín, Silvia; Martínez-López, Emma; Jiménez, Pedro; María-Mojica, Pedro; García-Fernández, Antonio J

    2015-02-01

    The purposes of this study were: (1) to determine the δALAD activity and δALAD ratio in blood of four free-living bird species (Griffon vulture, Eagle owl, Slender-billed gull and Audouin's gull); (2) and to investigate the correlations between δALAD activity/ratio and Pb concentrations in blood samples. A decrease was observed in δALAD activity in Griffon vultures and Eagle owls exposed to Pb. In addition, negative relationships were found between δALAD ratio or δALAD activity and Log blood Pb levels in Griffon vultures and Eagle owls, and these relationships were stronger in areas with the highest Pb exposure. We provide equations that may be helpful to estimate δALAD activity and δALAD ratio using blood Pb concentrations. Regarding gull species, δALAD activity found in the present study may be considered the normal activity in Slender-billed gull and Audouin's gull species, since very low blood Pb concentrations and no correlations were found in these species. Although both δALAD activity and δALAD ratio are sensitive biomarkers of Pb exposure and effect in birds, the use of δALAD ratio may improve the results. Besides, this study provides blood threshold concentrations at which Pb bears effects on δALAD enzyme (5µg/dl in Eagle owl; 8µg/dl in Griffon vulture; and probably >2µg/dl in Slender-billed gull and Audouin's gull). Our findings show that Eagle owl seems to be more sensitive to δALAD enzymatic inhibition by Pb than Griffon vultures. Eagle owls and Griffon vultures exhibited up to 79% and 94% decrease in δALAD activity when blood Pb concentrations exceeded 19 and 30µg/dl, respectively. Regarding the effects related with δALAD inhibition, significant negative correlations were found between δALAD activity and hematocrit in Eagle owls and Griffon vultures, which may be related to compensatory response associated with a decrease in δALAD activity. In addition, an effect on creatine kinase activity and total proteins in plasma was found

  14. Using Africa's protected area network to estimate the global population of a threatened and declining species: a case study of the Critically Endangered White-headed Vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis.

    PubMed

    Murn, Campbell; Mundy, Peter; Virani, Munir Z; Borello, Wendy D; Holloway, Graham J; Thiollay, Jean-Marc

    2016-02-01

    The White-headed Vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis (WhV) is uncommon and largely restricted to protected areas across its range in sub-Saharan Africa. We used the World Database on Protected Areas to identify protected areas (PAs) likely to contain White-headed Vultures. Vulture occurrence on road transects in Southern, East, and West Africa was adjusted to nests per km(2) using data from areas with known numbers of nests and corresponding road transect data. Nest density was used to calculate the number of WhV nests within identified PAs and from there extrapolated to estimate the global population. Across a fragmented range, 400 PAs are estimated to contain 1893 WhV nests. Eastern Africa is estimated to contain 721 nests, Central Africa 548 nests, Southern Africa 468 nests, and West Africa 156 nests. Including immature and nonbreeding birds, and accounting for data deficient PAs, the estimated global population is 5475 - 5493 birds. The identified distribution highlights are alarming: over 78% (n = 313) of identified PAs contain fewer than five nests. A further 17% (n = 68) of PAs contain 5 - 20 nests and 4% (n = 14) of identified PAs are estimated to contain >20 nests. Just 1% (n = 5) of PAs are estimated to contain >40 nests; none is located in West Africa. Whilst ranging behavior of WhVs is currently unknown, 35% of PAs large enough to hold >20 nests are isolated by more than 100 km from other PAs. Spatially discrete and unpredictable mortality events such as poisoning pose major threats to small localized vulture populations and will accelerate ongoing local extinctions. Apart from reducing the threat of poisoning events, conservation actions promoting linkages between protected areas should be pursued. Identifying potential areas for assisted re-establishment via translocation offers the potential to expand the range of this species and alleviate risk.

  15. Trace elements and REE fractionation in subsoils developed on sedimentary and volcanic rocks: case study of the Mt. Vulture area, southern Italy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mongelli, Giovanni; Paternoster, Michele; Rizzo, Giovanna; Sinisi, Rosa

    2014-06-01

    There is an increasing interest in the distribution of rare earth elements (REEs) within soils, primarily as these elements can be used to identify pedogenetic processes and because soils may be future sources for REE extraction, despite much attention should be paid to the protection and preservation of present soils. Here, we evaluate the processes that control the distribution of REEs in subsoil horizons developed over differing lithologies in an area of low anthropogenic contamination, allowing estimates of the importance of source rocks and weathering. Specifically, this study presents new data on the distribution of REEs and other trace elements, including transition and high-field-strength elements, in subsoils developed on both Quaternary silica-undersaturated volcanic rocks and Pliocene siliciclastic sedimentary rocks within the Mt. Vulture area of the southern Apennines in Italy. The subsoils in the Mt. Vulture area formed during moderate weathering (as classified using the chemical index of alteration) and contain an assemblage of secondary minerals that is dominated by trioctahedral illite with minor vermiculite. The REEs, high-field-strength elements, and transition metals have higher abundances in subsoils that developed from volcanic rocks, and pedogenesis caused the Mt. Vulture subsoils to have REE concentrations that are an order of magnitude higher than typical values for the upper continental crust. This result indicates that the distribution of REEs in soils is a valuable tool for mineral exploration. A statistical analysis of inter-elemental relationships indicates that REEs are concentrated in clay-rich fractions that also contain significant amounts of low-solubility elements such as Zr and Th, regardless of the parent rock. This suggests that low-solubility refractory minerals, such as zircon, play a significant role in controlling the distribution of REEs in soils. The values of (La/Yb)N and (Gd/Yb)N fractionation indices are dependent on

  16. [The hemoglobin of adult Andean condors (Vultur gryphus, Cathartiformes). The amino acid sequence of the major (HbA) and minor component (HbD)].

    PubMed

    Bauer, H; Braunitzer, G; Oberthür, W; Kösters, J; Grimm, F

    1985-12-01

    The complete amino-acid sequence of the alpha A- and the beta-chains of the major component (HbA) and the alpha D- and the beta-chains of the minor component (HbD) of Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) is presented. The minor component with the alpha D-chains is present in smaller amounts (17%) than in other birds (25%). The comparison with the corresponding chains of Greylag Goose (Anser anser) shows 17 different amino acids (17 nucleotides, only one-point mutations) in the alpha A-chains and 8 (8 nucleotides) in the beta-chains. The alpha D-chains differ from those of the pheasant (Phasanius cholchicus cholchicus) in 24 amino acids (27 nucl., 3 two-point mutations). Seven alpha 1 beta 1-, one alpha 1 beta 2-, three alpha 1 alpha 1-contacts and one beta 1 beta 1-contact are exchanged. The systematy of Cathartiformes, Ciconiiformes and Phoenicopteriformes is discussed, based on the amino-acid exchanges of all known adult hemoglobins of birds.

  17. Seropositivity and Risk Factors Associated with Toxoplasma gondii Infection in Wild Birds from Spain

    PubMed Central

    Cabezón, Oscar; García-Bocanegra, Ignacio; Molina-López, Rafael; Marco, Ignasi; Blanco, Juan M.; Höfle, Ursula; Margalida, Antoni; Bach-Raich, Esther; Darwich, Laila; Echeverría, Israel; Obón, Elena; Hernández, Mauro; Lavín, Santiago; Dubey, Jitender P.; Almería, Sonia

    2011-01-01

    Toxoplasma gondii is a zoonotic intracellular protozoan parasite of worldwide distribution that infects many species of warm-blooded animals, including birds. To date, there is scant information about the seropositivity of T. gondii and the risk factors associated with T. gondii infection in wild bird populations. In the present study, T. gondii infection was evaluated on sera obtained from 1079 wild birds belonging to 56 species (including Falconiformes (n = 610), Strigiformes (n = 260), Ciconiiformes (n = 156), Gruiformes (n = 21), and other orders (n = 32), from different areas of Spain. Antibodies to T. gondii (modified agglutination test, MAT titer ≥1∶25) were found in 282 (26.1%, IC95%:23.5–28.7) of the 1079 birds. This study constitute the first extensive survey in wild birds species in Spain and reports for the first time T. gondii antibodies in the griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus), short-toed snake-eagle (Circaetus gallicus), Bonelli's eagle (Aquila fasciata), golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Montagu's harrier (Circus pygargus), Western marsh-harrier (Circus aeruginosus), peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), long-eared owl (Asio otus), common scops owl (Otus scops), Eurasian spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), white stork (Ciconia ciconia), grey heron (Ardea cinerea), common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus); in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) “vulnerable” Spanish imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti), lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) and great bustard (Otis tarda); and in the IUCN “near threatened” red kite (Milvus milvus). The highest seropositivity by species was observed in the Eurasian eagle owl (Bubo bubo) (68.1%, 98 of 144). The main risk factors associated with T. gondii seropositivity in wild birds were age and diet, with the highest exposure in older animals and in carnivorous wild birds. The results showed that T. gondii infection is

  18. Carbon sources and biogeochemical processes in Monticchio maar lakes, Mt Vulture volcano (southern Italy): New geochemical constrains of active degassing of mantle derived fluids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Caracausi, A.; Nuccio, P. M.; Favara, R.; Grassa, F.

    2012-04-01

    Since the catastrophic releases of carbon dioxide from the African volcanic lakes Nyos and Monoun in the 1980s, the scientific community draw attention towards all those crater lakes able to accumulate massive amount of CO2, which could be catastrophically released following overturn of their deep waters. This implies a quantification of the gas accumulation rate into the lakes and the knowledge of recharge processes and their evolution in time. In fact the gaseous recharge in a lake occurs at alarming rates, when an active degassing of hazardous nature volatiles occurs into the lakes and the structure and dynamic of the lake permit the accumulation of gases into the water. The Monticchio lakes, LPM and LGM, occupies two maar craters formed during the last volcanic activity of Mt. Vulture occurred ˜ 140 000 years ago. LPM is a permanently stratified lake, with a thick deep volume of stagnant water and a shallower layer affected by seasonal overturn. On the contrary LGM is a monomittic lake with a complete overturn of the water during winter time. The major dissolved volatiles are methane and CO2. Dissolved helium is in trace amounts and its isotopic signature ranges between 6.1 and 5.3 Ra (Ra is the atmospheric 3He/4He isotopic ratio). These values are within the range of those measured in the olivine fluid inclusions (both of mantle xenoliths and dispersed in the pyroclastics) of LPM maar ejecta. During three years of investigations we observed that dissolved methane in the deep waters of LGM drastically decreases in wintertime as consequence of the complete overturn of the water. The isotopic signature of methane in the deepest portions of LGM (both sediment and water) is quite stable with time and highlights a biogenic origin, being produced both by acetate fermentation and by CO2-reduction in variable proportions. In contrast, a higher contribution of methane produced via CO2 reduction characterizes sediments at shallower depths. At LPM, there is a great

  19. Avian scavengers and the threat from veterinary pharmaceuticals

    PubMed Central

    Cuthbert, Richard J.; Taggart, Mark A.; Prakash, Vibhu; Chakraborty, Soumya S.; Deori, Parag; Galligan, Toby; Kulkarni, Mandar; Ranade, Sachin; Saini, Mohini; Sharma, Anil Kumar; Shringarpure, Rohan; Green, Rhys E.

    2014-01-01

    Veterinary use of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac on domesticated ungulates caused populations of resident Gyps vultures in the Indian sub-continent to collapse. The birds died when they fed on carrion from treated animals. Veterinary diclofenac was banned in 2006 and meloxicam was advocated as a ‘vulture-safe’ alternative. We examine the effectiveness of the 2006 ban, whether meloxicam has replaced diclofenac, and the impact of these changes on vultures. Drug residue data from liver samples collected from ungulate carcasses in India since 2004 demonstrate that the prevalence of diclofenac in carcasses in 2009 was half of that before the ban and meloxicam prevalence increased by 44%. The expected vulture death rate from diclofenac per meal in 2009 was one-third of that before the ban. Surveys at veterinary clinics show that diclofenac use in India began in 1994, coinciding with the onset of rapid Gyps declines ascertained from measured rates of declines. Our study shows that one pharmaceutical product has had a devastating impact on Asia's vultures. Large-scale research and survey were needed to detect, diagnose and quantify the problem and measure the response to remedial actions. Given these difficulties, other effects of pharmaceuticals in the environment may remain undetected. PMID:25405963

  20. Behavioural adaptations to flight into thin air

    PubMed Central

    Weinzierl, Rolf

    2016-01-01

    Soaring raptors can fly at high altitudes of up to 9000 m. The behavioural adjustments to high-altitude flights are largely unknown. We studied thermalling flights of Himalayan vultures (Gyps himalayensis) from 50 to 6500 m above sea level, a twofold range of air densities. To create the necessary lift to support the same weight and maintain soaring flight in thin air birds might modify lift coefficient by biophysical changes, such as wing posture and increasing the power expenditure. Alternatively, they can change their flight characteristics. We show that vultures use the latter and increase circle radius by 35% and airspeed by 21% over their flight altitude range. These simple behavioural adjustments enable vultures to move seamlessly during their annual migrations over the Himalaya without increasing energy output for flight at high elevations. PMID:28120805

  1. Behavioural adaptations to flight into thin air.

    PubMed

    Sherub, Sherub; Bohrer, Gil; Wikelski, Martin; Weinzierl, Rolf

    2016-10-01

    Soaring raptors can fly at high altitudes of up to 9000 m. The behavioural adjustments to high-altitude flights are largely unknown. We studied thermalling flights of Himalayan vultures (Gyps himalayensis) from 50 to 6500 m above sea level, a twofold range of air densities. To create the necessary lift to support the same weight and maintain soaring flight in thin air birds might modify lift coefficient by biophysical changes, such as wing posture and increasing the power expenditure. Alternatively, they can change their flight characteristics. We show that vultures use the latter and increase circle radius by 35% and airspeed by 21% over their flight altitude range. These simple behavioural adjustments enable vultures to move seamlessly during their annual migrations over the Himalaya without increasing energy output for flight at high elevations.

  2. VIGILANCE POISON: Illegal poisoning and lead intoxication are the main factors affecting avian scavenger survival in the Pyrenees (France).

    PubMed

    Berny, Philippe; Vilagines, Lydia; Cugnasse, Jean-Marc; Mastain, Olivier; Chollet, Jean-Yves; Joncour, Guy; Razin, Martine

    2015-08-01

    A specific surveillance program has been set up to monitor avian scavenger populations in the French Pyrenean Mountains, hosting a high proportion of the French populations. The two main purposes of the study were to identify all causes of death and to investigate poisoning cases. All 170 birds found dead during the 7-year program were submitted to full necropsy, X-Ray, parasitological investigations and consistent analytical toxicology screenings (Cholinesterase inhibitors, anticoagulant rodenticides, organochlorine insecticides, Pb, Cd). Over the study period, 8 Bearded Vultures, 120 Griffon Vultures, 8 Egyptian Vultures and 34 Red kites were eventually collected. Mortality events were often multifactorial, but poisoning was by far the most common cause of death (24.1%), followed by trauma/fall (12%), bacterial diseases and starvation (8%) and electrocution (6%). Illicit use of banned pesticides was identified as a common cause of poisoning (53% of all poisoning cases) and lead poisoning was also identified as a significant toxicant issue (17% of all poisoning cases). Lead isotopic signature could be associated primarily with ammunition. Last, a positive association between trauma and lead contamination was detected, indicating that lead could be a significant contributor to different causes of death. These results urge for severe restrictions on the use of lead ammunition to prevent scavengers from detrimental exposure.

  3. The Cattle-Wolf Dilemma: Interactions among Three Protected Species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Becker, Nir; Farja, Yanay

    2017-02-01

    This paper utilizes economic valuation to offer a new perspective on livestock rancher—predator conflicts. While most studies have considered losses to the species directly involved, i.e., cattle and wolves ( Canis lupus), we take into account other species that are threatened by efforts to protect livestock. In this case, vultures ( Gyps fulvus) and gazelles ( Gazella gazella), both endangered species, are either poisoned (vultures) or suffer from habitat fragmentation (gazelles) in the Upper Galilee region in Israel. Since the ecological value of these species is unobserved in the marketplace, we use the contingent valuation method to quantify the loss incurred from damage to protected species: wolves, vultures and gazelles. This method uses surveys of a representative sample from the population to generate estimates for use and non-use values of animals and other components of the natural environment. These value estimates are then used to compare between different measures that address the problem: either protect cattle herds by building anti-wolf fences and taking other protective measures, or compensating ranchers for their losses from wolf depredations. Our analysis suggests that while it is optimal from the ranchers' point of view to invest in protective measures such as fences, dogs and guards against wolves, it is not in society's best interest. A cost-benefit analysis taking into account all the ecological values finds a higher net benefit to society from a relatively small amount of protection, coupled with compensation to the farmers for depredations.

  4. Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs in Raptors

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Oaks, J. Lindsay; Meteyer, Carol U.; Miller, R. Eric; Fowler, Murray E.

    2012-01-01

    The use of analgesia has become standard, and appropriate, practice in avian medicine. As in mammals, pain control in avian patients is usually accomplished with opioids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used singly or in combination for a multimodal approach. Despite their usefulness, widespread use, and relative safety in clinical use, few controlled studies in birds have been conducted on efficacy, safety, and dosing. The guidelines for the use of NSAIDs in raptors and other birds have mainly been empirical. More recently, NSAIDs in free-living raptors have emerged as a major conservation issue with the discovery that diclofenac sodium was responsible for the population crash of three species of Gyps vultures in southern Asia. In this context, residues of veterinary NSAIDs in domestic animals are now considered environmental contaminants that can be significantly toxic to vultures and possibly other avian scavengers. Ironically, the disaster with Asian vultures has led to a considerable body of research on NSAIDs in raptors to the benefit of clinicians who now have scientific information available to help assess dosing, safety, toxicity, and pharmacokinetics of NSAIDs in their raptor patients.

  5. The Cattle-Wolf Dilemma: Interactions among Three Protected Species.

    PubMed

    Becker, Nir; Farja, Yanay

    2017-02-01

    This paper utilizes economic valuation to offer a new perspective on livestock rancher-predator conflicts. While most studies have considered losses to the species directly involved, i.e., cattle and wolves (Canis lupus), we take into account other species that are threatened by efforts to protect livestock. In this case, vultures (Gyps fulvus) and gazelles (Gazella gazella), both endangered species, are either poisoned (vultures) or suffer from habitat fragmentation (gazelles) in the Upper Galilee region in Israel. Since the ecological value of these species is unobserved in the marketplace, we use the contingent valuation method to quantify the loss incurred from damage to protected species: wolves, vultures and gazelles. This method uses surveys of a representative sample from the population to generate estimates for use and non-use values of animals and other components of the natural environment. These value estimates are then used to compare between different measures that address the problem: either protect cattle herds by building anti-wolf fences and taking other protective measures, or compensating ranchers for their losses from wolf depredations. Our analysis suggests that while it is optimal from the ranchers' point of view to invest in protective measures such as fences, dogs and guards against wolves, it is not in society's best interest. A cost-benefit analysis taking into account all the ecological values finds a higher net benefit to society from a relatively small amount of protection, coupled with compensation to the farmers for depredations.

  6. Carriage of Staphylococcus aureus by Free-Living Wild Animals in Spain

    PubMed Central

    Mentaberre, Gregorio; Sánchez, Sergio; Fernández-Llario, Pedro; Casas-Díaz, Encarna; Mateos, Ana; Vidal, Dolors; Lavín, Santiago; Fernández-Garayzábal, José-Francisco; Domínguez, Lucas

    2014-01-01

    The presence of methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) was analyzed in different free-living wild animals to assess the genetic diversity and predominant genotypes on each animal species. Samples were taken from the skin and/or nares, and isolates were characterized by spa typing, multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and antimicrobial susceptibility testing. The proportion of MSSA carriers were 5.00, 22.93, 19.78, and 17.67% in Eurasian griffon vulture, Iberian ibex, red deer, and wild boar, respectively (P = 0.057). A higher proportion of isolates (P = 0.000) were recovered from nasal samples (78.51%) than skin samples (21.49%), but the 9.26% of red deer and 18.25% of wild boar would have been undetected if only nasal samples had been tested. Sixty-three different spa types were identified, including 25 new spa types. The most common were t528 (43.59%) in Iberian ibex, t548 and t11212 (15.79% and 14.04%) in red deer, and t3750 (36.11%) in wild boar. By MLST, 27 STs were detected, of which 12 had not been described previously. The most frequent were ST581 for Iberian ibex (48.72%), ST425 for red deer (29.82%), and ST2328 for wild boar (42.36%). Isolates from Eurasian griffon vulture belong to ST133. Host specificity has been observed for the most frequent spa types and STs (P = 0.000). The highest resistance percentage was found against benzylpenicillin (average, 22.2%), although most of the S. aureus isolates were susceptible to all antimicrobial tested. Basically, MSSA isolates were different from those MRSA isolates previously detected in the same animal species. PMID:24907325

  7. Carriage of Staphylococcus aureus by free-living wild animals in Spain.

    PubMed

    Porrero, M Concepción; Mentaberre, Gregorio; Sánchez, Sergio; Fernández-Llario, Pedro; Casas-Díaz, Encarna; Mateos, Ana; Vidal, Dolors; Lavín, Santiago; Fernández-Garayzábal, José-Francisco; Domínguez, Lucas

    2014-08-01

    The presence of methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) was analyzed in different free-living wild animals to assess the genetic diversity and predominant genotypes on each animal species. Samples were taken from the skin and/or nares, and isolates were characterized by spa typing, multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and antimicrobial susceptibility testing. The proportion of MSSA carriers were 5.00, 22.93, 19.78, and 17.67% in Eurasian griffon vulture, Iberian ibex, red deer, and wild boar, respectively (P = 0.057). A higher proportion of isolates (P = 0.000) were recovered from nasal samples (78.51%) than skin samples (21.49%), but the 9.26% of red deer and 18.25% of wild boar would have been undetected if only nasal samples had been tested. Sixty-three different spa types were identified, including 25 new spa types. The most common were t528 (43.59%) in Iberian ibex, t548 and t11212 (15.79% and 14.04%) in red deer, and t3750 (36.11%) in wild boar. By MLST, 27 STs were detected, of which 12 had not been described previously. The most frequent were ST581 for Iberian ibex (48.72%), ST425 for red deer (29.82%), and ST2328 for wild boar (42.36%). Isolates from Eurasian griffon vulture belong to ST133. Host specificity has been observed for the most frequent spa types and STs (P = 0.000). The highest resistance percentage was found against benzylpenicillin (average, 22.2%), although most of the S. aureus isolates were susceptible to all antimicrobial tested. Basically, MSSA isolates were different from those MRSA isolates previously detected in the same animal species.

  8. First detection of an NSAID, flunixin, in sheep's wool using GC-MS.

    PubMed

    Richards, Ngaio; Hall, Sarah; Scott, Karen; Harrison, Nancy

    2011-05-01

    Exposure to the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) diclofenac resulted in the near extinction of three species of Gyps vultures on the Indian subcontinent. Other NSAIDs present in the environment, including flunixin, may pose a similar risk. In the course of a study to determine the feasibility of detecting NSAIDs in keratinous matrices (i.e., hair, nails and feathers) using GC-MS, wool opportunistically collected from a sheep treated with flunixin was analysed for residues. Flunixin was detected qualitatively in external wool wash and extract samples. While residues of veterinary agents and pesticides have previously been found in sheep's wool, our preliminary investigation provides the first instance of an NSAID being detected in this matrix. Here we provide the sample preparation methods and GC-MS parameters used to enable further refinement as part of ongoing conservation and consumer quality control measures.

  9. Collaborative Opportunities in DMSMS

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2001-04-01

    CH - 146 Griffon helicopter (separate trip report). 5. DND is developing a new supply information... Griffon helicopter Contractor Logistics Support Program. CH - 146 Griffon Contractor Logistics Support Program This Major Crown Project was established to...acquire 100 Bell-412 helicopters . Designated as the CH - 146 , Griffon , CFUTTH helicopter replaced the CH -118 Iroquois, the CH -135 Twin Huey and the CH

  10. Comparative metabolism as a key driver of wildlife species sensitivity to human and veterinary pharmaceuticals

    PubMed Central

    Hutchinson, Thomas H.; Madden, Judith C.; Naidoo, Vinny; Walker, Colin H.

    2014-01-01

    Human and veterinary drug development addresses absorption, distribution, metabolism, elimination and toxicology (ADMET) of the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) in the target species. Metabolism is an important factor in controlling circulating plasma and target tissue API concentrations and in generating metabolites which are more easily eliminated in bile, faeces and urine. The essential purpose of xenobiotic metabolism is to convert lipid-soluble, non-polar and non-excretable chemicals into water soluble, polar molecules that are readily excreted. Xenobiotic metabolism is classified into Phase I enzymatic reactions (which add or expose reactive functional groups on xenobiotic molecules), Phase II reactions (resulting in xenobiotic conjugation with large water-soluble, polar molecules) and Phase III cellular efflux transport processes. The human–fish plasma model provides a useful approach to understanding the pharmacokinetics of APIs (e.g. diclofenac, ibuprofen and propranolol) in freshwater fish, where gill and liver metabolism of APIs have been shown to be of importance. By contrast, wildlife species with low metabolic competency may exhibit zero-order metabolic (pharmacokinetic) profiles and thus high API toxicity, as in the case of diclofenac and the dramatic decline of vulture populations across the Indian subcontinent. A similar threat looms for African Cape Griffon vultures exposed to ketoprofen and meloxicam, recent studies indicating toxicity relates to zero-order metabolism (suggesting P450 Phase I enzyme system or Phase II glucuronidation deficiencies). While all aspects of ADMET are important in toxicity evaluations, these observations demonstrate the importance of methods for predicting API comparative metabolism as a central part of environmental risk assessment. PMID:25405970

  11. The Vulture Survey: Analyzing the Evolution of MgII and CIV Absorbers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mathes, Nigel; Churchill, Christopher W.; Murphy, Michael

    2017-01-01

    We present the results of an archival VLT/UVES and Keck/HIRES quasar absorption line survey. We examine over 600 quasar lines of sight in order to inventory the cosmic properties of MgII and CIV absorbers. We employ an accurate, automated approach to line detection which consistently detects absorption lines with rest-frame equivalent widths less than 0.02 Å in S/N > 40 spectra. We determine redshift path densities, equivalent width and column density distributions, and cosmic mass densities as a function of redshift. We find that the evolution in the universal distribution of this metal absorbing gas correlates strongly with the cosmic star formation history of galaxies. We measure a significant enhancement in the comoving opacity of strong MgII and CIV absorbers around z=2. We also measure the pixel two-point velocity correlation function and find broader, higher velocity signatures around z=2. We examine possible causes for these trends, and determine that at z=2 galaxies transport significantly higher quantities of metal enriched gas into and out of their halos through star formation than at other times.

  12. Linking ecology, behaviour and conservation: does habitat saturation change the mating system of bearded vultures?

    PubMed

    Carrete, Martina; Donázar, José A; Margalida, Antoni; Bertran, Joan

    2006-12-22

    The social organization of a population is the consequence of the decisions made by individuals to maximize their fitness, so differences in social systems may arise from differences in ecological conditions. Here, we show how a long-lived species that used to breed monogamously, and at low densities, can change its mating system in response to habitat saturation. We found that a significant proportion of unpaired birds become potential breeders by entering high-quality territories, or by forming polyandrous trios as a strategy to increase their individual performance. However, productivity of territories was reduced when those occupied by breeding pairs changed to trios, suggesting that the third individual was costly. The decision of some individuals to enter into breeding trios as subordinates also had clear negative consequences to population demography. This unusual mating behaviour is thus compromising the conservation effort directed to this endangered species; management to encourage floaters to settle in other suitable but unoccupied areas may be beneficial.

  13. Linking ecology, behaviour and conservation: does habitat saturation change the mating system of bearded vultures?

    PubMed Central

    Carrete, Martina; Donázar, José A; Margalida, Antoni; Bertran, Joan

    2006-01-01

    The social organization of a population is the consequence of the decisions made by individuals to maximize their fitness, so differences in social systems may arise from differences in ecological conditions. Here, we show how a long-lived species that used to breed monogamously, and at low densities, can change its mating system in response to habitat saturation. We found that a significant proportion of unpaired birds become potential breeders by entering high-quality territories, or by forming polyandrous trios as a strategy to increase their individual performance. However, productivity of territories was reduced when those occupied by breeding pairs changed to trios, suggesting that the third individual was costly. The decision of some individuals to enter into breeding trios as subordinates also had clear negative consequences to population demography. This unusual mating behaviour is thus compromising the conservation effort directed to this endangered species; management to encourage floaters to settle in other suitable but unoccupied areas may be beneficial. PMID:17148305

  14. Road traffic noise impact assessment in a breeding colony of cinereous vultures (Aegypius monachus) in Spain.

    PubMed

    Iglesias-Merchán, Carlos; Diaz-Balteiro, Luis; de la Puente, Javier

    2016-03-01

    There is a global and growing concern with regard to anthropogenic noise impact on wildlife and natural habitats, but it is difficult to find consensus regarding scoping and assessment tools. This study adapts noise mapping procedures, common to most European countries, to a low traffic road (below 1000 vehicles per day) noise impact assessment in a breeding colony of the largest bird of prey in Europe. Results show that nest sites are located avoiding road traffic Leq levels higher than 40 dB. This means a road-effect zone of up to 500 m width from road margins, which previous scientific literature only refers in cases of traffic volumes higher than 10,000 vehicles per day. This finding is a noticeable impact by road traffic noise that reduces the breeding potential habitat more than 11% within the study area. This work shows the feasibility of expanding common methods and mapping tools for assessing and managing environmental noise in protected areas, which has worthwhile implications for both acoustics and conservation.

  15. Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) carriage in different free-living wild animal species in Spain.

    PubMed

    Porrero, M Concepción; Mentaberre, Gregorio; Sánchez, Sergio; Fernández-Llario, Pedro; Gómez-Barrero, Susana; Navarro-Gonzalez, Nora; Serrano, Emmanuel; Casas-Díaz, Encarna; Marco, Ignasi; Fernández-Garayzabal, José-Francisco; Mateos, Ana; Vidal, Dolors; Lavín, Santiago; Domínguez, Lucas

    2013-10-01

    Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a life-threatening pathogen in humans and its presence in animals is a public health concern. The aim of this study was to measure the prevalence of MRSA in free-living wild animals. Samples from red deer (n=273), Iberian ibex (n=212), Eurasian Griffon vulture (n=40) and wild boar (n=817) taken from different areas in Spain between June 2008 and November 2011 were analyzed. Characterization of the isolates was performed by spa typing, multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) and antimicrobial susceptibility testing. A low prevalence of MRSA was found with 13 isolates obtained from 12 animals (0.89%; 95% CI: 0.46-1.56). All MRSA sequence types belonged to ST398 (t011 and t1451) and ST1 (t127). Genotypes and antimicrobial susceptibility patterns (tetracycline resistance in ST398 and clindamycin-erythromycin-tetracycline resistance in ST1) suggest that the MRSA found probably originated in livestock (ST398) or humans (ST1). This is the first report of MRSA carriers in free-living wild animals in Europe. Although our data showed that MRSA prevalence is currently low, free-living wild animals might act as reservoir and represent a potential risk for human health.

  16. Coxiella burnetii DNA detected in domestic ruminants and wildlife from Portugal.

    PubMed

    Cumbassá, Aminata; Barahona, Maria J; Cunha, Mónica V; Azórin, Beatriz; Fonseca, Carlos; Rosalino, Luís Miguel; Tilburg, Jeroen; Hagen, Ferry; Santos, Ana S; Botelho, Ana

    2015-10-22

    Coxiella burnetii is the etiological agent of Q fever or Coxiellosis, a zoonosis mainly affecting domestic ruminants. Information on the population structure and epidemiology of C. burnetii in animals is scarce in Portugal. Evidence of C. burnetti infection was sought in domestic, wild and captive animals based on the detection of bacterial DNA. Tissue samples from 152 domestic animals (cattle=24, goats=51, sheep=76 and swine=1), 55 wild carnivores (Egyptian mongoose=45, red fox=4, common genet=3, weasel=2 and European badger=1) and 22 zoo animals (antelopes=15, impala=1; rhinoceros=1, deer=2, zebras=2 and giraffe=1) were screened by nested-touchdown PCR. Cloacae swabs from 19 griffon vultures were also analysed. Among the domestic ruminants, goats presented the highest prevalence of infection (23.53%), followed by cattle, (20.83%) and sheep (10.53%). C. burnetii DNA was also detected in five Egyptian mongooses and two antelopes and one giraffe. Using a 6-locus multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA-6) six complete genotypes, T, I and CM and the first reported CN, CO and CP, were identified, respectively, in small ruminants and Egyptian mongooses. Clustering analysis of genotypes exposed four distinct groups, according to detection source, enlightening an apparent association between C. burnetii genotype and host.

  17. Multimodal Interfaces: Literature Review of Ecological Interface Design, Multimodal Perception and Attention, and Intelligent Adaptive Multimodal Interfaces

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-05-01

    conducted an investigation of the perceived level of urgency of auditory alarms in the CF CH - 146 Griffon helicopter for trained CH - 146 Griffon pilots...and non- pilots. Arrabito et al. (2004) found that even with trained CH - 146 Griffon pilots, the perceived level of urgency, as rated by the...that the auditory alarms used within the Griffon helicopter were not adequately designed for their intended purposes. The concept of perceived

  18. Lead and cadmium in wild birds in southeastern Spain

    SciTech Connect

    Garcia-Fernandez, A.J.; Sanchez-Garcia, J.A.; Luna, A.; Jimenez-Montalban, P.

    1995-12-01

    The main purpose of this study was to monitor exposure to lead and cadmium in wild birds in Murcia, a southeastern region of Spain on the Mediterranean coast. This region lies on one of the African-European flyways. Samples of liver, kidney, brain, bone, and whole blood from several species of wild birds were obtained during 1993. The authors found a clear relationship between cadmium and lead concentrations in birds and their feedings habits. Vultures (Gyps fulvus) had the highest concentrations of lead (mean 40 {micro}g/dl in blood), and seagulls (Larus argentatus and Larus ridibundus) the highest concentrations of cadmium (mean 4.43 {micro}g/g in kidney). Insectivores had high concentrations of both metals, and diurnal and nocturnal raptors showed the lowest tissue concentrations. The findings that tissue and blood concentrations were generally not elevated suggests environmental (rather than acute) exposure. Birds from more industrialized areas of the region studied here had higher concentrations of both lead and cadmium.

  19. JSMARTS Initiative: Advanced Distributed Simulation Across the Government of Canada, Academia and Industry - Technical Description

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2005-07-01

    CH 146 Griffon helicopter human-in-the-loop simulator. DAR (Director Aerospace...provided an NTS (Networked Tactical Simulator) CH 146 Griffon Helicopter human-in-the-loop simulator - DAR (Director Aerospace Requirements... Griffon Helicopter operating on its own – Scenario 2: A CH - 146 and a UAV operating with a third party comms link. – Scenario 3: A CH 146 and a

  20. 50 CFR 10.13 - List of Migratory Birds.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ..., Poecile gambeli CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW, Caprimulgus carolinensis CONDOR, California, Gymnogyps californianus... Vulture Cathartes aura, Turkey Vulture Gymnogyps californianus, California Condor Family...

  1. 77 FR 298 - Endangered Species Receipt of Applications for Permit

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-01-04

    ... Species: Lesser slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus) Andean condor (Vultur gryphus) White-naped crane (Grus... condor (Vultur gryphus), Bali starling (Leucopsar rothschildi), black and white ruffed lemur...

  2. Use of black vulture (Coragyps atratus) in complementary and alternative therapies for cancer in Colombia: A qualitative study

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Although Coragyps atratus has been used as a traditional therapy for patients with cancer, the scientific literature does not contain enough information on how this therapy is used or the mechanisms that explain this therapeutic practice. Objectives To understand the methods of use and the reasons given by patients and caregivers for the use of Coragyps atratus in cancer treatment. Methods This study used a qualitative design based on twenty in-depth interviews of patients with cancer or caregivers of patients with the disease. The analysis of the text was based on an inductive thematic approach. Results Resistance to disease and immune enhancement are properties attributed to Coragyps atratus when used for cancer treatment. The most recommended method of use is fresh blood ingestion, and the associated mechanism of action is transfer of immune factors to the individual who consumes it. Conclusions Use of Coragyps atratus as a treatment for cancer is a popular alternative therapy in Colombia. More studies are needed to understand the clinical effects of this intervention in cancer patients. Spanish abstract Introducción Aunque Coragyps atratus se usa tradicionalmente como terapia para pacientes con cáncer, no existe suficiente información en la literatura científica sobre su forma de utilización ni sobre los mecanismos explicativos que subyacen a esta práctica terapéutica. Objetivos Conocer métodos de utilización y mecanismos explicativos dados por los pacientes y cuidadores de pacientes sobre el uso de Coragyps atratus en el tratamiento del cáncer. Materiales y métodos Diseño cualitativo basado en veinte entrevistas en profundidad de pacientes con cáncer o cuidadores de pacientes con esta enfermedad. Análisis de texto basado en enfoque temático inductivo. Resultados Al Coragyps atratus se le atribuyen propiedades de resistencia y fortalecimiento del sistema inmune de personas enfermas de cáncer. La forma de utilización mas común es la ingesta de la sangre fresca y el mecanismo de acción asociado es la transferencia de defensas a quien lo consume. Conclusiones La utilización del Coragyps atratus como tratamiento para el cáncer es una terapia alternativa usada popularmente en Colombia. El uso de este animal debe estudiarse más a fondo para conocer los efectos clínicos en los pacientes con cáncer. PMID:22651097

  3. Tactical Aviation Mission System Simulation Situational Awareness Project

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2004-04-01

    CH - 146 Griffon helicopter flown by the Department of National Defence (DND). The Carleton...the CH - 146 Griffon . HELISIM accepts inputs from the collective, cyclic and pedals of the simulator and using the defined flight model , updates... helicopters , (d) one wrecked CH149, (e) two CH149s flying in small loop formations, (f) two hovering CH - 146 Griffon helicopters , (g) one formation of

  4. Eggshell thickness and DDE residue levels in vlulture eggs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kiff, L.F.; Peakall, D.B.; Morrison, M.L.; Wilbur, S.R.; Wilbur, Sanford R.; Jackson, Jerome A.

    1983-01-01

    Post-DDT (post-1947) eggshell thickness was examined in samples of Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, and Crested Caracara eggs from several parts of the United States. Highly significant post-DDT decreases in eggshell thickness indices of at least 10 percent were found in Turkey Vulture eggs from California, Florida, and Texas and in Black Vulture eggs from Texas and Florida. Over one-third of the Black VUlture eggs and about 30 percent of the Turkey Vulture eggs from Texas showed thinning exceeding 20 percent, a level associated with reproductive failure and population decline in other species. A strong negative correlation was found between eggshell thickness indices and DDE residues extracted from eggshell membranes in California and Texas samples of Turkey Vulture eggs and in Texas Black Vulture eggs. Crested Caracara eggs from Texas and Florida showed mean changes in eggshell thickness indices of only -5.6 and -8.2 percent, respectively, although thinning in a few eggs from both states exceeded 20 percent. Most of the post-DDT Old World vulture eggs examined appeared to be of normal thickness, with low DDE residue levels in eggshell membranes; but single eggs of Egyptian Vulture from India, Cinereous Vulture from Spain, and White-headed Vulture from Zambia showed apparent thinning. Further monitoring of vulture populations in tropical regions, where DDT use is still increasing, is recommended.

  5. Optimal RSOM-hub Locations for Northern Operations: A MAJAID Scenario Analysis

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-08-01

    CH - 146 Griffon helicopters (or possibly one CH -147...CANOSCOM (Figure 2): • A strategic lift aircraft (CC-177) would be used to move personnel and two helicopters ( CH - 146 Griffon ) from Trenton to a given... helicopters ( CH - 146 ) was used to simulate MAJAID deployment lift to various Northern locations. Illustrative flight tracks were also used to determine

  6. Gypenosides causes DNA damage and inhibits expression of DNA repair genes of human oral cancer SAS cells.

    PubMed

    Lu, Kung-Wen; Chen, Jung-Chou; Lai, Tung-Yuan; Yang, Jai-Sing; Weng, Shu-Wen; Ma, Yi-Shih; Tang, Nou-Ying; Lu, Pei-Jung; Weng, Jing-Ru; Chung, Jing-Gung

    2010-01-01

    Gypenosides (Gyp) are the major components of Gynostemma pentaphyllum Makino, a Chinese medical plant. Recently, Gyp has been shown to induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in many human cancer cell lines. However, there is no available information to address the effects of Gyp on DNA damage and DNA repair-associated gene expression in human oral cancer cells. Therefore, we investigated whether Gyp induced DNA damage and DNA repair gene expression in human oral cancer SAS cells. The results from flow cytometric assay indicated that Gyp-induced cytotoxic effects led to a decrease in the percentage of viable SAS cells. The results from comet assay revealed that the incubation of SAS cells with Gyp led to a longer DNA migration smear (comet tail) when compared with control and this effect was dose-dependent. The results from real-time PCR analysis indicated that treatment of SAS cells with 180 mug/ml of Gyp for 24 h led to a decrease in 14-3-3sigma, DNA-dependent serine/threonine protein kinase (DNAPK), p53, ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM), ataxia-telangiectasia and Rad3-related (ATR) and breast cancer gene 1 (BRCA1) mRNA expression. These observations may explain the cell death caused by Gyp in SAS cells. Taken together, Gyp induced DNA damage and inhibited DNA repair-associated gene expressions in human oral cancer SAS cells in vitro.

  7. Process for Refining and Validating a Finite Element Model of an Experimental High-Altitude, Long-Endurance (HALE) Aircraft

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-06-01

    6 DARPA Vulture Program...2003) 10 Figure 7. Boeing’s Phantom Eye UAV [2] Figure 8. RQ-4 Global Hawk [3] 11 DARPA Vulture Program The Defense...Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Vulture Program aims to push the goals of these previous efforts even further. DARPA set a goal of

  8. Design of Tactical Support Strategies in Military Logistics: Trade-offs Between Efficiency and Effectiveness. A Column and Cut Generation Modeling Methods

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-12-01

    nook and CH - 146 Griffon , and three classes of trucks: LSVW (Light Support Ve- hicle Wheeled), MLVW (Medium Logistic Vehicle Wheeled), and HLVW...Chinook 12.2 8 800 220 8000 K1,K2,K3 CH - 146 Griffon 1.9 1 550 200 5000 K2 T ru ck s LSVW-Cargo 2.0 2 550 98 352 K1,K2 MLVW-Cargo 5.0 4 536 90 442 K1,K2...50%, 80%, and 100% of demands are required within a lead-time≤ TSP. First, we see that the SLVW Cargo, MLVW Cargo trucks, and the CH - 146 Griffon are

  9. Gypenosides induce apoptosis by ca2+ overload mediated by endoplasmic-reticulum and store-operated ca2+ channels in human hepatoma cells.

    PubMed

    Sun, Da-Peng; Li, Xiao-Xi; Liu, Xin-Li; Zhao, Dan; Qiu, Feng-Qi; Li, Yan; Ma, Ping

    2013-05-01

    Gypenosides (Gyps) are triterpenoid saponins contained in an extract from Gynostemma pentaphyllum Makino and reported to induce apoptosis in human hepatoma cells through Ca(2+)-implicated endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and mitochondria-dependent pathways. The mechanism underlying the Gyp-increased intracellular Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)]i) is unclear. Here, we examined Gyp-induced necrosis and apoptosis in human hepatoma HepG2 cells. Gyp-induced apoptotic cell death was accompanied by a sustained increase in [Ca(2+)]i level. Gyp-increased [Ca(2+)]i level was partly inhibited by removal of extracellular Ca(2+) by Ca(2+) chelator EGTA, store-operated Ca(2+) channel (SOC) inhibitor 2- aminoethoxydiphenyl borate (2-APB), and ER Ca(2+)-release-antagonist 3,4,5-trimethoxybenzoic acid 8-(diethylamino) octyl ester (TMB-8). The strongest inhibitory effect was observed with TMB-8. EGTA, 2-APB, and TMB-8 also protected against Gyp-induced apoptosis in HepG2 cells. The combination of 2-APB and TMB-8 almost completely abolished the Gyp-induced Ca(2+) response and apoptosis. In contrast, the sarco/endoplasmic-reticulum-Ca(2+)-ATPase (SERCA) inhibitor thapsigargin slightly elevated Gyp-induced [Ca(2+)]i increase and apoptosis in HepG2 cells. Exposure to 300 μg/mL Gyp for 24 hours upregulated protein levels of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor and SOC and downregulated that of SERCA for at least 72 hours. Thus, Gyp-induced increase in [Ca(2+)]i level and consequent apoptosis in HepG2 cells may be mainly due to enhanced Ca(2+) release from ER stores and increased store-operated Ca(2+) entry.

  10. Gypenosides inhibits migration and invasion of human oral cancer SAS cells through the inhibition of matrix metalloproteinase-2 -9 and urokinase-plasminogen by ERK1/2 and NF-kappa B signaling pathways.

    PubMed

    Lu, Kung-Wen; Chen, Jung-Chou; Lai, Tung-Yuan; Yang, Jai-Sing; Weng, Shu-Wen; Ma, Yi-Shih; Lu, Pei-Jung; Weng, Jing-Ru; Chueh, Fu-Shin; Wood, W Gibson; Chung, Jing-Gung

    2011-05-01

    Gypenosides (Gyp), found in Gynostemma pentaphyllum Makino, has been used as a folk medicine in the Chinese population for centuries and is known to have diverse pharmacologic effects, including anti-proliferative and anti-cancer actions. However, the effects of Gyp on prevention from invasion and migration of oral cancer cells are still unsatisfactory. The purpose of this study was to investigate effects of Gyp treatment on migration and invasion of SAS human oral cancer cells. SAS cells were cultured in the presence of 90 and 180 μg/mL Gyp for 24 and 48 hours. Gyp induced cytotoxic effects and inhibited SAS cells migration and invasion in dose- and time-dependent response. Wound-healing assay and boyden chamber assay were carried out to investigate Gyp-inhibited migration and invasion of SAS cells. Gyp decreased the abundance of several proteins, including nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/ 2), matrix metalloproteinase-9, -2 (MMP-9, -2), sevenless homolog (SOS), Ras, urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA), focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and RAC-alpha serine/threonine-protein kinase (Akt), in a time-dependent manner. In addition, Gyp decreased mRNA levels of MMP-2, MMP-7, MMP-9 but did not affect FAK and Rho A mRNA levels in SAS cells. These results provide evidences for the role of Gyp as a potent anti-metastatic agent, which can markedly inhibit the metastatic and invasive capacity of oral cancer cells. The inhibition of NF-κB and MMP-2, -7 and -9 signaling may be one of the mechanisms that is present in Gyp-inhibited cancer cell invasion and migration.

  11. Gypsum-based biomaterials: Evaluation of physical and mechanical properties, cellular effects and its potential as a pulp liner.

    PubMed

    Low, Amy; Mohd Yusof, Hamidah; Reza, Fazal; Abdullah Nurul, Asma; Sritharan, Shaminea; Haania Zain Ali, Niswathul; Subhi Azeez, Hasan; Husein, Adam

    2015-01-01

    This in vitro study aimed to evaluate setting time and compressive strength of gypsum-based chitosan biomaterials and its effect on proliferation of stem cells from human exfoliated deciduous teeth (SHED) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity. Pure-GYP was mixed with water (2.5 g: 1.9 mL); Gyp-CHT was prepared with gypsum, chitosan, and water (2.5 g: 0.285 g: 1.9 mL). Cell viability and ALP activity were assessed at different periods. Data were analyzed using SPSS (p<0.05). The setting times were 2.7 min and 2.8 min for pure-GYP and Gyp-CHT, respectively. Significantly higher compressive strength was observed with Gyp-CHT. SHED treatments with both materials were not cytotoxic. ALP was consistently higher in the treated groups compared with the control. Cellular attachments were evident with SEM. Excellent cellular viability with pure-GYP and Gyp-CHT, as well as increased ALP activities, suggested the possibility of tertiary dentin formation. Further studies are necessary to evaluate the biomaterials for its pulp protective potentialities.

  12. Gypenoside L inhibits autophagic flux and induces cell death in human esophageal cancer cells through endoplasm reticulum stress-mediated Ca2+ release

    PubMed Central

    Li, Yan; Xu, Hong; Kang, Qiangrong; Fan, Long; Hu, Xiaopeng; Jin, Zhe; Zeng, Yong; Kong, Xiaoli; Zhang, Jian; Wu, Xuli; Wu, Haiqiang; Liu, Lizhong; Xiao, Xiaohua; Wang, Yifei; He, Zhendan

    2016-01-01

    Esophageal cancer is one of the leading cause of cancer mortality in the world. Due to the increased drug and radiation tolerance, it is urgent to develop novel anticancer agent that triggers nonapoptotic cell death to compensate for apoptosis resistance. In this study, we show that treatment with gypenoside L (Gyp-L), a saponin isolated from Gynostemma pentaphyllum, induced nonapoptotic, lysosome-associated cell death in human esophageal cancer cells. Gyp-L-induced cell death was associated with lysosomal swelling and autophagic flux inhibition. Mechanistic investigations revealed that through increasing the levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), Gyp-L triggered protein ubiquitination and endoplasm reticulum (ER) stress response, leading to Ca2+ release from ER inositol trisphosphate receptor (IP3R)-operated stores and finally cell death. Interestingly, there existed a reciprocal positive-regulatory loop between Ca2+ release and ER stress in response to Gyp-L. In addition, protein synthesis was critical for Gyp-L-mediated ER stress and cell death. Taken together, this work suggested a novel therapeutic option by Gyp-L through the induction of an unconventional ROS-ER-Ca2+-mediated cell death in human esophageal cancer. PMID:27329722

  13. Environmental contaminants in surrogates, foods, and feathers of California condors (Gymnogyps californianus)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wiemeyer, Stanley N.; Jurek, R.M.; Moore, John F.

    1986-01-01

    California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) foods and feathers, and turkey vultures (Cathartes aura), common ravens (Corvus corax), and their eggs were collected within the condor range to determine exposure of condors to environmental contaminants. Samples were analyzed for organochlorines and trace elements. Food items contained low concentrations of organochlorines and generally low concentrations of lead. DDE was detected in all vulture carcasses and nearly all raven carcasses at generally moderate concentrations. Other organochlorines occurred infrequently in carcasses and generally at low concentrations. Turkey vulture eggshells were 16% thinner than the pre-DDT mean; there was no change in shell thickness of raven eggs. Vulture eggs contained an average of 6.9 ppm DDE and two contained excessive concentrations of endrin. DDE concentrations were low in raven eggs. Residues of As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Ni, Se, Tl, and Zn in tissues of vultures and ravens appeared normal when compared with reference values for other species. Lead concentrations in bone of turkey vultures and feathers of condors appeared to be elevated above normal background concentrations in some cases. Current exposure of condors to organochlorines appears low; however, we are concerned about the excessive exposure of turkey vultures to organochlorines, possibly in Central America. Lead exposure to vultures and condors has occurred, but its significance to their populations is unknown.

  14. Assessing multi-tissue lead burdens in free-flying obligate scavengers in eastern North America.

    PubMed

    Behmke, Shannon; Mazik, Patricia; Katzner, Todd

    2017-04-01

    Avian scavengers are regularly exposed to anthropogenic lead. Although many studies evaluate lead concentrations of either blood or tissues of lead-poisoned birds, there is comparatively less research on lead burdens of free-flying, apparently healthy individuals and populations. Here, we address this lack of information by assessing lead levels of multiple tissues (femur, liver, kidney, breast muscle, thigh muscle) in free-flying black vultures (n = 98) and turkey vultures (n = 10) collected outside the hunting season. We found only one individual had a soft tissue lead concentration indicative of acute exposure (6.17 mg/kg wet weight in the liver), while the other 107 vultures showed consistent low-level lead exposure throughout the soft tissues. All vultures, however, had femur lead concentrations indicative of chronic lead exposure (black vultures [Formula: see text]31.80 ± 20.42 mg/kg (±SD); turkey vultures 23.21 ± 18.77 mg/kg). Lead levels were similar in all tissues in both vulture species (in each case, p > 0.05) and were generally highest in the femur, intermediate in the kidney and liver, and lowest in the breast and thigh muscle. Despite the consistency of these patterns, there were few strong correlations between lead levels in different tissues within each species, and those correlations that did exist were not consistent between species. Because these vultures were free flying and apparently healthy, the organism-wide lead distributions and between-species trends we report here provide important insight into the sublethal lead burdens that black vultures and turkey vultures commonly carry. Furthermore, these data offer a framework to better interpret and contextualize lead exposure data collected from these and other species.

  15. Gelatiniphilus marinus gen. nov., sp. nov., a bacterium from the culture broth of a microalga, Picochlorum sp. 122, and emended description of the genus Hwangdonia.

    PubMed

    Tang, Mingxing; Tan, Li; Wu, Hualian; Dai, Shikun; Li, Tao; Chen, Chenghao; Li, Jiaying; Fan, Jiewei; Xiang, Wenzhou; Li, Xiang; Wang, Guanghua

    2016-08-01

    A Gram-stain-negative, non-motile, non-spore-forming, rod-shaped bacterium, designated strain GYP-24T, was isolated from the culture broth of a marine microalga, Picochlorum sp. 122. Phylogenetic analyses based on 16S rRNA gene sequences indicated that strain GYP-24T forms a robust cluster with H.wangdoniaseohaensis KCTC 32177T (95.8 % sequence similarity) in the family Flavobacteriaceae. Growth of strain GYP-24T was observed at 15, 22, 28, 30, 33 and 37 °C (optimal 30-33 °C), pH 6.0-10.0 (optimal pH 7.0-8.0) and in the presence of 0.5-4 % (w/v) NaCl (optimal 2-3 %). The only menaquinone of strain GYP-24T was MK-6, and the G+C content of the genomic DNA was 36.9 mol%. The major fatty acid profile comprised iso-C17 : 0 3-OH, summed feature 3 (C16 : 1 ω7c/ω6c), iso-C15 : 1 G and iso-C15 : 0. The major polar lipids of strain GYP-24T were phosphatidylethanolamine, one unidentified phospholipid, three unidentified aminolipids and three unidentified lipids. Comprehensive analyses based on polyphasic characterization of GYP-24T indicated that it represents a novel species of a new genus, for which the name Gelatiniphilus marinus gen. nov., sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is GYP-24T (=KCTC 42903T=MCCC 1K01730T). An emended description of the genus Hwangdonia is also given.

  16. Gypenoside XLIX, a naturally occurring gynosaponin, PPAR-alpha dependently inhibits LPS-induced tissue factor expression and activity in human THP-1 monocytic cells

    SciTech Connect

    Huang, Tom Hsun-Wei; Van Hoan Tran; Roufogalis, Basil D.; Li Yuhao . E-mail: yuhao@pharm.usyd.edu.au

    2007-01-01

    Tissue factor (TF) is involved not only in the progression of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases, but is also associated with tumor growth, metastasis, and angiogenesis and hence may be an attractive target for directed cancer therapeutics. Gynostemma pentaphyllum (GP) is widely used in the treatment of various cardiovascular diseases including atherosclerosis, as well as cancers. Gypenoside (Gyp) XLIX, a dammarane-type glycoside, is one of the prominent components in GP. We have recently reported Gyp XLIX to be a potent peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-alpha activator. Here we demonstrate that Gyp XLIX (0-300 {mu}M) concentration dependently inhibited TF promoter activity after induction by the inflammatory stimulus lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in human monocytic THP-1 cells transfected with promoter reporter constructs pTF-LUC. Furthermore, Gyp XLIX inhibited LPS-induced TF mRNA and protein overexpression in THP-1 monocyte cells. Its inhibition of LPS-induced TF hyperactivity was further confirmed by chromogenic enzyme activity assay. The activities of Gyp XLIX reported in this study were similar to those of Wy-14643, a potent synthetic PPAR-alpha activator. Furthermore, the Gyp XLIX-induced inhibitory effect on TF luciferase activity was completely abolished in the presence of the PPAR-alpha selective antagonist MK-886. The present findings suggest that Gyp XLIX inhibits LPS-induced TF overexpression and enhancement of its activity in human THP-1 monocytic cells via PPAR-alpha-dependent pathways. The data provide new insights into the basis of the use of the traditional Chinese herbal medicine G. pentaphyllum for the treatment of cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, as well as cancers.

  17. Modeling and Simulation of Military Tactical Logistics Distribution

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-12-01

    helicopters : CH -147D Chinook and CH - 146 Griffon , and three classes of trucks: LSVW (Light Support Vehicle Wheeled), MLVW (Medium...Sp ee d (k m /h ) C os t pe r ho ur ($ ) C om m od iti es CH -147D Chinook 12.2 8 800 220 8000 K1,K2,K3 CH - 146 Griffon 1.9 1 550 200 5000 K2 T ru ck s...transportation assets, e.g., Heavy Logistics Vehicle Wheeled (HLVW) cargo trucks, CH -147D Chinook helicopters , indexed by v, K set of

  18. The 20TH Annual Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition: Building a Generation of Robotists

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2012-11-26

    the obstacle must have at least six feet of driving space for the vehicles. Figure 5: Lawrence Technological University - vuLTUre 2.0, on the...3 Hosei Active 2012 865 9:28 4 Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Reagle V 765 6:56 5 Lawrence Technological University vuLTUre 2.0 6...Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay IIT Bombay 1044.00 7 U.S. Naval Academy Robo-Goat 1041.67 8 Lawrence Technological University vuLTUre 2 1033.67

  19. Probabilistic Deviation Detection and Optimal Thresholds

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2014-01-01

    A basic tank unit with the ability to inflict high damage Vulture A basic mobile ground unit Wraith An aerial attack unit with the power of...Ratio elicitation Marine Zergling Vulture Hydralisk 5,000 1x lowerbound -0.5 -1.0 -0.5 -1.0 5x lowerbound -0.2 -0.25 -0.3 -0.2 5x upperbound...for Terran Marines, Zerg Zerglings, Terran Vultures and Zerg Hydralisks. While a useful exploration would be to determine which set of features

  20. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Launch Pad Avian Abatement Efforts Including Related KSC Road Kill Reduction Effort

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schlierf, Roland; Hight, Ron; Payne, Stephen J.; Shaffer, John P.; Missimer, Brad; Willis, Christopher

    2007-01-01

    While birds might seem harmless, there's a good reason for the concern. During the July 2005 launch of Discovery on mission STS-1 14, a vulture soaring around the launch pad impacted the shuttle's external tank just after liftoff. With a vulture's average weight ranging from 3 to 5 pounds. a strike at a critical point on the Shuttle -- like the nose or wing leading thermal protection panels -- could cause catastrophic damage to the vehicle. The foam chunk that fatefully struck Columbia's wing in 2003 weighed only 1.7 pounds. (Cheryl L. Mansfield "Bye Bye Birdies" 2006) To address this issue, NASA formed an "Avian Abatement Team". The team goal is to have safer Shuttle missions by reducing the vulture population at KSC near the pad area thereby reducing the probability of another vulture strike during a Shuttle launch.

  1. Optimal Alignment of Search and Rescue Response Posture with Historical Incident Occurrence

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2014-04-01

    Rempel, M. (2005), Determining Optimal Locations for CASARA Units using Multi-Objective Genetic Algorithms, (TR 2005-025) DRDC – Centre for...Air assistance in locating a missing 72 YOF Alzheimer patient who has wandered off into the woods and swampy area near Tweed, ON. 424 Sqn Griffon R491

  2. Archie to SAM: A Short Operational History of Ground-Based Air Defense

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2005-08-01

    168 77 Helicopter kill in Grenada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170 78 Helicopter kill in...188 83 Griffon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189 84 Galosh 1...War I, Krupp designers at Bofors in Sweden worked out the details of a new 88 mm gun in the interwar years and returned to Germany with the new model

  3. Biotransformations of 6',7'-dihydroxybergamottin and 6',7'-epoxybergamottin by the citrus-pathogenic fungi diminish cytochrome P450 3A4 inhibitory activity

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Penicillium digitatum, as well as five other citrus pathogenic species, (P. ulaiense Link, Geotrichum citri Link, Botrytis cinerea P. Micheli ex Pers., Lasiodiplodia theobromae (Pat.)Griffon & Maubl. and Phomopsis citri (teleomorph Diaporthe citri)) was observed to convert 6',7'-epoxybergamottin (1)...

  4. Induction of p53-independent growth inhibition in lung carcinoma cell A549 by gypenosides

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Jung-Sen; Chiang, Tzu-Hsuan; Wang, Jinn-Shyan; Lin, Li-Ju; Chao, Wei-Chih; Inbaraj, Baskaran Stephen; Lu, Jyh-Feng; Chen, Bing-Huei

    2015-01-01

    The objectives of this study are to investigate antiproliferative effect and mechanisms of bioactive compounds from Gynostemma pentaphyllum (G. pentaphyllum) on lung carcinoma cell A549. Saponins, carotenoids and chlorophylls were extracted and fractionated by column chromatography, and were subjected to high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses. The saponin fraction, which consisted mainly of gypenoside (Gyp) XXII and XXIII, rather than the carotenoid and chlorophyll ones, was effective in inhibiting A549 cell growth in a concentration- and a time-dependent manner as evaluated using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. The estimated half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of Gyp on A549 cells was 30.6 μg/ml. Gyp was further demonstrated to induce an apparent arrest of the A549 cell cycle at both the S phase and the G2/M phase, accompanied by a concentration- and a time-dependent increase in the proportions of both the early and late apoptotic cells. Furthermore, Gyp down-regulated cellular expression of cyclin A and B as well as BCL-2, while up-regulated the expression of BAX, DNA degradation factor 35 KD, poly [ADP-ribose] polymerase 1, p53, p21 and caspase-3. Nevertheless, both the treatment of a p53 inhibitor, pifithrin-α, and the small hairpin RNA-mediated p53 knockdown in the A549 cells did not alter the growth inhibition effect induced by Gyp. As a result, the cell cycle arrest and apoptosis of A549 cells induced by Gyp would most likely proceed through p53-independent pathway(s). PMID:25781909

  5. Prospective, Randomized Ex Vivo Trial to Assess the Ideal Stapling Site for Endoscopic Fundoplication with Medigus Ultrasonic Surgical Endostapler

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Background and Aims. Endoscopic fundoplication is an emerging technique for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The aim of this study is to determine the ideal position of the staples in relation to gastroesophageal junction (GEJ). Methods. Ten endoscopic fundoplication procedures were performed in each group using fresh ex vivo porcine stomachs: Group A: 2 staples each at 3 cm above the GEJ and 180° apart; Group B: 2 staples at 3 cm and 90° apart; Group C: 2 staples at 4 cm and 180° apart; Group D: 3 staples at 3 cm with 90° between each staple (180° total). After the procedure, the stomach was gradually filled with water. Gastric yield pressure (GYP) was determined by detection of reflux of the water in esophagus or by rupture of staples. Results. Mean increase of GYPs (±SD) after the procedure was as follows: Group A: 16.9 ± 8.7; Group B: 8.1 ± 7.9; Group C: 12.2 ± 9.4; Group D: 22.7 ± 13.3. GYP in Group A and Group D was higher than Group B (p = 0.03 and p = 0.01, resp.). Conclusions. We recommend the placement of 3 staples at 3 cm distance from the GEJ, which resulted in the highest increase of GYP. PMID:27547219

  6. Waterborne Commerce of the United States, Calendar Year 1985. Part 3. Waterways and Harbors. Great Lakes.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1987-05-01

    NEASPRINT RAPED -.. NS6 15’N 01 l.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ....... 2651 PAPER AND PAPER9HAR.O -.... 1 1,774 0,0 ’ 45,49 120 £27. . . . .91,910 ....... 269...Part Clinton Harbor, 0ho------- ---------- 60, HI T Par1t .,-Laie, Mich.----------: ----------- 50, 77 Porn Gyp-a Hih.------ -- :---------- 50, 77

  7. 31. MAIN CANAL Photographic copy of historic photo, December ...

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

    31. MAIN CANAL - Photographic copy of historic photo, December 13, 1939 (original print in '1939 Annual Report of the Carlsbad Project,' located at the Carlsbad Irrigation District offices, Carlsbad, New Mexico) photographer unknown 'LINING MAIN CANAL AROUND GYP BEND' - Carlsbad Irrigation District, Main Canal, 4 miles North to 12 miles Southeast of Carlsbad, Carlsbad, Eddy County, NM

  8. Levels of six antibiotics used in China estimated by means of wastewater-based epidemiology.

    PubMed

    Yuan, Su-Fen; Liu, Ze-Hua; Huang, Ri-Ping; Yin, Hua; Dang, Zhi

    2016-01-01

    Due to lack of proper regulation, information about antibiotics consumption in many countries such as China is difficult to obtain. In this study, a simple method based on wastewater-based epidemiology was adopted to estimate their usage in four megacities of China. Six antibiotics (norfloxacin, ofloxacin, sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim, erythromycin and roxithromycin), which are the most frequently consumed antibiotics in China, were selected as the targets. Based on our results, Chongqing had the largest total annual consumption of the selected six antibiotics among the four megacities, followed by Guangzhou, then Hong Kong, with Beijing having the least, with values of 4.4 g/y/P, 4.0 g/y/P, 1.6 g/y/P, and 1.3 g/y/P, respectively. Compared with the daily consumption per capita in Italy, the estimated consumption levels of the selected six antibiotics in four cities of China were 12-41 times those of Italy. Our results suggested that the consumption of antibiotics in China was excessive.

  9. Laboratory Testing of a Fluidized-Bed Dry-Scrubbing Process for the Removal of Acidic Gases from a Simulated Incinerator Flue Gas

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1989-04-01

    Kuni and Levenspiel ) W0 Gildart clo,,itiat ion" Group ItI l rotI ed r desc r i bed in ASTM St arda rd C 110-87. 22 REFERENCES 1. W. M. Bradshaw...Cement; Lime; Gyp- sum, American Society for Testing and Materials, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1988. 3. D. Kuni and 0. Levenspiel , Fluidization

  10. Assessment of Mercury in Soils, Crops, Earthworms, and Water when Soil is Treated with Gypsum

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Flue gas desulfurization (FGD) gypsum from fossil fuel combustion has many potential uses in agriculture, but there is concern about the potential environmental effects of its elevated mercury (Hg) concentration. The wet limestone scrubbing process that removes sulfur from flue gas (and produces gyp...

  11. Phaeodactylibacter luteus sp. nov., isolated from the oleaginous microalga Picochlorum sp.

    PubMed

    Lei, Xueqian; Li, Yi; Wang, Guanghua; Chen, Yao; Lai, Qiliang; Chen, Zhangran; Zhang, Jingyan; Liao, Pingping; Zhu, Hong; Zheng, Wei; Zheng, Tianling

    2015-08-01

    A Gram-staining-negative, orange-pigmented, non-motile, aerobic bacterial strain, designated GYP20T, was isolated from a culture of the alga Picochlorum sp., a promising feedstock for biodiesel production, which was isolated from the India Ocean. Growth was observed at temperatures from 20 to 37 °C, salinities from 0 to 3% and pH from 5 to 9.Mg2+ and Ca2+ ions were required for growth. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing revealed that the strain was a member of the genus Phaeodactylibacter, which belongs to the family Saprospiraceae. Strain GYP20T was most closely related to Phaeodactylibacter xiamenensis KD52T (95.5% sequence similarity). The major fatty acids were iso-C15 : 1 G, iso-C15 : 0, iso-C17 : 0 3-OH and summed feature 3. The predominant respiratory quinone was menaquinone-7 (MK-7). The polar lipids of strain GYP20T were found to consist of diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylglycerol, four unidentified glycolipids, two unidentified phospholipids and three unidentified aminolipids. According to its morphology, physiology, fatty acid composition and 16S rRNA sequence data, the novel strain most appropriately belongs to the genus Phaeodactylibacter, but can readily be distinguished from Phaeodactylibacter xiamenensis GYP20T. The name Phaeodactylibacter luteus sp. nov. is proposed with the type strain GYP20T ( = MCCC 1F01222T = KCTC 42180T).

  12. Defining a Simulation Capability Hierarchy for the Modeling of a SeaBase Enabler (SBE)

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-09-01

    Services, Island Engineering, General Atomics, Ultra Poly Inc., Griffon Hovercraft Group, Applica Inc., and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT...products and ensure that there was quality control that matched user’s needs with results. The VV&A process seems to have led to specific tools for...into the scenario. The third was the resolution control of AABM being able to adjust force levels, making them scalable. There are several AABM

  13. Combined Task and Physical Demands Analyses towards a Comprehensive Human Work Model

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2014-09-01

    the task hierarchy) that exert forces and moments on neck joints along with any head -borne mass. These low level tasks clearly overlap with the...and whole missions. The result is a comprehensive model of tasks and associated physical demands from which one can estimate the accumulative neck ...Griffon Helicopter aircrew (Pilots and Flight Engineers) reported neck pain particularly when wearing Night Vision Goggles (NVGs) (Forde et al. , 2011

  14. Spring-Based Helmet System Support Prototype to Address Aircrew Neck Strain

    DTIC Science & Technology

    The Royal Canadian Air Force Griffon helicopter aircrew are known to have extremely high incidence of chronic, debilitating neck pain. Fischer et al...2013) identified that unbalanced moments due to head-borne equipment (i.e. helmet with NVG ) were a particular concern since the current solution was...to add more weight (battery pack and counterweight (CW)) as a counterbalancing force. Three concepts were proposed to improve the helmet- NVG system

  15. Corona: America’s First Satellite Program

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1995-01-01

    which uncovered Soviet antiballistic missile activity. Construction of the GALOSH sites around Moscow and the GRIFFON site near Leningrad, together...workhorse of the CORONA system, three camera models with different resolutions were the principal difference between the versions, KH-4, KII-4A, and RI-I-4B...float long enough, if the air catch failed, for a water recovery by helicopter launched from a surface ship. While the vehicle was still in the

  16. Is There a Place for Elite Forces in the Canadian Army?

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-11-02

    support of a mountain capability (forty-eight CH 146 Griffons are available from the three medium- weight brigades). Although the first two types of...which are significantly different from the ordinary army. He does, however, caveat this by suggesting these categories are a model and not a...Actual full-time amphibious troops, modeled on the British Royal Marines or United States Marine Corps, are not mentioned, but reference to

  17. MSIAC Journal. Volume 3, Issue 1, March 2008

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2008-03-01

    there were also two Sim Radio machines to emulate the communications networks. In total there were six CH - 146 Griffon , two Chinook and two AH-64...TASK NUMBER 5f. WORK UNIT NUMBER 7. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES) Modeling and Simulation Information Analysis Center (MSIAC...unclassified Standard Form 298 (Rev. 8-98) Prescribed by ANSI Std Z39-18 http://www.dod-msiac.org/ 2MSIAC Journal Volume 3, Issue 1 The Modeling and

  18. SAREX 2007 Search Event Data Analysis

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2009-02-01

    Gander CH -149 (Cormorant) SAREX 3 417 – 439 – 444 Goose Bay – Bagotville – Cold Lake CH - 146 ( Griffon ) SAREX4 442 Comox CC-130 (Hercules) SAREX...than a real fuselage but will have the same coating as a real one; target has to be small since it is carried by helicopter ). • TARGET 3: Fuselage...Identifiers, such as equipment model designation, trade name, military project code name, geographic location may also be included. If possible

  19. Canadian Forces Project Land Force ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance)

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-11-02

    within TCCCS • Conduct experiments to link with ERSTA Griffon, CP-140 Aurora, UAV • Confirmation of STANAG 7085 requirement Tactical UAV Sensors $2.5...Deliverables • Schedule • STANAG 4586 and the Canadian effort • EX ROBUST RAM, ISTAR and the Pointer UAV lessons learned Common Operating Picture (CFCS) CFISR...requirements • Continue validation of STANAG 4586 $4.5 M Acquire Risk Reduction Units • Conduct integration tests in conjunction with Command Support Pilot

  20. Soaring flight in Guinea

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Idrac, P

    1920-01-01

    The term soaring is applied here to the flight of certain large birds which maneuver in the air without moving their wings. The author explains the methods of his research and here gives approximate figures for the soaring flight of the Egyptian Vulture and the African White backed Vulture. Figures are given in tabular form for relative air speed per foot per second, air velocity per foot per second, lift/drag ratio, and selected coefficients. The author argues that although the figures given were taken from a very limited series of observations, they have nevertheless thrown some light on the use by birds of the internal energy of the air.

  1. Comprehensive overexpression analysis of cyclic-di-GMP signalling proteins in the phytopathogen Pectobacterium atrosepticum reveals diverse effects on motility and virulence phenotypes.

    PubMed

    Tan, H; West, J A; Ramsay, J P; Monson, R E; Griffin, J L; Toth, I K; Salmond, G P C

    2014-07-01

    Bis-(3'-5')-cyclic dimeric guanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP) is a ubiquitous bacterial signalling molecule produced by diguanylate cyclases of the GGDEF-domain family. Elevated c-di-GMP levels or increased GGDEF protein expression is frequently associated with the onset of sessility and biofilm formation in numerous bacterial species. Conversely, phosphodiesterase-dependent diminution of c-di-GMP levels by EAL- and HD-GYP-domain proteins is often accompanied by increased motility and virulence. In this study, we individually overexpressed 23 predicted GGDEF, EAL or HD-GYP-domain proteins encoded by the phytopathogen Pectobacterium atrosepticum strain SCRI1043. MS-based detection of c-di-GMP and 5'-phosphoguanylyl-(3'-5')-guanosine in these strains revealed that overexpression of most genes promoted modest 1-10-fold changes in cellular levels of c-di-GMP, with the exception of the GGDEF-domain proteins ECA0659 and ECA3374, which induced 1290- and 7660-fold increases, respectively. Overexpression of most EAL domain proteins increased motility, while overexpression of most GGDEF domain proteins reduced motility and increased poly-β-1,6-N-acetyl-glucosamine-dependent flocculation. In contrast to domain-based predictions, overexpression of the EAL protein ECA3549 or the HD-GYP protein ECA3548 increased c-di-GMP concentrations and reduced motility. Most overexpression constructs altered the levels of secreted cellulases, pectinases and proteases, confirming c-di-GMP regulation of virulence in Pe. atrosepticum. However, there was no apparent correlation between virulence-factor induction and the domain class expressed or cellular c-di-GMP levels, suggesting that regulation was in response to specific effectors within the network, rather than total c-di-GMP concentration. Finally, we demonstrated that the cellular localization patterns vary considerably for GGDEF/EAL/HD-GYP proteins, indicating it is a likely factor restricting specific interactions within the c

  2. [Index screening and comprehensive evaluation of phenotypic traits of low nitrogen tolerance using BILs population derived from Dongxiang wild rice (Oryza rufipogon Griff)].

    PubMed

    Hu, Biao-lin; Li, Xia; Wan, Yong; Qiu, Zai-hui; Nie, Yuan-yuan; Xie, Jian-kun

    2015-08-01

    To identify the low nitrogen tolerance of Dongxiang wild rice (DXWR) and its progenies, ten phenotypic traits including plant height (PH), heading day (HD), panicle length (PL), number of effective tillers per plant (NETP), number of filled grains per panicle (NFGP), number of grains per panicle (NGP), grain density (GD), spikelet fertility (SF), 1000-grain mass (TGM) and grain yield per plant (GYP) were studied under normal and low nitrogen treatments, using backcross inbred lines (BILs) of Xieqingzao B//DXWR/Xieqingzao B in BC1 F12. Comprehensive evaluation on the low nitrogen tolerance of the BILs population was conducted using principal component analysis and the subordinate function. The evaluation results indicated that the low nitrogen tolerance of the line 116, 143 and 157 was the strongest, which could be served as the intermediate materials for genetic studies on the low nitrogen tolerance of DXWR and breeding for the low nitrogen tolerance in rice. The optimal regression equation of the low nitrogen tolerance in rice was established using stepwise regression analysis. The relative values of five traits including PH, NGP, SF, TGM and GYP were screened out and could be used as comprehensive evaluation indices for the low nitrogen tolerance in the whole growth stage. Therefore, more attention should be paid to the relative values of these five traits, especially for NGP and GYP, in the genetic improvement of the low nitrogen tolerance in rice.

  3. Dietary controls on extinction versus survival among avian megafauna in the late Pleistocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fox-Dobbs, Kena; Stidham, Thomas A.; Bowen, Gabriel J.; Emslie, Steven D.; Koch, Paul L.

    2006-08-01

    The late Pleistocene extinction decimated terrestrial megafaunal communities in North America, but did not affect marine mammal populations. In coastal regions, marine megafauna may have provided a buffer that allowed some large predators or scavengers, such as California condors (Gymnogyps californianus), to survive into the Holocene. To track the influence of marine resources on avifaunas we analyzed the carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen isotope composition of collagen from late Pleistocene vultures and raptors, including species that survived the extinction (condor, bald eagle, golden eagle) and extinct species (teratorn, black vulture). At the Rancho La Brea and McKittrick tar pits of southern California, isotope values for extinct teratorns (Teratornis merriami, n = 10) and black vultures (Coragyps occidentalis, n = 8) show that they fed entirely in a terrestrial C3 ecosystem. In contrast, La Brea condors cluster into two groups, one with a terrestrial diet (n = 4), and the other with a strong marine influence (n = 5). At localities in the American southwest, Texas, and Florida, where condors became extinct, they have isotope values indicating entirely terrestrial diets (n = 10). Our results suggest that dependence upon terrestrial megafaunal carrion as a food source led to the extinction of inland California condor populations and coastal populations of teratorns and black vultures at the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary, whereas use of marine foods allowed coastal condor populations to survive.

  4. India. Fulbright-Hays Summer Seminar Abroad 1994 (India).

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dickler, Paul

    This curriculum packet on politics and international relations in India contains an essay, three lessons and a variety of charts, maps, and additional readings to support the unit. The essay is entitled "India 1994: The Peacock and the Vulture." The lessons include: (1) "The Kashmir Dispute"; (2) "India: Domestic Order and…

  5. Atmospheric radiation measurement program facilities newsletter, September 2002.

    SciTech Connect

    Holdridge, D. J.

    2002-10-02

    This Atmospheric radiation measurement program facilities newsletter covers the following topics: The Raman lidar at the SGP central facility is receiving upgrades to its environmental controls; The instrument tower at Okmulgee State Park is receiving upgrades to prevent Turkey Vultures from roosting on the booms.

  6. Wrong but seminal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seeman, Jeffrey I.; Cantrill, Stuart

    2016-03-01

    Publishing the wrong interpretation of experimental data can result in an immediate horde of chemists feeding on the error like vultures. On rare occasions, this phenomenon can open up an entire new field of science -- and the structure of ferrocene is a case in point.

  7. Predatory bird populations in the east Mojave Desert, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Knight, R.L.; Camp, R.J.; Boarman, W.I.; Knight, H.A.L.

    1999-01-01

    We surveyed 7 species of predatory birds weekly during a 12-month period (December 1992 through November 1993) in the east Mojave Desert, California. The Common Raven (Corvus corax) was the most frequently observed species with an average of 6.9 sightings per 100 km. Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura), Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), Loggerhead Shrikes (Lanius ludovicianus), American Kestrels (Falco sparverius), Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), and Prairie Falcons (Falco mexicanus) were seen in decreasing order of frequency of observation through the study period. Ravens, Red-tailed Hawks, Loggerhead Shrikes, American Kestrels, and Prairie Falcons were seen throughout the year. Turkey Vultures were not present during winter months, while Golden Eagles were seen only during November and December. Turkey Vultures, Red-tailed Hawks, and ravens were most numerous on agricultural lands, while Loggerhead Shrikes were most Common at urban areas. Raven numbers increased with increasing number of linear rights-of-way parallel to the survey route. Perching was the most common behavior type, although Turkey Vultures and ravens were often observed soaring, flying, or standing on the ground near highways. Transmission powerline towers and telephone poles were used as perch sites disproportionately to availability.

  8. Role of Stat3 and ErbB2 in Breast Cancer

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-10-01

    Reportable Outcomes Papers published 1.--Geletu, M., Chaize, C., Arulanandam, R., Vultur, A., Kowolik, C., Anagnostopoulou, A., Jove , R. and Raptis...1. Yu,H., Pardoll,D., & Jove ,R. STATs in cancer inflammation and immunity: a leading role for STAT3. Nat. Rev. Cancer 9, 798-809 (2009). 2

  9. 75 FR 1609 - Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Beddown of Training F-35A Aircraft

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-01-12

    ... Department of the Air Force Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Beddown of Training F-35A Aircraft AGENCY: Air Education and Training and Air National Guard, United States Air Force... at Wickenburg High School Media Center, 1090 S. Vulture Mine Road, Wickenburg, Arizona;...

  10. Chronic lead exposure is epidemic in obligate scavenger populations in eastern North America.

    PubMed

    Behmke, Shannon; Fallon, Jesse; Duerr, Adam E; Lehner, Andreas; Buchweitz, John; Katzner, Todd

    2015-06-01

    Lead is a prominent and highly toxic contaminant with important impacts to wildlife. To understand the degree to which wildlife populations are chronically exposed, we quantified lead levels within American black vultures (Coragyps atratus; BLVU) and turkey vultures (Cathartes aura; TUVU), two species that are useful as environmental sentinels in eastern North America. Every individual sampled (n=108) had bone lead levels indicative of chronic exposure to anthropogenic lead (BLVU: x¯=36.99 ± 55.21 mg Pb/kg tissue (±SD); TUVU: x¯=23.02 ± 18.77 mg/kg). Only a few showed evidence of recent lead exposure (BLVU liver: x¯=0.78 ± 0.93 mg/kg; TUVU liver: x¯=0.55 ± 0.34 mg/kg). Isotopic ratios suggested multiple potential sources of lead including ammunition, gasoline, coal-fired power plants, and zinc smelting. Black and turkey vultures range across eastern North America, from Quebec to Florida and individuals may traverse thousands of kilometers annually. The extent to which vultures are exposed suggests that anthropogenic lead permeates eastern North American ecosystems to a previously unrecognized degree. Discovery of an epidemic of chronic lead exposure in such widespread and common species and the failure of soft-tissue sampling to diagnose this pattern has dramatic implications for understanding modern wildlife and human health concerns.

  11. 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.

  12. Census U.S. Civil Aircraft Calendar Year 1993

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1993-12-31

    Turbojet 1.020 Helicopter 1,977 Total 10,692 2-3 TABLE 2.2 AIRCRAFT REPORTED IN OPERATION BY AIR CARRIERS, BY MANUFACTURER AND MODEL 1984-1993 Aircraft...2 41 1 0 146 146 A-49 U.S. REGISTERED CIVIL AIRCRAFT BY MANUFACTURER AND MODEL -NUMBER OF SEATS PISTON AS OF DECEMBER 31, 1993...AS OF DECEMBER 31, 1993 Total General TotalEngine Make Engine Model Engine Power Engines Air Carrier Aviation Aircraft ROLL-ROYCE ........... GRIFFON

  13. Assessment of Helmet Mounted HUD Symbology Referencing Systems

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2000-03-30

    model utilized in the experiment was based on performance data for a Bell412 helicopter . A Stability Augmentation System (SAS...Instructor Pilot 3yrs. • CH 136 Kiowa FSI • CH -135 NVG IP 5yrs. • CH 139 Jet Ranger • CT 114 Tutor • CH - 146 NVG SPEC 2yrs • CH 135 Twin Huey • CH 146 ... Griffon 6 • CT 134 Musketeer • 3300 Overall • C 90KmgAir 2 No • CT 114 Tutor • CH 139 Jet Ranger • UTIAS/DCIEM Sea • CH 139 Jet Ranger • CH 135

  14. Serologic evidence of exposure of raptors to influenza A virus.

    PubMed

    Redig, Patrick T; Goyal, Sagar M

    2012-06-01

    Serum or plasma samples from raptors that prey or scavenge upon aquatic birds were tested by a commercially available blocking enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the evidence of antibodies to influenza A virus. Samples were taken from birds (n = 616) admitted to two rehabilitation centers in the United States. In addition, samples from 472 migrating peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) trapped on autumnal and vernal migrations for banding purposes were also tested. Only bald eagles were notably seropositive (22/406). One each of peregrine falcon, great horned owl (Bubo virginianus), and Cooper's hawk (Accipiter cooperi) from a total of 472, 81, and 100, respectively, were also positive. None of the turkey vultures (n = 21) or black vultures (n = 8) was positive. No clinical signs referable to avian influenza were seen in any bird at the time of capture. These data indicate that, among raptors, bald eagles do have exposure to influenza A viruses.

  15. Raptor road surveys in South America

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ellis, D.H.; Glinski, R.L.; Smith, D.G.

    1990-01-01

    Twenty-six (23 traveling and three point) raptor roadside surveys were conducted during a 29,000 km expedition through nine nations of South America. During roadside surveys, we tallied 41 of the 87 (47%) diurnal raptor species (including vultures) that occur in South America. The number of species observed per route varied from 17 in the wet savanna of Venezuela to only two species recorded in the harsh Atacama Desert and the dry montane grasslands of Chile and Peru. Raptor density (non-vultures) varied from 1 per 67 km in the Atacama Desert to more than 1 per km in agricultural areas where caracaras and other species that utilize disturbed habitats were common. Responses of raptor communities to deforestation and other habitat disturbances are discussed. While certain habitat modifications potentially increase raptor abundance and diversity, the alteration of primary forest has the opposite effect, at least on diversity.

  16. The Andean condor as a research surrogate for the California condor

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carpenter, J.W.; Dein, F.J.; Ellis, D.H.

    1985-01-01

    Captive propagation of Andean Condors (Vultur gryphus) was initiated at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in 1966 in anticipation of the need to apply resulting techniques to the captive breeding of the endangered California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus). This report summarizes the progress made on this Andean Condor breeding and research project, with emphasis on recent fostering/cross-fostering studies. These studies include: (a) fostering eggs/chicks between Andean Condors; (b) fostering of two chicks each to Andean Condor pairs; (c) cross-fostering of a Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) to Andean Condors; and (d) cross-fostering an Andean Condor chick to wild California Condors. Implications of these studies for the recovery of the California Condor will be discussed.

  17. The Andean condor as a research surrogate for the California condor

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carpenter, J.W.; Dein, F.J.; Ellis, D.H.

    1985-01-01

    Captive propagation of Andean Condors (Vultur gryphus) was initiated at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in 1966 in anticipation of the need to apply resulting techniques to the captive breeding of the endangered California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus). This report summarizes the progress made on this Andean Condor breeding and research project, with emphasis on recent fostering/cross-fostering studies. These studies include: a) fostering eggs/chicks between Andean Condors; b) fostering of two chicks each to Andean Condor pairs; c) cross-fostering of a TurkeyVulture (Cathartes aura) to Andean Condors; and d) cross-fostering an Andean Condor chick to wild California Condors. Implications of these studies for the recovery of the California Condor will be discussed.

  18. Lyra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murdin, P.

    2000-11-01

    (the Lyre; abbrev. Lyr, gen. Lyrae; area 286 sq. deg.) A northern constellation which lies between Hercules and Cygnus, and culminates at midnight in early July. It is an ancient constellation pattern, which was associated with an eagle or vulture in the Indian subcontinent and Arab countries, and with the mythical lyre invented by Hermes and given by Apollo to Orpheus in ancient Greece. Its brig...

  19. Environmental Assessment for the Construction of a Photovoltaic Solar Array at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-10-01

    boulders up to one foot in diameter, well-rounded cobbles of cherts and some cobbles of quartz, limestone, and igneous rocks . The westernmost portion of...Vulture (Cathartes aura), Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), Rock Dove (Columba livia), Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura), Chihuahuan Raven (Corvus...Amistad Reservoir. The deep canyons of the Rio Grande, Pecos, and Devils Rivers are characterized by numerous rock shelters, which were used by the

  20. Lead in the tissues of terrestrial raptors in southern Ontario, Canada, 1995-2001.

    PubMed

    Martin, Pamela A; Campbell, Douglas; Hughes, Kimberley; McDaniel, Tana

    2008-02-25

    Terrestrial raptors which feed on upland hunted game species may increase their risk to lead exposure and lead poisoning by ingesting lead shot found in the tissues of prey. Lead exposure in 225 individuals of nineteen species of terrestrial raptors, collected as carcasses in southern Ontario from 1995-2001, was examined through the analysis of bone, liver and kidney tissues. In this study, one red-tailed hawk contained liver lead concentrations and exhibited signs consistent with lead poisoning. Liver and kidney concentrations of one turkey vulture were also significantly higher than that associated with subclinical effects. This same bird, plus another turkey vulture and a northern harrier, had elevated bone lead concentrations (>10 microg/g dw) associated with possible toxicity. Turkey vultures had the highest mean concentrations of lead in bone and kidney compared to other raptor species. While it appeared only a single bird suffered acute lead poisoning, lead levels exceeded threshold concentrations associated with subclinical or acute toxicity in 4 of 225, almost 2%, of terrestrial raptors assessed. Given the association between lead exposure in raptors and hunting of game species reported in other studies, the continued use of lead shot for upland hunting in Ontario likely remains as one of the primary sources of lead and a continued risk to these birds of prey.

  1. Temporal, Spatial, and Diurnal Patterns in Avian Activity at the Shuttle Landing Facility, John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Larson, Vickie L.; Rowe, Sean P.; Breininger, David R.

    1997-01-01

    Spatial and temporal patterns in bird abundance within the five-mile airspace at the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) on John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida, USA were investigated for purposes of quantifying Bird Aircraft Strike Hazards (BASH). The airspace is surrounded by the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (MINWR) which provides habitat for approximately 331 resident and migratory bird species. Potential bird strike hazards were greatest around sunrise and sunset for most avian taxonomic groups, including wading birds, most raptors, pelicans, gulls/terns, shorebirds, and passerines. Turkey Vultures and Black Vultures were identified as a primary threat to aircraft operations and were represented in 33% of the samples. Diurnal vulture activity varied seasonally with the development of air thermals in the airspace surrounding the SLF. Variation in the presence and abundance of migratory species was shown for American Robins, swallows, and several species of shorebirds. Analyses of bird activities provides for planning of avionics operations during periods of low-dsk and allows for risk minimization measures during periods of high-risk.

  2. In-flight turbulence benefits soaring birds

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mallon, Julie M; Bildstein, Keith L.; Katzner, Todd E.

    2015-01-01

    Birds use atmospheric updrafts to subsidize soaring flight. We observed highly variable soaring flight by Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus) and Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) in Virginia, USA, that was inconsistent with published descriptions of terrestrial avian flight. Birds engaging in this behavior regularly deviated vertically and horizontally from linear flight paths. We observed the soaring flight behavior of these 2 species to understand why they soar in this manner and when this behavior occurs. Vultures used this type of soaring mainly at low altitudes (<50 m), along forest edges, and when conditions were poor for thermal development. Because of the tortuous nature of this flight, we describe it as “contorted soaring.” The primary air movement suitable to subsidize flight at this altitude and under these atmospheric conditions is small-scale, shear-induced turbulence, which our results suggest can be an important resource for soaring birds because it permits continuous subsidized flight when other types of updraft are not available.

  3. Assessment of Trace Element Concentrations in Birds of Prey in Korea.

    PubMed

    Kim, Jungsoo; Oh, Jong-Min

    2016-07-01

    This study presents liver concentrations of trace elements of cinereous vultures (Aegypius monachus), common buzzards (Buteo buteo), common kestrels (Falco tinnunculus), and Eurasian eagle owls (Bubo bubo) collected in Korea from 2007 to 2008. Iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), and cadmium (Cd) concentrations in common kestrel juveniles were greater than in other juveniles of birds of prey. Adult cinereous vultures had greater Fe, Pb, and Cd concentrations than in those of other species, but common kestrels had greater Mn and Cu concentrations than in those of other birds of prey. Zinc concentrations in Eurasian eagle owl juveniles and adults were greater than in juveniles and adults of other species, respectively. In common kestrels, Fe, Cu, Pb, and Cd concentrations were significantly greater in adults than in juveniles. In Eurasian eagle owls, only Pb concentrations were greater in adults than in juveniles. Essential elements, such as Fe, Zn, Mn, and Cu concentrations, were within the range of other birds of prey studies. Seventeen individual birds of prey (30 %) were at a level considered Pb exposed (6-30 µg/g dw). This is a greater proportion than reported earlier in herons, egrets, and other birds from Korea. Elevated Pb concentration might be attributed to ingestion of Pb shot and bullet fragments for cinereous vultures and common buzzards, and urbanization for common kestrels. Cadmium concentrations in birds of prey were within the background concentrations (<3 µg/g dw) for wild birds.

  4. Topography and morphology of retinal ganglion cells in Falconiforms: a study on predatory and carrion-eating birds.

    PubMed

    Inzunza, O; Bravo, H; Smith, R L; Angel, M

    1991-02-01

    The topographic distribution of retinal ganglion cells and their cell body size have been studied in five Falconiform species, including predatory (chilean eagle Buteo fuscenses australis, and sparrow hawk Falco sparverius) and carrion-eating (chimango caracara Milvago chimango; condor Vultur gryphus, and black vulture Coragyps atratus) birds. All these species had a well defined nasal fovea and a horizontal streak. Instead of a temporal fovea as in eagles and hawks, an afoveate temporal area is present in chimango, condor, and vulture. The highest ganglion cell density was found in the nasal fovea of Falco and Buteo with 65,000 and 62,000 cells/mm2, respectively. A negative correlation between ganglion cell density and cell body size was found in all the species studied. The specializations of the temporal retina showed a rather homogenous population of medium sized neurons, while the nasal foveas showed a homogeneous population of smaller ganglion cells. Finally, the peripheral retina showed a heterogeneous population of large, medium, and small ganglion cells. Predatory behavior appears to be closely related to foveal specializations, and is best exemplified in the eagle and hawk and to a lesser extent in the chimango.

  5. High-throughput gender identification of Accipitridae eagles with real-time PCR using TaqMan probes.

    PubMed

    Chang, H-W; Gu, D-L; Su, S-H; Chang, C-C; Cheng, C-A; Huang, H-W; Yao, C-T; Chou, T-C; Chuang, L-Y; Cheng, C-C

    2008-07-01

    The objective was to develop high-throughput gender identification of eagles. Based on BLAST and alignment analyses, the CHD-Z and CHD-W sequences of nine species of eagles were highly homologous with Spilornis cheela hoya (S. c. hoya); therefore, TaqMan probes were designed to target their CHD-ZW-common and CHD-W-specific regions. In S. c. hoya, genders were identified using TaqMan-based, real-time PCR (amplified by P2/P8 primers); this method was validated with anatomically confirmed controls (one of each gender). Both genders had high intensities of the HEX-labeled (CHD-ZW-common) probe, whereas only females had high intensity of the FAM-labeled (CHD-W-specific) probe. The sequence of the CHD-W-specific probe designed for S. c. hoya was completely homologous with the CHD-W-specific region in Circaetus gallicus, Gyps indicus, and Gyps bengalensis, and was only one nucleotide different from those of Accipiter nisus, Spizaetus nipalensis, Aquila chrysaetos, Circus spilonotus, and Milvus migrans. For the CHD-ZW-common probe, all species listed were completely conserved. Using real-time PCR software, we established auto-calling of the genders of 15 individuals of S. c. hoya. In conclusion, this method provided accurate, high-throughput gender identification for S. c. hoya, and has considerable potential for identifying the gender of several related species of eagles.

  6. Progress in Understanding the Molecular Basis Underlying Functional Diversification of Cyclic Dinucleotide Turnover Proteins.

    PubMed

    Römling, Ute; Liang, Zhao-Xun; Dow, J Maxwell

    2017-03-01

    Cyclic di-GMP was the first cyclic dinucleotide second messenger described, presaging the discovery of additional cyclic dinucleotide messengers in bacteria and eukaryotes. The GGDEF diguanylate cyclase (DGC) and EAL and HD-GYP phosphodiesterase (PDE) domains conduct the turnover of cyclic di-GMP. These three unrelated domains belong to superfamilies that exhibit significant variations in function, and they include both enzymatically active and inactive members, with a subset involved in synthesis and degradation of other cyclic dinucleotides. Here, we summarize current knowledge of sequence and structural variations that underpin the functional diversification of cyclic di-GMP turnover proteins. Moreover, we highlight that superfamily diversification is not restricted to cyclic di-GMP signaling domains, as particular DHH/DHHA1 domain and HD domain proteins have been shown to act as cyclic di-AMP phosphodiesterases. We conclude with a consideration of the current limitations that such diversity of action places on bioinformatic prediction of the roles of GGDEF, EAL, and HD-GYP domain proteins.

  7. First report of oral colonization by Debaryomyces nepalensis in a dog.

    PubMed

    Moretti, Annabella; Fukushima, Kazutaka; Takizawa, Kayoko; Suzuki, Motofuni; Vidotto, Valerio; Cannizzo, Francesca T; Boncio, Luisa; Bollo, Enrico

    2007-10-01

    A stray, young male, wire-haired pointing griffon dog, found in a street of Perugia (Italy), was examined in order to check his health status. Two oropharyngeal swabs were collected in 24 h and streaked onto Sabouraud agar and after 6 days the yeasts colonies were transferred onto Malt agar. Ascospores were observed on Potato Dextrose Agar medium. The major ubiquinone of an isolated yeast was identified as ubiquinone-9 (Q-9), and genetical analyses were performed together with the type strains of Debaryomyces hansenii (var. hansenii and var. fabry), C. psychrophila and D. nepalensis type strain. The base sequences of ITS1 and ITS2, and D1/D2 domains of LSU rDNA completely coincided with those of D. nepalensis. From these results, the isolated yeast was identified as D. nepalensis. RAPD patterns between the two strains were found to be identical. The results indicate the first colonization of D. nepalensis in a dog.

  8. Assessing allowable take of migratory birds

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Runge, M.C.; Sauer, J.R.; Avery, M.L.; Blackwell, B.F.; Koneff, M.D.

    2009-01-01

    Legal removal of migratory birds from the wild occurs for several reasons, including subsistence, sport harvest, damage control, and the pet trade. We argue that harvest theory provides the basis for assessing the impact of authorized take, advance a simplified rendering of harvest theory known as potential biological removal as a useful starting point for assessing take, and demonstrate this approach with a case study of depredation control of black vultures (Coragyps atratus) in Virginia, USA. Based on data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey and other sources, we estimated that the black vulture population in Virginia was 91,190 (95% credible interval = 44,520?212,100) in 2006. Using a simple population model and available estimates of life-history parameters, we estimated the intrinsic rate of growth (rmax) to be in the range 7?14%, with 10.6% a plausible point estimate. For a take program to seek an equilibrium population size on the conservative side of the yield curve, the rate of take needs to be less than that which achieves a maximum sustained yield (0.5 x rmax). Based on the point estimate for rmax and using the lower 60% credible interval for population size to account for uncertainty, these conditions would be met if the take of black vultures in Virginia in 2006 was <3,533 birds. Based on regular monitoring data, allowable harvest should be adjusted annually to reflect changes in population size. To initiate discussion about how this assessment framework could be related to the laws and regulations that govern authorization of such take, we suggest that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act requires only that take of native migratory birds be sustainable in the long-term, that is, sustained harvest rate should be

  9. Assessing allowable take of migratory birds

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Runge, M.C.; Sauer, J.R.; Avery, M.L.; Blackwell, B.F.; Koneff, M.D.

    2009-01-01

    Legal removal of migratory birds from the wild occurs for several reasons, including subsistence, sport harvest, damage control, and the pet trade. We argue that harvest theory provides the basis for assessing the impact of authorized take, advance a simplified rendering of harvest theory known as potential biological removal as a useful starting point for assessing take, and demonstrate this approach with a case study of depredation control of black vultures (Coragyps atratus) in Virginia, USA. Based on data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey and other sources, we estimated that the black vulture population in Virginia was 91,190 (95% credible interval = 44,520?212,100) in 2006. Using a simple population model and available estimates of life-history parameters, we estimated the intrinsic rate of growth (rmax) to be in the range 7?14%, with 10.6% a plausible point estimate. For a take program to seek an equilibrium population size on the conservative side of the yield curve, the rate of take needs to be less than that which achieves a maximum sustained yield (0.5 x rmax). Based on the point estimate for rmax and using the lower 60% credible interval for population size to account for uncertainty, these conditions would be met if the take of black vultures in Virginia in 2006 was < 3,533 birds. Based on regular monitoring data, allowable harvest should be adjusted annually to reflect changes in population size. To initiate discussion about how this assessment framework could be related to the laws and regulations that govern authorization of such take, we suggest that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act requires only that take of native migratory birds be sustainable in the long-term, that is, sustained harvest rate should be < rmax. Further, the ratio of desired harvest rate to 0.5 x rmax may be a useful metric for ascertaining the applicability of specific requirements of the National Environmental Protection Act.

  10. Age-dependent survival of island vs. mainland populations of two avian scavengers: delving into migration costs.

    PubMed

    Sanz-Aguilar, Ana; De Pablo, Félix; Donázar, José Antonio

    2015-10-01

    Large terrestrial long-lived birds (including raptors) are typically sedentary on islands, even when they are migratory on the mainland. Density-dependent variation in the age at first breeding has been described as responsible for the long-term persistence of long-lived bird populations on islands. However, sedentary island populations may also benefit from higher survival rates derived from the absence of migration costs, especially for young individuals. Thus, sedentary island populations can mimic a natural experiment to study migration costs. We estimated the age-dependent survival of two sedentary raptors on the island of Menorca (Egyptian vultures Neophron percnopterus and red kites Milvus milvus) and compared these estimates with those reported for other migratory and sedentary populations. In Menorca, Egyptian vultures, but not red kites, showed low levels of human-related mortality resulting in extremely high survival probabilities, probably due to different diet choices and behavioral patterns. Juvenile Egyptian vultures and red kites in the studied population had lower survival probabilities than adults. This difference, however, was smaller than those reported for mainland migrant populations, which showed a lower juvenile survival rate. In fact, between-population comparisons suggested that survival of the young in migrant populations may be triggered by mortality factors in wintering areas. In contrast, adult survival may respond to mortality factors in breeding areas. Our results suggest that raptor species that become sedentary on islands may benefit from higher pre-breeder survival prospects in comparison with their mainland migrant counterparts. This fact, in combination with an earlier age at first reproduction, may facilitate their persistence.

  11. Exploring bird aerodynamics using radio-controlled models.

    PubMed

    Hoey, Robert G

    2010-12-01

    A series of radio-controlled glider models was constructed by duplicating the aerodynamic shape of soaring birds (raven, turkey vulture, seagull and pelican). Controlled tests were conducted to determine the level of longitudinal and lateral-directional static stability, and to identify the characteristics that allowed flight without a vertical tail. The use of tail-tilt for controlling small bank-angle changes, as observed in soaring birds, was verified. Subsequent tests, using wing-tip ailerons, inferred that birds use a three-dimensional flow pattern around the wing tip (wing tip vortices) to control adverse yaw and to create a small amount of forward thrust in gliding flight.

  12. A Capture to Remember: Monitoring the Health of Avian Scavengers on the Pacific Coast.

    PubMed

    Varland, Daniel E

    2015-09-01

    Because of concern over risks to the health of avian communities on the Washington and Oregon coasts, the nonprofit Coastal Raptors and other partners initiated a study where, to date, Coastal Raptors has live-captured and sampled 27 bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), 27 turkey vultures (Cathartes aura), and 6 common ravens (Corvus corax) for contaminants and disease study. In this article, the author highlights the events of one of the nearly 100 days on which trapping has occurred. An adult bald eagle was captured north of Ocean Shores, WA, USA, and the trapping team was visited by Quinault Indian Nation members.

  13. Shortfalls using second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides.

    PubMed

    Borst, G H A; Counotte, G H M

    2002-03-01

    Second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides can give rise to unexpected casualties in nontarget species in zoos. The first two offspring of a pair of turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) died of brodifacoum toxicosis. The adult birds fed rodenticide-killed mice to their offspring. There are previous case reports of small carnivorous birds (Dacelo novae-guinae and Tockus deckeni) killed eating poisoned (difenacoum and brodifacoum) mice. Even a granivorous species (Rollulus roulroul) died, probably by contamination of its food by cockroaches that transported the rodenticide.

  14. Identification of a cyclic-di-GMP-modulating response regulator that impacts biofilm formation in a model sulfate reducing bacterium

    PubMed Central

    Rajeev, Lara; Luning, Eric G.; Altenburg, Sara; Zane, Grant M.; Baidoo, Edward E. K.; Catena, Michela; Keasling, Jay D.; Wall, Judy D.; Fields, Matthew W.; Mukhopadhyay, Aindrila

    2014-01-01

    We surveyed the eight putative cyclic-di-GMP-modulating response regulators (RRs) in Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough that are predicted to function via two-component signaling. Using purified proteins, we examined cyclic-di-GMP (c-di-GMP) production or turnover in vitro of all eight proteins. The two RRs containing only GGDEF domains (DVU2067, DVU0636) demonstrated c-di-GMP production activity in vitro. Of the remaining proteins, three RRs with HD-GYP domains (DVU0722, DVUA0086, and DVU2933) were confirmed to be Mn2+-dependent phosphodiesterases (PDEs) in vitro and converted c-di-GMP to its linear form, pGpG. DVU0408, containing both c-di-GMP production (GGDEF) and degradation domains (EAL), showed c-di-GMP turnover activity in vitro also with production of pGpG. No c-di-GMP related activity could be assigned to the RR DVU0330, containing a metal-dependent phosphohydrolase HD-OD domain, or to the HD-GYP domain RR, DVU1181. Studies included examining the impact of overexpressed cyclic-di-GMP-modulating RRs in the heterologous host E. coli and led to the identification of one RR, DVU0636, with increased cellulose production. Evaluation of a transposon mutant in DVU0636 indicated that the strain was impaired in biofilm formation and demonstrated an altered carbohydrate:protein ratio relative to the D. vulgaris wild type biofilms. However, grown in liquid lactate/sulfate medium, the DVU0636 transposon mutant showed no growth impairment relative to the wild-type strain. Among the eight candidates, only the transposon disruption mutant in the DVU2067 RR presented a growth defect in liquid culture. Our results indicate that, of the two diguanylate cyclases (DGCs) that function as part of two-component signaling, DVU0636 plays an important role in biofilm formation while the function of DVU2067 has pertinence in planktonic growth. PMID:25120537

  15. Distinct sensory pathways in Vibrio cholerae El Tor and classical biotypes modulate cyclic dimeric GMP levels to control biofilm formation.

    PubMed

    Hammer, Brian K; Bassler, Bonnie L

    2009-01-01

    Quorum sensing (QS), or cell-cell communication in bacteria, is achieved through the production and subsequent response to the accumulation of extracellular signal molecules called autoinducers (AIs). To identify AI-regulated target genes in Vibrio cholerae El Tor (V. cholerae(El)), the strain responsible for the current cholera pandemic, luciferase expression was assayed in an AI(-) strain carrying a random lux transcriptional reporter library in the presence and absence of exogenously added AIs. Twenty-three genes were identified and shown to require the QS transcription factor, HapR, for their regulation. Several of the QS-dependent target genes, annotated as encoding hypothetical proteins, in fact encode HD-GYP proteins, phosphodiesterases that degrade the intracellular second messenger cyclic dimeric GMP (c-di-GMP), which is important for controlling biofilm formation. Indeed, overexpression of a representative QS-activated HD-GYP protein in V. cholerae(El) reduced the intracellular concentration of c-di-GMP, which in turn decreased exopolysaccharide production and biofilm formation. The V. cholerae classical biotype (V. cholerae(Cl)), which caused previous cholera pandemics and is HapR(-), controls c-di-GMP levels and biofilm formation by the VieA signaling pathway. We show that the VieA pathway is dispensable for biofilm formation in V. cholerae(El) but that restoring HapR in V. cholerae(Cl) reestablishes QS-dependent repression of exopolysaccharide production. Thus, different pandemic strains of V. cholerae modulate c-di-GMP levels and control biofilm formation in response to distinct sensory pathways.

  16. Seroepidemiologic Survey of Potential Pathogens in Obligate and Facultative Scavenging Avian Species in California.

    PubMed

    Straub, Mary H; Kelly, Terra R; Rideout, Bruce A; Eng, Curtis; Wynne, Janna; Braun, Josephine; Johnson, Christine K

    2015-01-01

    Throughout the world, populations of scavenger birds are declining rapidly with some populations already on the brink of extinction. Much of the current research into the factors contributing to these declines has focused on exposure to drug residues, lead, and other toxins. Despite increased monitoring of these declining populations, little is known about infectious diseases affecting scavenger bird species. To assess potential infectious disease risks to both obligate and facultative scavenger bird species, we performed a serosurvey for eleven potential pathogens in three species of scavenging birds in California: the California condor (Gymnogyps californianus), turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) and golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos). California condors were seropositive for avian adenovirus, infectious bronchitis virus, Mycoplasma gallisepticum, avian paramyxovirus-2, West Nile virus (WNV) and Toxoplasma gondii. Golden eagles were seropositive for avian adenovirus, Chlamydophila psittaci and Toxoplasma gondii, and turkey vultures were seropositive for avian adenovirus, Chlamydophila psittaci, avian paramyxovirus-1, Toxoplasma gondii and WNV. Risk factor analyses indicated that rearing site and original release location were significantly associated with a positive serologic titer to WNV among free-flying condors. This study provides preliminary baseline data on infectious disease exposure in these populations for aiding in early disease detection and provides potentially critical information for conservation of the endangered California condor as it continues to expand its range and encounter new infectious disease threats.

  17. Spatiotemporal patterns and risk factors for lead exposure in endangered California condors during 15 years of reintroduction.

    PubMed

    Kelly, Terra R; Grantham, Jesse; George, Daniel; Welch, Alacia; Brandt, Joseph; Burnett, L Joseph; Sorenson, Kelly J; Johnson, Matthew; Poppenga, Robert; Moen, David; Rasico, James; Rivers, James W; Battistone, Carie; Johnson, Christine K

    2014-12-01

    Large-scale poisoning events are common to scavenging bird species that forage communally, many of which are in decline. To reduce the threat of poisoning and compensate for other persistent threats, management, including supplemental feeding, is ongoing for many reintroduced and endangered vulture populations. Through a longitudinal study of lead exposure in California condors (Gymnogyps californianus), we illustrate the conservation challenges inherent in reintroduction of an endangered species to the wild when pervasive threats have not been eliminated. We evaluated population-wide patterns in blood lead levels from 1997 to 2011 and assessed a broad range of putative demographic, behavioral, and environmental risk factors for elevated lead exposure among reintroduced California condors in California (United States). We also assessed the effectiveness of lead ammunition regulations within the condor's range in California by comparing condor blood lead levels before and after implementation of the regulations. Lead exposure was a pervasive threat to California condors despite recent regulations limiting lead ammunition use. In addition, condor lead levels significantly increased as age and independence from intensive management increased, including increasing time spent away from managed release sites, and decreasing reliance on food provisions. Greater independence among an increasing number of reintroduced condors has therefore elevated the population's risk of lead exposure and limited the effectiveness of lead reduction efforts to date. Our findings highlight the challenges of restoring endangered vulture populations as they mature and become less reliant on management actions necessary to compensate for persistent threats.

  18. Seroepidemiologic Survey of Potential Pathogens in Obligate and Facultative Scavenging Avian Species in California

    PubMed Central

    Straub, Mary H.; Kelly, Terra R.; Rideout, Bruce A.; Eng, Curtis; Wynne, Janna; Braun, Josephine; Johnson, Christine K.

    2015-01-01

    Throughout the world, populations of scavenger birds are declining rapidly with some populations already on the brink of extinction. Much of the current research into the factors contributing to these declines has focused on exposure to drug residues, lead, and other toxins. Despite increased monitoring of these declining populations, little is known about infectious diseases affecting scavenger bird species. To assess potential infectious disease risks to both obligate and facultative scavenger bird species, we performed a serosurvey for eleven potential pathogens in three species of scavenging birds in California: the California condor (Gymnogyps californianus), turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) and golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos). California condors were seropositive for avian adenovirus, infectious bronchitis virus, Mycoplasma gallisepticum, avian paramyxovirus-2, West Nile virus (WNV) and Toxoplasma gondii. Golden eagles were seropositive for avian adenovirus, Chlamydophila psittaci and Toxoplasma gondii, and turkey vultures were seropositive for avian adenovirus, Chlamydophila psittaci, avian paramyxovirus-1, Toxoplasma gondii and WNV. Risk factor analyses indicated that rearing site and original release location were significantly associated with a positive serologic titer to WNV among free-flying condors. This study provides preliminary baseline data on infectious disease exposure in these populations for aiding in early disease detection and provides potentially critical information for conservation of the endangered California condor as it continues to expand its range and encounter new infectious disease threats. PMID:26606755

  19. The influence of an interactive educational approach on visitors' learning in a Swiss zoo

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lindemann-Matthies, Petra; Kamer, Tobias

    2006-03-01

    A new but costly approach to providing visitors of zoos with information on conservation is the presentation of small exhibits by zoo professionals or volunteers. At these touch tables visitors can find out about the biology, ecology, and conservation of animals kept in the zoo. We studied the effect of a touch table on visitors' learning in a Swiss zoo (Tierpark Goldau) using an experimental approach. For half of each day, visitors could choose to gain information from labels next to the enclosures and posters. In addition, for the other half of the day visitors could also choose to make use of a touch table on the bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus). More than 600 visitors participated in the study. Results revealed that the modern approach was successful. Visitors using the touch table knew more about the biology, ecology, and conservation of bearded vultures, both immediately after their visit to the zoo and two months later. It is suggested that more use be made of touch tables in zoos, museums, visitor centers, and other settings for nature education.

  20. Improving conservation outcomes with insights from local experts and bureaucracies.

    PubMed

    Haenn, Nora; Schmook, Birgit; Reyes, Yol; Calmé, Sophie

    2014-08-01

    We describe conservation built on local expertise such that it constitutes a hybrid form of traditional and bureaucratic knowledge. Researchers regularly ask how local knowledge might be applied to programs linked to protected areas. By examining the production of conservation knowledge in southern Mexico, we assert local expertise is already central to conservation. However, bureaucratic norms and social identity differences between lay experts and conservation practitioners prevent the public valuing of traditional knowledge. We make this point by contrasting 2 examples. The first is a master's thesis survey of local experts regarding the biology of the King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa) in which data collection took place in communities adjacent to the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve. The second is a workshop sponsored by the same reserve that instructed farmers on how to monitor endangered species, including the King Vulture. In both examples, conservation knowledge would not have existed without traditional knowledge. In both examples, this traditional knowledge is absent from scientific reporting. On the basis of these findings, we suggest conservation outcomes may be improved by recognizing the knowledge contributions local experts already make to conservation programming.

  1. The power of poison: pesticide poisoning of Africa's wildlife.

    PubMed

    Ogada, Darcy L

    2014-08-01

    Poisons have long been used to kill wildlife throughout the world. An evolution has occurred from the use of plant- and animal-based toxins to synthetic pesticides to kill wildlife, a method that is silent, cheap, easy, and effective. The use of pesticides to poison wildlife began in southern Africa, and predator populations were widely targeted and eliminated. A steep increase has recently been observed in the intensity of wildlife poisonings, with corresponding population declines. However, the majority of poisonings go unreported. Under national laws, it is illegal to hunt wildlife using poisons in 83% of African countries. Pesticide regulations are inadequate, and enforcement of existing legislation is poor. Few countries have forensic field protocols, and most lack storage and testing facilities. Methods used to poison wildlife include baiting carcasses, soaking grains in pesticide solution, mixing pesticides to form salt licks, and tainting waterholes. Carbofuran is the most widely abused pesticide in Africa. Common reasons for poisoning are control of damage-causing animals, harvesting fish and bushmeat, harvesting animals for traditional medicine, poaching for wildlife products, and killing wildlife sentinels (e.g., vultures because their aerial circling alerts authorities to poachers' activities). Populations of scavengers, particularly vultures, have been decimated by poisoning. Recommendations include banning pesticides, improving pesticide regulations and controlling distribution, better enforcement and stiffer penalties for offenders, increasing international support and awareness, and developing regional pesticide centers.

  2. Microsatellite based ovine parentage testing to identify the source responsible for the killing of an endangered species.

    PubMed

    Rendo, Fernando; Iriondo, Mikel; Manzano, Carmen; Estonba, Andone

    2011-08-01

    In this study, we present an animal forensic genetics case in which we applied ovine microsatellite based parentage testing to the resolution of an act against protected wildlife. The aim was to identify the origin of the animal responsible for the death of an Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) that had been poisoned through consumption of a Latxa Blond Face breed lamb. Thus, we carried out a 22 microsatellite based parentage test in order to identify the parents of the lamb in the flock which grazes in the same place where the vulture's remains were found. Multiple parentage analysis revealed two possible parents, one ewe and one ram, with a combined paternity/maternity index (PI) higher than 9.09E9 and a likelihood (W) value of 99.9999%, assuming 50% probability a priori. This result confirmed the flock of origin of the poisoned lamb and shows that the microsatellite panel described herein is a potentially useful tool for the resolution of animal forensic cases.

  3. Occurrence of veterinary pharmaceuticals in golden eagle nestlings: Unnoticed scavenging on livestock carcasses and other potential exposure routes.

    PubMed

    Blanco, Guillermo; Junza, Alexandra; Barrón, Dolores

    2017-02-07

    Wildlife exposure to pharmaceuticals can occur through contaminated water, and through the excreta and carcasses of medicated livestock, with potential for bioaccumulation and transfer through food webs. We evaluated whether nestling exposure to pharmaceuticals can occur from food delivered to nests in the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), a top predator and facultative scavenger. Despite the fact that diet analysis suggests an apparently low dependence on livestock carcasses reduced to two piglets remains (1.5% of food remains, n=134), a high proportion of nestlings (71%, n=7) showed fluoroquinolone residues in plasma, mostly enrofloxacin, which is exclusively used in veterinary treatments. The occurrence and concentration (54.5±6.6μg·L(-1)) of fluoroquinolones in plasma was similar to those found in the nestlings of three vulture species largely dependent on livestock carcasses obtained at supplementary feeding stations, which are managed for the conservation of their populations. Although the number of analysed eaglets is comparatively small, the fact that enrofloxacin was found in all nests sampled in three breeding seasons suggest an exposure to the drugs similar to that of vultures. An underestimation of the role of carrion, especially from small piglets whose consumption may have gone unnoticed, and the predation of semi-domestic prey and generalist prey exploiting carcasses of medicated livestock, can contribute to explaining the unexpectedly high occurrence of these drugs in eaglets.

  4. Shared epitopes of avian immunoglobulin light chains.

    PubMed

    Benčina, Mateja; Cizelj, Ivanka; Berčič, Rebeka Lucijana; Narat, Mojca; Benčina, Dušan; Dovč, Peter

    2014-04-15

    Like all jawed vertebrates, birds (Aves) also produce antibodies i.e. immunoglobulins (Igs) as a defence mechanism against pathogens. Their Igs are composed of two identical heavy (H) and light (L) chains which are of lambda isotype. The L chain consists of variable (VL), joining (JL) and constant (CL) region. Using enzyme immunoassays (EIA) and two monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) (3C10 and CH31) to chicken L chain, we analysed their cross-reactivity with sera from 33 avian species belonging to nine different orders. Among Galliformes tested, mAbs 3C10 and CH31 reacted with L chains of chicken, turkey, four genera of pheasants, tragopan and peafowl, but not with sera of grey partridge, quail and Japanese quail. Immunoglobulins of guinea-fowl reacted only with mAb 3C10. Both mAbs reacted also with the L chain of Eurasian griffon (order Falconiformes) and domestic sparrow (order Passeriformes). Sera from six other orders of Aves did not react with either of the two mAbs. EIA using mAbs 3C10 and CH31 enabled detection of antibodies to major avian pathogens in sera of chickens, turkeys, pheasants, peafowl, Eurasian griffon and guinea-fowl (only with mAb 3C10). The N-terminal amino acid sequence of pheasant L chain (19 residues) was identical to that of chicken. Sequences of genes encoding the L chain constant regions of pheasants, turkey and partridge were determined and deposited in the public database (GenBank accession numbers: FJ 649651, FJ 649652 and FJ 649653, respectively). Among them, amino acid sequence of pheasants is the most similar to that of chicken (97% similarity), whereas those of turkey and partridge have greater similarity to each other (89%) than to any other avian L chain sequence. The characteristic deletion of two amino acids which is present in the L chain constant region in Galliformes has been most likely introduced to their L chain after their divergence from Anseriformes.

  5. An immunohistochemical study of the endocrine pancreas in raptors.

    PubMed

    Palmieri, C; Shivaprasad, H L

    2014-12-01

    The cytoarchitecture of the endocrine pancreas of 10 raptors (golden eagles, peregrine falcons, Saker falcon, turkey vultures, red-tailed hawk and unspecified falcon) was examined by immunohistochemistry. Three islet types were identified: type A mixed islets composed mainly by glucagon (A)-secreting cells, type B mixed islets with predominantly insulin (B)-secreting cell component and type M mixed islets (type M) consisting of variable number of glucagon-, insulin- and somatostatin (D)-secreting cells. The latter were further characterized into Type I, II or III according to the cell distribution of the three cell types. A and D cells were also randomly scattered within the exocrine pancreas. The results of this study suggest that the classical concept in birds of a segregation of A and B cells in well-defined and distinct islets is not applicable in raptors, reflecting an evolutionary adaptation to different dietary habits and variation in developmental mechanisms.

  6. The aerodynamics of Argentavis, the world's largest flying bird from the Miocene of Argentina

    PubMed Central

    Chatterjee, Sankar; Templin, R. Jack; Campbell, Kenneth E.

    2007-01-01

    We calculate the flight performance of the gigantic volant bird Argentavis magnificens from the upper Miocene (≈6 million years ago) of Argentina using a computer simulation model. Argentavis was probably too large (mass ≈70 kg) to be capable of continuous flapping flight or standing takeoff under its own muscle power. Like extant condors and vultures, Argentavis would have extracted energy from the atmosphere for flight, relying on thermals present on the Argentinean pampas to provide power for soaring, and it probably used slope soaring over the windward slopes of the Andes. It was an excellent glider, with a gliding angle close to 3° and a cruising speed of 67 kph. Argentavis could take off by running downhill, or by launching from a perch to pick up flight speed. Other means of takeoff remain problematic. PMID:17609382

  7. Late Neandertals and the intentional removal of feathers as evidenced from bird bone taphonomy at Fumane Cave 44 ky B.P., Italy

    PubMed Central

    Peresani, Marco; Fiore, Ivana; Gala, Monica; Romandini, Matteo; Tagliacozzo, Antonio

    2011-01-01

    A large and varied avifaunal bone assemblage from the final Mousterian levels of Grotta di Fumane, northern Italy, reveals unusual human modifications on species that are not clearly relatable to feeding or utilitarian uses (i.e., lammergeier, Eurasian black vulture, golden eagle, red-footed falcon, common wood pigeon, and Alpine chough). Cut, peeling, and scrape marks, as well as diagnostic fractures and a breakthrough, are observed exclusively on wings, indicating the intentional removal of large feathers by Neandertals. The species involved, the anatomical elements affected, and the unusual type and location of the human modifications indicate an activity linked to the symbolic sphere and the behavioral modernity of this European autochthonous population. PMID:21368129

  8. Live trapping of hawks and owls

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stewart, R.E.; Cope, J.B.; Robbins, C.S.

    1945-01-01

    1. Hawks of six species (80 individuals) and owls of five species (37 individuals) were trapped for banding from November 1, 1943, to. May 26,1944. 2. In general, pole traps proved better than hand-operated traps or automatic traps using live bait. 3. Verbail pole traps proved very efficient, and were much more humane than padded steel traps because they rarely injured a captured bird. 4: Unbaited Verbail traps took a variety of raptors, in rough proportion to their local abundance, although slightly more of beneficial species were caught than of harmful types. 5. Hawks and owls were retrapped more readily in Verbail traps than in other types tried. 6. The number of song birds caught in Verbail traps was negligible. 7. Crows and vultures were not taken in Verbail traps, but possibly could be caught with bait.

  9. The aerodynamics of Argentavis, the world's largest flying bird from the Miocene of Argentina.

    PubMed

    Chatterjee, Sankar; Templin, R Jack; Campbell, Kenneth E

    2007-07-24

    We calculate the flight performance of the gigantic volant bird Argentavis magnificens from the upper Miocene ( approximately 6 million years ago) of Argentina using a computer simulation model. Argentavis was probably too large (mass approximately 70 kg) to be capable of continuous flapping flight or standing takeoff under its own muscle power. Like extant condors and vultures, Argentavis would have extracted energy from the atmosphere for flight, relying on thermals present on the Argentinean pampas to provide power for soaring, and it probably used slope soaring over the windward slopes of the Andes. It was an excellent glider, with a gliding angle close to 3 degrees and a cruising speed of 67 kph. Argentavis could take off by running downhill, or by launching from a perch to pick up flight speed. Other means of takeoff remain problematic.

  10. Detection and characterization of a Trichomonas isolate from a rehabilitated bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus).

    PubMed

    Kelly-Clark, Whitney K; McBurney, Scott; Forzán, María J; Desmarchelier, Marion; Greenwood, Spencer J

    2013-12-01

    A hatching-year bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) was presented for clinical examination after being found unable to fly. Upon admission, routine wet-mount microscopy detected no trichomonads. Five months later, oral cavity inspection found no abnormalities, but the eagle was swabbed for research on trichomonosis in maritime birds. The swab was used to inoculate an InPouch TF culture and trichomonads were visible within 24 hr. Genotyping (ITS) revealed a Trichomonas isolate that was 100% identical to an isolate from a bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) from the Czech Republic. The eagle was treated with metronidazole (50 mg/kg q 12h PO for 5 consecutive days). Following treatment, the eagle was swabbed and the inoculated InPouch TF culture was monitored daily for 1 wk. No trichomonads were observed. Rehabilitation centers interested in surveillance should consider combining the InPouch TF technique with clinical inspection of live birds to confirm trichomonosis and for future research.

  11. Anatomy and histochemistry of spread-wing posture inbirds. 4. Eagles soar with fast, not slow muscle fibres.

    PubMed

    Meyers, Ron A; McFarland, Joshua C

    2016-07-01

    Slow fibers are typically characterized as functioning in avian postural behaviors such as soaring flight, and are described for a number of elite soarers such as vultures, pelicans and albatrosses. Golden Eagles and Bald Eagles also display soaring behavior and we examined their flight muscles for the presence of slow fibers. Surprisingly, eagles lack a deep layer to the pectoralis found in other soaring species. Additionally, the pectoralis as well as other shoulder muscles had few to no slow muscle fibers. The lack of functionally meaningful numbers of slow muscle fibers in eagle flight muscles indicates that they must rely on fast fibers for posture; these can function in that role due to their high aerobic capacity and also perhaps a "tuning" of muscle contraction frequency to function more efficiently at isometric contractions.

  12. First record of Sarcoramphus Dumeril 1806 (Ciconiiformes: Vulturidae) from the Pleistocene of Buenos Aires province, Argentina

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Noriega, Jorge I.; Areta, Juan I.

    2005-10-01

    The finding of an incomplete specimen of Sarcoramphus papa (Linné 1758), commonly known as the King Vulture, from the locality of Camet Norte (Buenos Aires province) in Argentina is reported. The bearing level is referred to the Late Pleistocene Santa Clara Formation (Late Lujanian). Sarcoramphus papa is actually a dweller of undisturbed areas of tropical rainforest and humid tropical and subtropical forests in Central and South America, ranging from Mexico to northern Argentina. It is rarely found in large open areas such as steppes and grasslands and/or habitats with extremely low temperatures in winter. The fossiliferous locality is located geographically more than 700 km south of the species' southern distributional limit and thus far away from suitable habitats for its survival. This fossil record contradicts previous paleoenvironmental reconstructions for the same place and time, suggesting a mixed community with some arboreal structures capable of holding this taxon.

  13. Interpreting magnetic data by integral moments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tontini, F. Caratori; Pedersen, L. B.

    2008-09-01

    The use of the integral moments for interpreting magnetic data is based on a very elegant property of potential fields, but in the past it has not been completely exploited due to problems concerning real data. We describe a new 3-D development of previous 2-D results aimed at determining the magnetization direction, extending the calculation to second-order moments to recover the centre of mass of the magnetization distribution. The method is enhanced to reduce the effects of the regional field that often alters the first-order solutions. Moreover, we introduce an iterative correction to properly assess the errors coming from finite-size surveys or interaction with neighbouring anomalies, which are the most important causes of the failing of the method for real data. We test the method on some synthetic examples, and finally, we show the results obtained by analysing the aeromagnetic anomaly of the Monte Vulture volcano in Southern Italy.

  14. KSC-04PD-1298

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. Near the top of the 525-foot-tall Vehicle Assembly Building, workers repair one of the huge nets strung across the upper door opening to prevent vultures from flying inside. The North Transfer Aisle and the High Bay 3 Vertical and Horizontal doors have entered a 13-month restoration period to repair damage caused by prolonged exposure to the Florida environment one of the most corrosive in the nation. Extensive corrosion damage exists on the interior of the framework of the existing doors in both locations. All exterior siding is to be replaced, as well as all the hardware. The work contributes to the ongoing safety infrastructure upgrade efforts at Kennedy Space Center.

  15. Weighted averages of magnetization from magnetic field measurements: A fast interpretation tool

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fedi, Maurizio

    2003-08-01

    Magnetic anomalies may be interpreted in terms of weighted averages of magnetization (WAM) by a simple transformation. The WAM transformation consists of dividing at each measurement point the experimental magnetic field by a normalizing field, computed from a source volume with a homogeneous unit-magnetization. The transformation yields a straightforward link among source and field position vectors. A main WAM outcome is that sources at different depths appear well discriminated. Due to the symmetry of the problem, the higher the considered field altitude, the deeper the sources outlined by the transformation. This is shown for single and multi-source synthetic cases as well as for real data. We analyze the real case of Mt. Vulture volcano (Southern Italy), where the related anomaly strongly interferes with that from deep intrusive sources. The volcanic edifice is well identified. The deep source is estimated at about 9 km depth, in agreement with other results.

  16. Distribution of anomalously high K2O volcanic rocks in Arizona: metasomatism at the Picacho Peak detachment fault.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brooks, W.E.

    1986-01-01

    Metasomatized Tertiary lavas with anomalously high K2O and lower Na2O content are distributed within the NW-trending extensional terrain of SW Arizona. These rocks are common near core-complex-related detachment faults at Picacho Peak and the Harcuvar Mountains and in listric-faulted terrain at the Vulture Mountains. These rocks are also enriched in Zr but depleted in MgO. Fine-grained, euhedral orthoclase (adularia) is the dominant K-mineral; other secondary introduced minerals are quartz and calcite. Spatial association of metasomatism with the detachment faults suggests that detachment provided a conduit for hydrothermal fluids that altered the initial chemistry of the Tertiary volcanics and charged the upper plate rocks with mineralizing fluids that carried Zr and Ba, along with Au, Ag and Cu during detachment 17-18 m.y. ago.-L.C.H.

  17. Understanding how mammalian scavengers use information from avian scavengers: cue from above.

    PubMed

    Kane, Adam; Kendall, Corinne J

    2017-03-15

    Interspecific social information transfer can play a key role in many aspects of animal ecology from foraging to habitat selection to predator avoidance. Within scavenging communities, avian scavengers often act as producers and mammalian scavengers act as scroungers, but we predict that species-specific cueing will allow for mammalian scavengers to utilize particular avian scavenger species using preferred food sources similar to their own preferences. We use empirical and theoretic approaches to assess interactions between mammalian and avian scavengers in one of the most diverse scavenging guilds in Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Using a spatially explicit model and data from experimental carcasses, we found evidence that mammals benefit from local enhancement provided by vultures and that mammalian-avian following patterns are consistent with the idea that species-specific cueing is occurring. Results suggest that ongoing population declines in avian scavengers may have significant impacts on mammalian scavengers and potentially create trophic cascades.

  18. Risk Considerations of Bird Strikes to Space Launch Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hales, Christy; Ring, Robert

    2016-01-01

    Within seconds after liftoff of the Space Shuttle during mission STS-114, a turkey vulture impacted the vehicle's external tank. The contact caused no apparent damage to the Shuttle, but the incident led NASA to consider the potential consequences of bird strikes during a Shuttle launch. The environment at Kennedy Space Center provides unique bird strike challenges due to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and the Atlantic Flyway bird migration routes. NASA is currently refining risk assessment estimates for the probability of bird strike to space launch vehicles. This paper presents an approach for analyzing the risks of bird strikes to space launch vehicles and presents an example. The migration routes, types of birds present, altitudes of those birds, exposed area of the launch vehicle, and its capability to withstand impacts affect the risk due to bird strike. A summary of significant risk contributors is discussed.

  19. Operation of a Hovercraft Scientific Platform Over Sea Ice in the Arctic Ocean Transpolar Drift (81 - 85N): The FRAM-2012 Experience

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hall, J. K.; Kristoffersen, Y.

    2013-12-01

    We have tested the feasibility of hovercraft travel through predominantly first year ice of the Transpolar Drift between 81°N - 85°N north of Svalbard. With 2-9 ridges per kilometer, our hovercraft (Griffon TD2000 Mark II), with an effective hover height of about 0.5 m, had to travel a distance 1.3 times the great circle distance between the point of origin and the final destination. Instantaneous speeds were mostly 5-7 knots. Two weeks later icebreaker Oden completed the same transit under conditions with no significant pressure in the ice at a speed mostly 1 knot higher than the hovercraft and travelled 1.2 times the great circle distance. The hovercraft spent 25 days monitoring micro-earthquake activity of the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge at a section of the spreading center where no seismicity has been recorded by the global seismograph network. More than ten small earthquake events per day were recorded. Visibility appears to be the most critical factor to hovercraft travel in polar pack ice. Improved control of hovercraft motion would substantially increase the potential usefulness of hovercraft in the sea ice environment. University of Bergen graduate student Gaute Hope emplacing one of the hydrophones in the triangular array used to locate small earthquakes over the Gakkel Ridge rift valley around 85N during FRAM-2012. The research hovercraft R/H SABVABAA is in the background.

  20. Solid Particle Erosion Behaviors of Carbon-Fiber Epoxy Composite and Pure Titanium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cai, Feng; Gao, Feng; Pant, Shashank; Huang, Xiao; Yang, Qi

    2016-01-01

    Rotor blades of Bell CH-146 Griffon helicopter experience excessive solid particle erosion at low altitudes in desert environment. The rotor blade is made of an advanced light-weight composite which, however, has a low resistance to solid particle erosion. Coatings have been developed and applied to protect the composite blade. However, due to the influence of coating process on composite material, the compatibility between coating and composite base, and the challenges of repairing damaged coatings as well as the inconsistency between the old and new coatings, replaceable thin metal shielding is an alternative approach; and titanium, due to its high-specific strength and better formability, is an ideal candidate. This work investigates solid particle erosion behaviors of carbon-fiber epoxy composite and titanium in order to assess the feasibility of titanium as a viable candidate for erosion shielding. Experiment results showed that carbon-fiber epoxy composite showed a brittle erosion behavior, whereas titanium showed a ductile erosion mode. The erosion rate on composite was 1.5 times of that on titanium at impingement angle 15° and increased to 5 times at impact angle 90°.

  1. Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Program, Site Operator Program. Quarterly progress report for July through September 1994 (Fourth quarter of fiscal year 1994)

    SciTech Connect

    Kiser, D.M.; Brown, H.L.

    1995-03-01

    The Site Operator Program was initially established by the Department of Energy (DOE) to incorporate the electric vehicle activities dictated by the Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Research, Development and Demonstration Act of 1976. In the ensuing years, the Program has evolved in response to new legislation and interests. The Program currently includes twelve sites located in diverse geographic, metrologic, and metropolitan areas across the US. Information is shared reciprocally with a thirteenth site, not under Program contract. The vehicles are operator-owned, except for two Griffon vans. The Mission Statement of the Site Operator Program includes three major activities: advancement of electric vehicle technologies; development of infrastructure elements necessary to support significant electric vehicle use; and increasing the awareness and acceptance of electric vehicles (EVs) by the public. The current participants in the Site Operator Program are shown. The ultimate thrust of program activities varies among sites, reflecting not only the Operator`s business interests but also geographic and climate-related operating conditions. This fourth quarter report (FY-94) includes a summary of activities from the previous three quarters. The report section sequence has been revised to provide a more easily seen program overview, and specific operator activities are now found in Appendix A.

  2. Using areas of known occupancy to identify sources of variation in detection probability of raptors: taking time lowers replication effort for surveys.

    PubMed

    Murn, Campbell; Holloway, Graham J

    2016-10-01

    Species occurring at low density can be difficult to detect and if not properly accounted for, imperfect detection will lead to inaccurate estimates of occupancy. Understanding sources of variation in detection probability and how they can be managed is a key part of monitoring. We used sightings data of a low-density and elusive raptor (white-headed vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis) in areas of known occupancy (breeding territories) in a likelihood-based modelling approach to calculate detection probability and the factors affecting it. Because occupancy was known a priori to be 100%, we fixed the model occupancy parameter to 1.0 and focused on identifying sources of variation in detection probability. Using detection histories from 359 territory visits, we assessed nine covariates in 29 candidate models. The model with the highest support indicated that observer speed during a survey, combined with temporal covariates such as time of year and length of time within a territory, had the highest influence on the detection probability. Averaged detection probability was 0.207 (s.e. 0.033) and based on this the mean number of visits required to determine within 95% confidence that white-headed vultures are absent from a breeding area is 13 (95% CI: 9-20). Topographical and habitat covariates contributed little to the best models and had little effect on detection probability. We highlight that low detection probabilities of some species means that emphasizing habitat covariates could lead to spurious results in occupancy models that do not also incorporate temporal components. While variation in detection probability is complex and influenced by effects at both temporal and spatial scales, temporal covariates can and should be controlled as part of robust survey methods. Our results emphasize the importance of accounting for detection probability in occupancy studies, particularly during presence/absence studies for species such as raptors that are widespread and

  3. Can Wild Ungulate Carcasses Provide Enough Biomass to Maintain Avian Scavenger Populations? An Empirical Assessment Using a Bio-Inspired Computational Model

    PubMed Central

    Margalida, Antoni; Colomer, Ma. Àngels; Sanuy, Delfí

    2011-01-01

    Background The reduction in the amount of food available for European avian scavengers as a consequence of restrictive public health policies is a concern for managers and conservationists. Since 2002, the application of several sanitary regulations has limited the availability of feeding resources provided by domestic carcasses, but theoretical studies assessing whether the availability of food resources provided by wild ungulates are enough to cover energetic requirements are lacking. Methodology/Findings We assessed food provided by a wild ungulate population in two areas of NE Spain inhabited by three vulture species and developed a P System computational model to assess the effects of the carrion resources provided on their population dynamics. We compared the real population trend with to a hypothetical scenario in which only food provided by wild ungulates was available. Simulation testing of the model suggests that wild ungulates constitute an important food resource in the Pyrenees and the vulture population inhabiting this area could grow if only the food provided by wild ungulates would be available. On the contrary, in the Pre-Pyrenees there is insufficient food to cover the energy requirements of avian scavenger guilds, declining sharply if biomass from domestic animals would not be available. Conclusions/Significance Our results suggest that public health legislation can modify scavenger population trends if a large number of domestic ungulate carcasses disappear from the mountains. In this case, food provided by wild ungulates could be not enough and supplementary feeding could be necessary if other alternative food resources are not available (i.e. the reintroduction of wild ungulates), preferably in European Mediterranean scenarios sharing similar and socio-economic conditions where there are low densities of wild ungulates. Managers should anticipate the conservation actions required by assessing food availability and the possible scenarios in

  4. Using areas of known occupancy to identify sources of variation in detection probability of raptors: taking time lowers replication effort for surveys

    PubMed Central

    Holloway, Graham J.

    2016-01-01

    Species occurring at low density can be difficult to detect and if not properly accounted for, imperfect detection will lead to inaccurate estimates of occupancy. Understanding sources of variation in detection probability and how they can be managed is a key part of monitoring. We used sightings data of a low-density and elusive raptor (white-headed vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis) in areas of known occupancy (breeding territories) in a likelihood-based modelling approach to calculate detection probability and the factors affecting it. Because occupancy was known a priori to be 100%, we fixed the model occupancy parameter to 1.0 and focused on identifying sources of variation in detection probability. Using detection histories from 359 territory visits, we assessed nine covariates in 29 candidate models. The model with the highest support indicated that observer speed during a survey, combined with temporal covariates such as time of year and length of time within a territory, had the highest influence on the detection probability. Averaged detection probability was 0.207 (s.e. 0.033) and based on this the mean number of visits required to determine within 95% confidence that white-headed vultures are absent from a breeding area is 13 (95% CI: 9–20). Topographical and habitat covariates contributed little to the best models and had little effect on detection probability. We highlight that low detection probabilities of some species means that emphasizing habitat covariates could lead to spurious results in occupancy models that do not also incorporate temporal components. While variation in detection probability is complex and influenced by effects at both temporal and spatial scales, temporal covariates can and should be controlled as part of robust survey methods. Our results emphasize the importance of accounting for detection probability in occupancy studies, particularly during presence/absence studies for species such as raptors that are widespread and

  5. Towards the establishment of a general rate law for gypsum nucleation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reznik, Itay J.; Ganor, Jiwchar; Gruber, Chen; Gavrieli, Ittai

    2012-05-01

    Gypsum nucleation kinetics from a wide range of chemical compositions (1.45 < Ca2+/SO42- < 115), ionic strengths (I = 2.5-10 m) and saturation state with respect to gypsum (Ωgyp = 1.07-8.4) were examined in batch experiments containing mixtures of Ca2+-rich Dead Sea brine and SO42-rich seawater with or without addition of extra Na2SO4 and CaCl2·2H2O. The induction times attained in the present study were compiled together with literature values from experiments carried out under significantly different conditions (synthetic NaCl solutions; I = 0.09-6.3 m; Ca2+/SO42- = 1; Ωgyp:1.59-7.76). Despite the variability in the experimental solutions, a single rate law based on classic nucleation theory was formulated to describe the induction times from more than 80 experiments: logT=log{1}/{3.17·Cs·exp{-}7.08ln2Ω}+0.072·Cs·exp-{1.426}/{ln2Ω} where Tind is the induction time, Cs is the solubility of gypsum and Ω is the saturation state with respect to gypsum. The rate law provides Tind for gypsum precipitation from aqueous solutions at 25 °C, containing no synthetic antiscalants or catalysts, within a 95% confidence interval within a factor of 5. Based on this rate law, we show that at present most of the precipitation of gypsum from the Dead Sea brine occurs following significant evaporation in the industrial evaporation ponds and not in the Dead Sea itself. Whereas Tind in Dead Sea brines is very long (on the order of 3 years), the evaporation of brine in the industrial ponds leads to increased Ω values, and thus to short Tind in the order of a few days. However, if seawater or reject brine from seawater desalinization will be introduced to the Dead Sea to restore its declining level, Tind will be significantly reduced and gypsum nucleation and precipitation will occur. For evaporated seawater, the proposed rate law predicts that even though saturation is obtained when seawater is evaporated by a factor of 2.8, gypsum will nucleate at reasonable times (few

  6. The morphogenesis-related NDR kinase pathway of Colletotrichum orbiculare is required for translating plant surface signals into infection-related morphogenesis and pathogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Kodama, Sayo; Ishizuka, Junya; Miyashita, Ito; Ishii, Takaaki; Miyoshi, Hideto

    2017-01-01

    Plant infection by pathogenic fungi involves the differentiation of appressoria, specialized infection structures, initiated by fungal sensing and responding to plant surface signals. How plant fungal pathogens control infection-related morphogenesis in response to plant-derived signals has been unclear. Here we showed that the morphogenesis-related NDR kinase pathway (MOR) of the cucumber anthracnose fungus Colletotrichum orbiculare is crucial for appressorium development following perception of plant-derived signals. By screening of random insertional mutants, we identified that the MOR element CoPag1 (Perish-in-the-absence-of-GYP1) is a key component of the plant-derived signaling pathway involved in appressorium morphogenesis. Constitutive activation of the NDR kinase CoCbk1 (Cell-wall-biosynthesis-kinase-1) complemented copag1 defects. Furthermore, copag1 deletion impaired CoCbk1 phosphorylation, suggesting that CoPag1 functions via CoCbk1 activation. Searching for the plant signals that contribute to appressorium induction via MOR, we found that the cutin monomer n-octadecanal, degraded from the host cuticle by conidial esterases, functions as a signal molecule for appressorium development. Genome-wide transcriptional profiling during appressorium development revealed that MOR is responsible for the expression of a subset of the plant-signal-induced genes with potential roles in pathogenicity. Thus, MOR of C. orbiculare has crucial roles in regulating appressorium development and pathogenesis by communicating with plant-derived signals. PMID:28146587

  7. Trigger phosphodiesterases as a novel class of c-di-GMP effector proteins

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    The bacterial second messenger c-di-GMP controls bacterial biofilm formation, motility, cell cycle progression, development and virulence. It is synthesized by diguanylate cyclases (with GGDEF domains), degraded by specific phosphodiesterases (PDEs, with EAL of HD-GYP domains) and sensed by a wide variety of c-di-GMP-binding effectors that control diverse targets. c-di-GMP-binding effectors can be riboswitches as well as proteins with highly diverse structures and functions. The latter include ‘degenerate’ GGDEF/EAL domain proteins that are enzymatically inactive but still able to bind c-di-GMP. Surprisingly, two enzymatically active ‘trigger PDEs’, the Escherichia coli proteins PdeR and PdeL, have recently been added to this list of c-di-GMP-sensing effectors. Mechanistically, trigger PDEs are multifunctional. They directly and specifically interact with a macromolecular target (e.g. with a transcription factor or directly with a promoter region), whose activity they control by their binding and degradation of c-di-GMP—their PDE activity thus represents the c-di-GMP sensor or effector function. In this process, c-di-GMP serves as a regulatory ligand, but in contrast to classical allosteric control, this ligand is also degraded. The resulting kinetics and circuitry of control are ideally suited for trigger PDEs to serve as key components in regulatory switches. This article is part of the themed issue ‘The new bacteriology’. PMID:27672149

  8. Crystal structure of TBC1D15 GTPase-activating protein (GAP) domain and its activity on Rab GTPases.

    PubMed

    Chen, Yan-Na; Gu, Xin; Zhou, X Edward; Wang, Weidong; Cheng, Dandan; Ge, Yinghua; Ye, Fei; Xu, H Eric; Lv, Zhengbing

    2017-04-01

    TBC1D15 belongs to the TBC (Tre-2/Bub2/Cdc16) domain family and functions as a GTPase-activating protein (GAP) for Rab GTPases. So far, the structure of TBC1D15 or the TBC1D15·Rab complex has not been determined, thus, its catalytic mechanism on Rab GTPases is still unclear. In this study, we solved the crystal structures of the Shark and Sus TBC1D15 GAP domains, to 2.8 Å and 2.5 Å resolution, respectively. Shark-TBC1D15 and Sus-TBC1D15 belong to the same subfamily of TBC domain-containing proteins, and their GAP-domain structures are highly similar. This demonstrates the evolutionary conservation of the TBC1D15 protein family. Meanwhile, the newly determined crystal structures display new variations compared to the structures of yeast Gyp1p Rab GAP domain and TBC1D1. GAP assays show that Shark and Sus GAPs both have higher catalytic activity on Rab11a·GTP than Rab7a·GTP, which differs from the previous study. We also demonstrated the importance of arginine and glutamine on the catalytic sites of Shark GAP and Sus GAP. When arginine and glutamine are changed to alanine or lysine, the activities of Shark GAP and Sus GAP are lost.

  9. Two-Dimensional Polymer-Based Cultures Expand Cord Blood-Derived Hematopoietic Stem Cells and Support Engraftment of NSG Mice

    PubMed Central

    Schneider, Rebekka Kramann; Wagner, Wolfgang; Jahnen-Dechent, Willi; Labude, Norina; Bovi, Manfred; Piroth, Daniela; Knüchel, Ruth; Hieronymus, Thomas; Müller, Albrecht M.; Zenke, Martin; Neuss, Sabine

    2013-01-01

    Currently, ex vivo expansion of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) is still insufficient. Traditional approaches for HSC expansion include the use of stromal cultures, growth factors, and/or bioreactors. Biomaterial-based strategies provide new perspectives. We focus on identifying promising two-dimensional (2D) polymer candidates for HSC expansion. After a 7-day culture period with cytokine supplementation, 2D fibrin, poly(D,L-lactic-co-glycolic acid; Resomer® RG503), and Poly(ɛ-caprolactone; PCL) substrates supported expansion of cord blood (CB)-derived CD34+ cells ex vivo. Fibrin cultures achieved the highest proliferation rates (>8700-fold increase of total nuclear cells, p<0.001), high total colony-forming units (3.6-fold increase, p<0.001), and highest engraftment in NSG mice (7.69-fold more donor cells compared with tissue culture polysterene, p<0.001). In addition, the presence of multiple human hematopoietic lineages such as myeloid (CD13+), erythroid (GypC+), and lymphoid (CD20+/CD56+) in murine transplant recipients confirmed the multilineage engraftment potential of fibrin-based cultures. Filopodia development in fibrin-expanded cells was a further indicator for superior cell adhesion capacities. We propose application of fibrin, Resomer® RG503, and PCL for future strategies of CB-CD34+ cell expansion. Suitable polymers for HSC expansion might also be appropriate for future drug discovery applications or for studies aimed to develop hematological therapies. PMID:22712684

  10. A systematic analysis of the role of GGDEF-EAL domain proteins in virulence and motility in Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzicola

    PubMed Central

    Wei, Chao; Jiang, Wendi; Zhao, Mengran; Ling, Junjie; Zeng, Xin; Deng, Jun; Jin, Dongli; Dow, John Maxwell; Sun, Wenxian

    2016-01-01

    The second messenger c-di-GMP is implicated in regulation of various aspects of the lifestyles and virulence of Gram-negative bacteria. Cyclic di-GMP is formed by diguanylate cyclases with a GGDEF domain and degraded by phosphodiesterases with either an EAL or HD-GYP domain. Proteins with tandem GGDEF-EAL domains occur in many bacteria, where they may be involved in c-di-GMP turnover or act as enzymatically-inactive c-di-GMP effectors. Here, we report a systematic study of the regulatory action of the eleven GGDEF-EAL proteins in Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzicola, an important rice pathogen causing bacterial leaf streak. Mutational analysis revealed that XOC_2335 and XOC_2393 positively regulate bacterial swimming motility, while XOC_2102, XOC_2393 and XOC_4190 negatively control sliding motility. The ΔXOC_2335/XOC_2393 mutant that had a higher intracellular c-di-GMP level than the wild type and the ΔXOC_4190 mutant exhibited reduced virulence to rice after pressure inoculation. In vitro purified XOC_4190 and XOC_2102 have little or no diguanylate cyclase or phosphodiesterase activity, which is consistent with unaltered c-di-GMP concentration in ΔXOC_4190. Nevertheless, both proteins can bind to c-di-GMP with high affinity, indicating a potential role as c-di-GMP effectors. Overall our findings advance understanding of c-di-GMP signaling and its links to virulence in an important rice pathogen. PMID:27053282

  11. Enhancing As(V) adsorption and passivation using biologically formed nano-sized FeS coatings on limestone: Implications for acid mine drainage treatment and neutralization.

    PubMed

    Liu, Jing; Zhou, Lei; Dong, Faqin; Hudson-Edwards, Karen A

    2017-02-01

    The iron-reducing bacterium Acidiphilium cryputum JF-5 and a sulfate reducing bacterium (SRB) collected and purified from the mine drainage of a copper mine in the northwest of Sichuan Province, China, were used to biologically synthesize nano-sized FeS-coated limestone to remove As(V) from solution. The adsorption efficiency of As(V) is improved from 6.64 μg/g with limestone alone to 187 μg/g with the FeS coated limestone in both batch and column experiments. The hydraulic conductivity of the columns are also improved by the presence of the nano-sized FeS coatings, but the solution neutralization performance of the limestone can be reduced by passivation by gypsum and Fe(III) precipitates. Calculations for FeS-coated limestone dissolution experiments show that the process can be described as nCa.sol = At(1/2) - nCa,gyp. The results suggest that FeS-coated limestone may be an effective medium for remediating As(V)-bearing solutions such as acid mine drainage in systems such as Permeable Reactive Barriers.

  12. Use of a simplified generalized standard additions method for the analysis of cement, gypsum and basic slag by slurry nebulization ICP-OES.

    PubMed

    Marjanovic, Ljiljana; McCrindle, Robert I; Botha, Barend M; Potgieter, Herman J

    2004-05-01

    The simplified generalized standard additions method (GSAM) was investigated as an alternative method for the ICP-OES analysis of solid materials, introduced into the plasma in the form of slurries. The method is an expansion of the conventional standard additions method. It is based on the principle of varying both the sample mass and the amount of standard solution added. The relationship between the sample mass, standard solution added and signal intensity is assumed to be linear. Concentration of the analyte can be found either geometrically from the slope of the two-dimensional response plane in a three-dimensional space or mathematically from the ratio of the parameters estimated by multiple linear regression. The analysis of a series of certified reference materials (CRMs) (cement CRM-BCS No 353, gypsum CRM-Gyp A and basic slag CRM No 382/I) introduced into the plasma in the form of slurry is described. The slurries contained glycerol and hydrochloric acid and were placed in an ultrasonic bath to ensure good dispersion. "Table curve 3D" software was used to fit the data. Results obtained showed that the method could be successfully applied to the analysis of cement, gypsum and slag samples, without the need to dissolve them. In this way, we could avoid the use of hazardous chemicals (concentrated acids), incomplete dissolution and loss of some volatiles. The application of the simplified GSAM for the analysis did not require a CRM with similar chemical and mineralogical properties for the calibration of the instrument.

  13. Physiology-Oriented Engineering Strategy to Improve Gamma-Aminobutyrate Production in Lactobacillus brevis.

    PubMed

    Lyu, Chang-Jiang; Zhao, Wei-Rui; Hu, Sheng; Huang, Jun; Lu, Tao; Jin, Zhi-Hua; Mei, Le-He; Yao, Shan-Jing

    2017-02-01

    Gamma-aminobutyrate (GABA) is an important chemical in the pharmaceutical field. GABA-producing lactic acid bacteria (LAB) offer the opportunity of developing this health-oriented product. In this study, the gadA, gadB, gadC, gadCB, and gadCA gene segments of Lactobacillus brevis were cloned into pMG36e, and strain Lb. brevis/pMG36e-gadA was selected for thorough characterization in terms of GABA production after analysis of GAD activities. Subsequently, a physiology-oriented engineering strategy was adopted to construct an FoF1-ATPase deficient strain NRA6 with higher GAD activity. As expected, strain NRA6 could produce GABA at a concentration of 43.65 g/L with a 98.42% GABA conversion rate in GYP fermentation medium, which is 1.22-fold higher than that obtained by the wild-type strain in the same condition. This work demonstrates how the acid stress response mechanisms of LAB can be employed to develop cell factories with improved production efficiency and contributes to research into the development of the physiology-oriented engineering.

  14. Cyclic-di-GMP signalling regulates motility and biofilm formation in Bordetella bronchiseptica

    PubMed Central

    Sisti, Federico; Ha, Dae-Gon; O'Toole, George A.; Hozbor, Daniela

    2013-01-01

    The signalling molecule bis-(3′–5′)-cyclic-dimeric guanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP) is a central regulator of diverse cellular functions, including motility, biofilm formation, cell cycle progression and virulence, in bacteria. Multiple diguanylate cyclase and phosphodiesterase-domain-containing proteins (GGDEF and EAL/HD-GYP, respectively) modulate the levels of the second messenger c-di-GMP to transmit signals and obtain such specific cellular responses. In the genus Bordetella this c-di-GMP network is poorly studied. In this work, we evaluated the expression of two phenotypes in Bordetella bronchiseptica regulated by c-di-GMP, biofilm formation and motility, under the influence of ectopic expression of Pseudomonas aeruginosa proteins with EAL or GGDEF domains that regulates the c-di-GMP level. In agreement with previous reports for other bacteria, we observed that B. bronchiseptica is able to form biofilm and reduce its motility only when GGDEF domain protein is expressed. Moreover we identify a GGDEF domain protein (BB3576) with diguanylate cyclase activity that participates in motility and biofilm regulation in B. bronchiseptica. These results demonstrate for the first time, to our knowledge, the presence of c-di-GMP regulatory signalling in B. bronchiseptica. PMID:23475948

  15. Structural analysis of an oxygen-regulated diguanylate cyclase.

    PubMed

    Tarnawski, Miroslaw; Barends, Thomas R M; Schlichting, Ilme

    2015-11-01

    Cyclic di-GMP is a bacterial second messenger that is involved in switching between motile and sessile lifestyles. Given the medical importance of biofilm formation, there has been increasing interest in understanding the synthesis and degradation of cyclic di-GMPs and their regulation in various bacterial pathogens. Environmental cues are detected by sensing domains coupled to GGDEF and EAL or HD-GYP domains that have diguanylate cyclase and phosphodiesterase activities, respectively, producing and degrading cyclic di-GMP. The Escherichia coli protein DosC (also known as YddV) consists of an oxygen-sensing domain belonging to the class of globin sensors that is coupled to a C-terminal GGDEF domain via a previously uncharacterized middle domain. DosC is one of the most strongly expressed GGDEF proteins in E. coli, but to date structural information on this and related proteins is scarce. Here, the high-resolution structural characterization of the oxygen-sensing globin domain, the middle domain and the catalytic GGDEF domain in apo and substrate-bound forms is described. The structural changes between the iron(III) and iron(II) forms of the sensor globin domain suggest a mechanism for oxygen-dependent regulation. The structural information on the individual domains is combined into a model of the dimeric DosC holoprotein. These findings have direct implications for the oxygen-dependent regulation of the activity of the cyclase domain.

  16. Hexose Oxidase-Mediated Hydrogen Peroxide as a Mechanism for the Antibacterial Activity in the Red Seaweed Ptilophora subcostata.

    PubMed

    Ogasawara, Kimi; Yamada, Kenji; Hatsugai, Noriyuki; Imada, Chiaki; Nishimura, Mikio

    2016-01-01

    Marine algae have unique defense strategies against microbial infection. However, their mechanisms of immunity remain to be elucidated and little is known about the similarity of the immune systems of marine algae and terrestrial higher plants. Here, we suggest a possible mechanism underlying algal immunity, which involves hexose oxidase (HOX)-dependent production of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). We examined crude extracts from five different red algal species for their ability to prevent bacterial growth. The extract from one of these algae, Ptilophora subcostata, was particularly active and prevented the growth of gram-positive and -negative bacteria, which was completely inhibited by treatment with catalase. The extract did not affect the growth of either a yeast or a filamentous fungus. We partially purified from P. subcostata an enzyme involved in its antibacterial activity, which shared 50% homology with the HOX of red seaweed Chondrus crispus. In-gel carbohydrate oxidase assays revealed that P. subcostata extract had the ability to produce H2O2 in a hexose-dependent manner and this activity was highest in the presence of galactose. In addition, Bacillus subtilis growth was strongly suppressed near P. subcostata algal fronds on GYP agar plates. These results suggest that HOX plays a role in P. subcostata resistance to bacterial attack by mediating H2O2 production in the marine environment.

  17. Active Interaction Mapping Reveals the Hierarchical Organization of Autophagy.

    PubMed

    Kramer, Michael H; Farré, Jean-Claude; Mitra, Koyel; Yu, Michael Ku; Ono, Keiichiro; Demchak, Barry; Licon, Katherine; Flagg, Mitchell; Balakrishnan, Rama; Cherry, J Michael; Subramani, Suresh; Ideker, Trey

    2017-02-16

    We have developed a general progressive procedure, Active Interaction Mapping, to guide assembly of the hierarchy of functions encoding any biological system. Using this process, we assemble an ontology of functions comprising autophagy, a central recycling process implicated in numerous diseases. A first-generation model, built from existing gene networks in Saccharomyces, captures most known autophagy components in broad relation to vesicle transport, cell cycle, and stress response. Systematic analysis identifies synthetic-lethal interactions as most informative for further experiments; consequently, we saturate the model with 156,364 such measurements across autophagy-activating conditions. These targeted interactions provide more information about autophagy than all previous datasets, producing a second-generation ontology of 220 functions. Approximately half are previously unknown; we confirm roles for Gyp1 at the phagophore-assembly site, Atg24 in cargo engulfment, Atg26 in cytoplasm-to-vacuole targeting, and Ssd1, Did4, and others in selective and non-selective autophagy. The procedure and autophagy hierarchy are at http://atgo.ucsd.edu/.

  18. Hexose Oxidase-Mediated Hydrogen Peroxide as a Mechanism for the Antibacterial Activity in the Red Seaweed Ptilophora subcostata

    PubMed Central

    Ogasawara, Kimi; Yamada, Kenji; Hatsugai, Noriyuki; Imada, Chiaki; Nishimura, Mikio

    2016-01-01

    Marine algae have unique defense strategies against microbial infection. However, their mechanisms of immunity remain to be elucidated and little is known about the similarity of the immune systems of marine algae and terrestrial higher plants. Here, we suggest a possible mechanism underlying algal immunity, which involves hexose oxidase (HOX)-dependent production of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). We examined crude extracts from five different red algal species for their ability to prevent bacterial growth. The extract from one of these algae, Ptilophora subcostata, was particularly active and prevented the growth of gram-positive and -negative bacteria, which was completely inhibited by treatment with catalase. The extract did not affect the growth of either a yeast or a filamentous fungus. We partially purified from P. subcostata an enzyme involved in its antibacterial activity, which shared 50% homology with the HOX of red seaweed Chondrus crispus. In-gel carbohydrate oxidase assays revealed that P. subcostata extract had the ability to produce H2O2 in a hexose-dependent manner and this activity was highest in the presence of galactose. In addition, Bacillus subtilis growth was strongly suppressed near P. subcostata algal fronds on GYP agar plates. These results suggest that HOX plays a role in P. subcostata resistance to bacterial attack by mediating H2O2 production in the marine environment. PMID:26867214

  19. Phenotype overlap in Xylella fastidiosa is controlled by the cyclic di-GMP phosphodiesterase Eal in response to antibiotic exposure and diffusible signal factor-mediated cell-cell signaling.

    PubMed

    de Souza, Alessandra A; Ionescu, Michael; Baccari, Clelia; da Silva, Aline M; Lindow, Steven E

    2013-06-01

    Eal is an EAL domain protein in Xylella fastidiosa homologous to one involved in resistance to tobramycin in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. EAL and HD-GYP domain proteins are implicated in the hydrolysis of the secondary messenger bis-(3'-5')-cyclic dimeric GMP (cyclic di-GMP). Cell density-dependent communication mediated by a Diffusible Signal Factor (DSF) also modulates cyclic di-GMP levels in X. fastidiosa, thereby controlling the expression of virulence genes and genes involved in insect transmission. The possible linkage of Eal to both extrinsic factors such as antibiotics and intrinsic factors such as quorum sensing, and whether both affect virulence, was thus addressed. Expression of eal was induced by subinhibitory concentrations of tobramycin, and an eal deletion mutant was more susceptible to this antibiotic than the wild-type strain and exhibited phenotypes similar to those of an rpfF deletion mutant blocked in DSF production, such as hypermotility, reduced biofilm formation, and hypervirulence to grape. Consistent with that, the rpfF mutant was more susceptible than the wild-type strain to tobramycin. Therefore, we propose that cell-cell communication and antibiotic stress can apparently lead to similar modulations of cyclic di-GMP in X. fastidiosa, resulting in similar phenotypes. However, the effect of cell density is dominant compared to that of antibiotic stress, since eal is suppressed by RpfF, which may prevent inappropriate behavioral changes in response to antibiotic stress when DSF accumulates.

  20. XbmR, a new transcription factor involved in the regulation of chemotaxis, biofilm formation and virulence in Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri.

    PubMed

    Yaryura, Pablo M; Conforte, Valeria P; Malamud, Florencia; Roeschlin, Roxana; de Pino, Verónica; Castagnaro, Atilio P; McCarthy, Yvonne; Dow, J Maxwell; Marano, María R; Vojnov, Adrián A

    2015-11-01

    Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri (Xcc) is the causal agent of citrus canker. Biofilm formation on citrus leaves plays an important role in epiphytic survival of Xcc. Biofilm formation is affected by transposon insertion in XAC3733, which encodes a transcriptional activator of the NtrC family, not linked to a gene encoding a sensor protein, thus could be considered as an 'orphan' regulator whose function is poorly understood in Xanthomonas spp. Here we show that mutation of XAC3733 (named xbmR) resulted in impaired structural development of the Xcc biofilm, loss of chemotaxis and reduced virulence in grapefruit plants. All defective phenotypes were restored to wild-type levels by the introduction of PA2567 from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which encodes a phosphodiesterase active in the degradation of cyclic diguanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP). A knockout of xbmR led to a substantial downregulation of fliA that encodes a σ(28) transcription factor, as well as fliC and XAC0350 which are potential member of the σ(28) regulon. XAC0350 encodes an HD-GYP domain c-di-GMP phosphodiesterase. These findings suggest that XbmR is a key regulator of flagellar-dependent motility and chemotaxis exerting its action through a regulatory pathway that involves FliA and c-di-GMP.

  1. Use of Morphometric Mapping to Characterise Symptomatic Chiari-Like Malformation, Secondary Syringomyelia and Associated Brachycephaly in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

    PubMed Central

    Cross, Chloe; Griffiths, Sandra; McFadyen, Angus K.; Jovanovik, Jelena; Tauro, Anna; Kibar, Zoha; Driver, Colin J.; La Ragione, Roberto M.; Rusbridge, Clare

    2017-01-01

    Objectives To characterise the symptomatic phenotype of Chiari-like malformation (CM), secondary syringomyelia (SM) and brachycephaly in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel using morphometric measurements on mid-sagittal Magnetic Resonance images (MRI) of the brain and craniocervical junction. Methods This retrospective study, based on a previous quantitative analysis in the Griffon Bruxellois (GB), used 24 measurements taken on 130 T1-weighted MRI of hindbrain and cervical region. Associated brachycephaly was estimated using 26 measurements, including rostral forebrain flattening and olfactory lobe rotation, on 72 T2-weighted MRI of the whole brain. Both study cohorts were divided into three groups; Control, CM pain and SM and their morphometries compared with each other. Results Fourteen significant traits were identified in the hindbrain study and nine traits in the whole brain study, six of which were similar to the GB and suggest a common aetiology. The Control cohort had the most elliptical brain (p = 0.010), least olfactory bulb rotation (p = 0.003) and a protective angle (p = 0.004) compared to the other groups. The CM pain cohort had the greatest rostral forebrain flattening (p = 0.007), shortest basioccipital (p = 0.019), but a greater distance between the atlas and basioccipital (p = 0.002) which was protective for SM. The SM cohort had two conformation anomalies depending on the severity of craniocervical junction incongruities; i) the proximity of the dens (p <0.001) ii) increased airorhynchy with a smaller, more ventrally rotated olfactory bulb (p <0.001). Both generated ‘concertina’ flexures of the brain and craniocervical junction. Conclusion Morphometric mapping provides a diagnostic tool for quantifying symptomatic CM, secondary SM and their relationship with brachycephaly. It is hypothesized that CM pain is associated with increased brachycephaly and SM can result from different combinations of abnormalities of the forebrain, caudal fossa and

  2. Craniometric Analysis of the Hindbrain and Craniocervical Junction of Chihuahua, Affenpinscher and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dogs With and Without Syringomyelia Secondary to Chiari-Like Malformation

    PubMed Central

    Kiviranta, Anna-Mariam; McFadyen, Angus K.; Jokinen, Tarja S.; La Ragione, Roberto M.; Rusbridge, Clare

    2017-01-01

    Objectives To characterize and compare the phenotypic variables of the hindbrain and craniocervical junction associated with syringomyelia (SM) in the Chihuahua, Affenpinscher and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (CKCS). Method Analysis of 273 T1-weighted mid-sagittal DICOM sequences of the hindbrain and craniocervical junction from 99 Chihuahuas, 42 Affenpinschers and 132 CKCSs. The study compared 22 morphometric features (11 lines, eight angles and three ratios) of dogs with and without SM using refined techniques based on previous studies of the Griffon Bruxellois (GB) using Discriminant Function Analysis and ANOVA with post-hoc corrections. Results The analysis identified 14/22 significant traits for SM in the three dog breeds, five of which were identical to those reported for the GB and suggest inclusion of a common aetiology. One ratio, caudal fossa height to the length of the skull base extended to an imaginary point of alignment between the atlas and supraoccipital bones, was common to all three breeds (p values 0.029 to <0.001). Associated with SM were a reduced occipital crest and two acute changes in angulation i) ‘sphenoid flexure’ at the spheno-occipital synchondrosis ii) ‘cervical flexure’ at the foramen magnum allied with medulla oblongata elevation. Comparing dogs with and without SM, each breed had a unique trait: Chihuahua had a smaller angle between the dens, atlas and basioccipital bone (p value < 0.001); Affenpinschers had a smaller distance from atlas to dens (p value 0.009); CKCS had a shorter distance between the spheno-occipital synchondrosis and atlas (p value 0.007). Conclusion The selected morphometries successfully characterised conformational changes in the brain and craniocervical junction that might form the basis of a diagnostic tool for all breeds. The severity of SM involved a spectrum of abnormalities, incurred by changes in both angulation and size that could alter neural parenchyma compliance and/or impede cerebrospinal

  3. Inheritance of Chiari-Like Malformation: Can a Mixed Breeding Reduce the Risk of Syringomyelia?

    PubMed Central

    Knowler, Susan P.; v/d Berg, Henny; McFadyen, Angus; La Ragione, Roberto M.; Rusbridge, Clare

    2016-01-01

    Canine Chiari-like malformation (CM) is a complex abnormality of the skull and craniocervical junction associated with miniaturization and brachycephaly which can result in the spinal cord disease syringomyelia (SM). This study investigated the inheritance of CM in a Griffon Bruxellois (GB) family and feasibility of crossbreeding a brachycephalic CM affected GB with a mesaticephalic normal Australian terrier and then backcrossing to produce individuals free of the malformation and regain GB breed characteristics. The study family cohort (n = 27) included five founder dogs from a previous baseline study of 155 GB which defined CM as a global malformation of the cranium and craniocervical junction with a shortened skull base and increased proximity of the cervical vertebrae to the skull. T1-weighted sagittal DICOM images of the brain and craniocervical junction were analysed for five significant traits (two angles, three lines) identified from the previous study and subsequent Qualitative Trait Loci analysis. Mean measurements for mixed breed, pure-breed and baseline study groups were compared. Results indicated that mixed breed traits posed less risk for CM and SM and were useful to distinguish the phenotype. Moreover on the MR images, the filial relationships displayed by the traits exhibited segregation and those presenting the greatest risk for CM appeared additive towards the severity of the condition. The external phenotypes revealed that by outcrossing breed types and with careful selection of appropriate conformation characteristics in the first generation, it is possible to regain the GB breed standard and reduce the degree of CM. The four GB affected with SM in the study all exhibited reduced caudal skull development compared to their relatives. The craniocervical traits may be useful for quantifying CM and assessing the possibility of SM thus assisting breeders with mate selection. However, such a system requires validation to ensure appropriateness for

  4. Inheritance of Chiari-Like Malformation: Can a Mixed Breeding Reduce the Risk of Syringomyelia?

    PubMed

    Knowler, Susan P; v/d Berg, Henny; McFadyen, Angus; La Ragione, Roberto M; Rusbridge, Clare

    2016-01-01

    Canine Chiari-like malformation (CM) is a complex abnormality of the skull and craniocervical junction associated with miniaturization and brachycephaly which can result in the spinal cord disease syringomyelia (SM). This study investigated the inheritance of CM in a Griffon Bruxellois (GB) family and feasibility of crossbreeding a brachycephalic CM affected GB with a mesaticephalic normal Australian terrier and then backcrossing to produce individuals free of the malformation and regain GB breed characteristics. The study family cohort (n = 27) included five founder dogs from a previous baseline study of 155 GB which defined CM as a global malformation of the cranium and craniocervical junction with a shortened skull base and increased proximity of the cervical vertebrae to the skull. T1-weighted sagittal DICOM images of the brain and craniocervical junction were analysed for five significant traits (two angles, three lines) identified from the previous study and subsequent Qualitative Trait Loci analysis. Mean measurements for mixed breed, pure-breed and baseline study groups were compared. Results indicated that mixed breed traits posed less risk for CM and SM and were useful to distinguish the phenotype. Moreover on the MR images, the filial relationships displayed by the traits exhibited segregation and those presenting the greatest risk for CM appeared additive towards the severity of the condition. The external phenotypes revealed that by outcrossing breed types and with careful selection of appropriate conformation characteristics in the first generation, it is possible to regain the GB breed standard and reduce the degree of CM. The four GB affected with SM in the study all exhibited reduced caudal skull development compared to their relatives. The craniocervical traits may be useful for quantifying CM and assessing the possibility of SM thus assisting breeders with mate selection. However, such a system requires validation to ensure appropriateness for

  5. Determinants for the activation and autoinhibition of the diguanylate cyclase response regulator WspR.

    PubMed

    De, Nabanita; Navarro, Marcos V A S; Raghavan, Rahul V; Sondermann, Holger

    2009-10-30

    The bacterial second messenger bis-(3'-5')-cyclic dimeric guanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP) controls secretion, cell adhesion, and motility, leading to biofilm formation and increased cytotoxicity. Diguanylate cyclases containing GGDEF and phosphodiesterases containing EAL or HD-GYP domains have been identified as the enzymes controlling cellular c-di-GMP levels, yet less is known regarding the molecular mechanisms governing regulation and signaling specificity. We recently determined a product-inhibition pathway for the diguanylate cyclase response regulator WspR from Pseudomonas, a potent molecular switch that controls biofilm formation. In WspR, catalytic activity is modulated by a helical stalk motif that connects its phospho-receiver and GGDEF domains. The stalks facilitate the formation of distinct oligomeric states that contribute to both activation and autoinhibition. Here, we provide novel insights into the regulation of diguanylate cyclase activity in WspR based on the crystal structures of full-length WspR, the isolated GGDEF domain, and an artificially dimerized catalytic domain. The structures highlight that inhibition is achieved by restricting the mobility of rigid GGDEF domains, mediated by c-di-GMP binding to an inhibitory site at the GGDEF domain. Kinetic measurements and biochemical characterization corroborate a model in which the activation of WspR requires the formation of a tetrameric species. Tetramerization occurs spontaneously at high protein concentration or upon addition of the phosphomimetic compound beryllium fluoride. Our analyses elucidate common and WspR-specific mechanisms for the fine-tuning of diguanylate cyclase activity.

  6. Genomic analysis of cyclic-di-GMP-related genes in rhizobial type strains and functional analysis in Rhizobium etli.

    PubMed

    Gao, Shanjun; Romdhane, Samir Ben; Beullens, Serge; Kaever, Volkhard; Lambrichts, Ivo; Fauvart, Maarten; Michiels, Jan

    2014-05-01

    Rhizobia are soil bacteria that can fix nitrogen in symbiosis with leguminous plants or exist free living in the rhizosphere. Crucial to their complex lifestyle is the ability to sense and respond to diverse environmental stimuli, requiring elaborate signaling pathways. In the majority of bacteria, the nucleotide-based second messenger cyclic diguanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP) is involved in signal transduction. Surprisingly, little is known about the importance of c-di-GMP signaling in rhizobia. We have analyzed the genome sequences of six well-studied type species (Bradyrhizobium japonicum, Mesorhizobium loti, Rhizobium etli, Rhizobium leguminosarum, Sinorhizobium fredii, and Sinorhizobium meliloti) for proteins possibly involved in c-di-GMP signaling based on the presence of four domains: GGDEF (diguanylate cyclase), EAL and HD-GYP (phosphodiesterase), and PilZ (c-di-GMP sensor). We find that rhizobia possess a high number of these proteins. Conservation analysis suggests that c-di-GMP signaling proteins modulate species-specific pathways rather than ancient rhizobia-specific processes. Two hybrid GGDEF-EAL proteins were selected for functional analysis, R. etli RHE_PD00105 (CdgA) and RHE_PD00137 (CdgB). Expression of cdgA and cdgB is repressed by the alarmone (p)ppGpp. cdgB is significantly expressed on plant roots and free living. Mutation of cdgA, cdgB, or both does not affect plant root colonization, nitrogen fixation capacity, biofilm formation, motility, and exopolysaccharide production. However, heterologous expression of the individual GGDEF and EAL domains of each protein in Escherichia coli strongly suggests that CdgA and CdgB are bifunctional proteins, possessing both diguanylate cyclase and phosphodiesterase activities. Taken together, our results provide a platform for future studies of c-di-GMP signaling in rhizobia.

  7. Diversity of Cyclic Di-GMP-Binding Proteins and Mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP) synthetases and hydrolases (GGDEF, EAL, and HD-GYP domains) can be readily identified in bacterial genome sequences by using standard bioinformatic tools. In contrast, identification of c-di-GMP receptors remains a difficult task, and the current list of experimentally characterized c-di-GMP-binding proteins is likely incomplete. Several classes of c-di-GMP-binding proteins have been structurally characterized; for some others, the binding sites have been identified; and for several potential c-di-GMP receptors, the binding sites remain to be determined. We present here a comparative structural analysis of c-di-GMP-protein complexes that aims to discern the common themes in the binding mechanisms that allow c-di-GMP receptors to bind it with (sub)micromolar affinities despite the 1,000-fold excess of GTP. The available structures show that most receptors use their Arg and Asp/Glu residues to bind c-di-GMP monomers, dimers, or tetramers with stacked guanine bases. The only exception is the EAL domains that bind c-di-GMP monomers in an extended conformation. We show that in c-di-GMP-binding signature motifs, Arg residues bind to the O-6 and N-7 atoms at the Hoogsteen edge of the guanine base, while Asp/Glu residues bind the N-1 and N-2 atoms at its Watson-Crick edge. In addition, Arg residues participate in stacking interactions with the guanine bases of c-di-GMP and the aromatic rings of Tyr and Phe residues. This may account for the presence of Arg residues in the active sites of every receptor protein that binds stacked c-di-GMP. We also discuss the implications of these structural data for the improved understanding of the c-di-GMP signaling mechanisms. PMID:26055114

  8. c-di-GMP Turn-Over in Clostridium difficile Is Controlled by a Plethora of Diguanylate Cyclases and Phosphodiesterases

    PubMed Central

    Bordeleau, Eric; Fortier, Louis-Charles; Malouin, François; Burrus, Vincent

    2011-01-01

    Clostridium difficile infections have become a major healthcare concern in the last decade during which the emergence of new strains has underscored this bacterium's capacity to cause persistent epidemics. c-di-GMP is a bacterial second messenger regulating diverse bacterial phenotypes, notably motility and biofilm formation, in proteobacteria such as Vibrio cholerae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Salmonella. c-di-GMP is synthesized by diguanylate cyclases (DGCs) that contain a conserved GGDEF domain. It is degraded by phosphodiesterases (PDEs) that contain either an EAL or an HD-GYP conserved domain. Very little is known about the role of c-di-GMP in the regulation of phenotypes of Gram-positive or fastidious bacteria. Herein, we exposed the main components of c-di-GMP signalling in 20 genomes of C. difficile, revealed their prevalence, and predicted their enzymatic activity. Ectopic expression of 31 of these conserved genes was carried out in V. cholerae to evaluate their effect on motility and biofilm formation, two well-characterized phenotype alterations associated with intracellular c-di-GMP variation in this bacterium. Most of the predicted DGCs and PDEs were found to be active in the V. cholerae model. Expression of truncated versions of CD0522, a protein with two GGDEF domains and one EAL domain, suggests that it can act alternatively as a DGC or a PDE. The activity of one purified DGC (CD1420) and one purified PDE (CD0757) was confirmed by in vitro enzymatic assays. GTP was shown to be important for the PDE activity of CD0757. Our results indicate that, in contrast to most Gram-positive bacteria including its closest relatives, C. difficile encodes a large assortment of functional DGCs and PDEs, revealing that c-di-GMP signalling is an important and well-conserved signal transduction system in this human pathogen. PMID:21483756

  9. Naturally induced humoral immunity to West Nile virus infection in raptors.

    PubMed

    Nemeth, Nicole M; Kratz, Gail E; Bates, Rebecca; Scherpelz, Judy A; Bowen, Richard A; Komar, Nicholas

    2008-09-01

    West Nile virus (WNV) infection can be fatal to many bird species, including numerous raptors, though population- and ecosystem-level impacts following introduction of the virus to North America have been difficult to document. Raptors occupy a diverse array of habitats worldwide and are important to ecosystems for their role as opportunistic predators. We documented initial (primary) WNV infection and then regularly measured WNV-specific neutralizing antibody titers in 16 resident raptors of seven species, plus one turkey vulture. Most individuals were initially infected and seroconverted between July and September of 2003, though three birds remained seronegative until summer 2006. Many of these birds became clinically ill upon primary infection, with clinical signs ranging from loss of appetite to moderate neurological disease. Naturally induced WNV neutralizing antibody titers remained essentially unchanged in some birds, while eight individuals experienced secondary rises in titer presumably due to additional exposures at 1, 2, or 3 years following primary infection. No birds experienced clinical signs surrounding or following the time of secondary exposure, and therefore antibodies were considered protective. Results of this study have implications for transmission dynamics of WNV and health of raptor populations, as well as the interpretation of serologic data from free-ranging and captive birds. Antibodies in raptors surviving WNV may persist for multiple years and protect against potential adverse effects of subsequent exposures.

  10. Shape similarities and differences in the skulls of scavenging raptors.

    PubMed

    Guangdi, S I; Dong, Yiyi; Ma, Yujun; Zhang, Zihui

    2015-04-01

    Feeding adaptations are a conspicuous feature of avian evolution. Bill and cranial shape as well as the jaw muscles are closely related to diet choice and feeding behaviors. Diurnal raptors of Falconiformes exhibit a wide range of foraging behaviors and prey preferences, and are assigned to seven dietary groups in this study. Skulls of 156 species are compared from the dorsal, lateral and ventral views, by using geometric morphometric techniques with those landmarks capturing as much information as possible on the overall shape of cranium, bill, orbits, nostrils and attachment area for different jaw muscles. The morphometric data showed that the skull shape of scavengers differ significantly from other raptors, primarily because of different feeding adaptations. As a result of convergent evolution, different scavengers share generalized common morphology, possessing relatively slender and lower skulls, longer bills, smaller and more sideward orbits, and more caudally positioned quadrates. Significant phylogenetic signals suggested that phylogeny also played important role in shape variation within scavengers. New World vultures can be distinguished by their large nostrils, narrow crania and small orbits; Caracaras typically show large palatines, crania and orbits, as well as short, deep and sharp bill.

  11. Construction of a California condor BAC library and first-generation chicken-condor comparative physical map as an endangered species conservation genomics resource.

    PubMed

    Romanov, Michael N; Koriabine, Maxim; Nefedov, Mikhail; de Jong, Pieter J; Ryder, Oliver A

    2006-12-01

    To support genomic analysis of the endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus), a BAC library (CHORI-262) was generated using DNA from the blood of a female. The library consists of 89,665 recombinant BAC clones providing approximately 14-fold coverage of the presumed approximately 1.48-Gb genome. Taking advantage of recent progress in chicken genomics, we developed a first-generation comparative chicken-condor physical map using an overgo hybridization approach. The overgos were derived from chicken (164 probes) and New World vulture (8 probes) sequences. Screening a 2.8x subset of the total library resulted in 236 BAC-gene assignments with 2.5 positive BAC clones per successful probe. A preliminary comparative chicken-condor BAC-based map included 93 genes. Comparison of selected condor BAC sequences with orthologous chicken sequences suggested a high degree of conserved synteny between the two avian genomes. This work will aid in identification and characterization of candidate loci for the chondrodystrophy mutation to advance genetic management of this disease.

  12. Sex- and age-dependent patterns of survival and breeding success in a long-lived endangered avian scavenger

    PubMed Central

    Sanz-Aguilar, Ana; Cortés-Avizanda, Ainara; Serrano, David; Blanco, Guillermo; Ceballos, Olga; Grande, Juan M.; Tella, José L.; Donázar, José A.

    2017-01-01

    In long-lived species, the age-, stage- and/or sex-dependent patterns of survival and reproduction determine the evolution of life history strategies, the shape of the reproductive value, and ultimately population dynamics. We evaluate the combined effects of age and sex in recruitment, breeder survival and breeding success of the globally endangered Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), using 31-years of exhaustive data on marked individuals in Spain. Mean age of first reproduction was 7-yrs for both sexes, but females showed an earlier median and a larger variance than males. We found an age-related improvement in breeding success at the population level responding to the selective appearance and disappearance of phenotypes of different quality but unrelated to within-individual aging effects. Old males (≥8 yrs) showed a higher survival than both young males (≤7 yrs) and females, these later in turn not showing aging effects. Evolutionary trade-offs between age of recruitment and fitness (probably related to costs of territory acquisition and defense) as well as human-related mortality may explain these findings. Sex- and age-related differences in foraging strategies and susceptibility to toxics could be behind the relatively low survival of females and young males, adding a new concern for the conservation of this endangered species. PMID:28074860

  13. Sex- and age-dependent patterns of survival and breeding success in a long-lived endangered avian scavenger.

    PubMed

    Sanz-Aguilar, Ana; Cortés-Avizanda, Ainara; Serrano, David; Blanco, Guillermo; Ceballos, Olga; Grande, Juan M; Tella, José L; Donázar, José A

    2017-01-11

    In long-lived species, the age-, stage- and/or sex-dependent patterns of survival and reproduction determine the evolution of life history strategies, the shape of the reproductive value, and ultimately population dynamics. We evaluate the combined effects of age and sex in recruitment, breeder survival and breeding success of the globally endangered Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), using 31-years of exhaustive data on marked individuals in Spain. Mean age of first reproduction was 7-yrs for both sexes, but females showed an earlier median and a larger variance than males. We found an age-related improvement in breeding success at the population level responding to the selective appearance and disappearance of phenotypes of different quality but unrelated to within-individual aging effects. Old males (≥8 yrs) showed a higher survival than both young males (≤7 yrs) and females, these later in turn not showing aging effects. Evolutionary trade-offs between age of recruitment and fitness (probably related to costs of territory acquisition and defense) as well as human-related mortality may explain these findings. Sex- and age-related differences in foraging strategies and susceptibility to toxics could be behind the relatively low survival of females and young males, adding a new concern for the conservation of this endangered species.

  14. Molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium spp. from fecal samples of birds kept in captivity in Brazil.

    PubMed

    Nakamura, Alex Akira; Simões, Daniel Castendo; Antunes, Rômulo Godik; da Silva, Deuvânia Carvalho; Meireles, Marcelo Vasconcelos

    2009-12-03

    The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of Cryptosporidium species and genotypes in birds kept in captivity in Brazil. A total of 966 samples from 18 families of birds was collected and stored in 5% potassium dichromate solution at 4 degrees C until processing. Oocysts were purified in Sheather sugar solution following extraction of genomic DNA. Molecular analyses were performed using nested-PCR for amplification of fragments of the 18S subunit of rRNA gene and of the actin gene. Amplification of Cryptosporidium DNA fragments was obtained in 47 (4.86%) samples. Sequencing of amplified fragments and phylogenetic analyses allowed the identification of Cryptosporidium baileyi in a black vulture (Coragyps atratus), a domestic chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) and a saffron finch (Sicalis flaveola); Cryptosporidium galli in canaries (Serinus canaria), a cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus) and lesser seed-finches (Oryzoborus angolensis); Cryptosporidium meleagridis in a domestic chicken (G. g. domesticus); Cryptosporidium parvum in a cockatiel (N. hollandicus); Cryptosporidium avian genotype I in a canary (S. canaria) and an Indian peafowl (Pavo cristatus); Cryptosporidium avian genotype II in ostriches (Struthio camelus) and Cryptosporidium avian genotype III in a cockatiel (N. hollandicus) and a peach-faced lovebird (Agapornis roseicolis).

  15. Effect of Vatari Guggulu in the management of Gridhrasi (sciatica)

    PubMed Central

    Sathavane, Geeta V.; Pandya, Darshana H.; Baghel, Madhav Singh

    2015-01-01

    Introduction: Low back pain is one of the common conditions of loco motor system disorder, affects people during their productive life. About 40% cases of low back pain are of radicular in origin and considered under the umbrella of sciatic syndrome. It is a pain dominant disease and reduces human activity considerably in terms of personal as well as social and professional life. The condition resembles disease Gridhrasi mentioned in Ayurveda under the umbrella of Vatavyadhi, and here piercing type of pain which restricts the movement of the affected leg, make his walking pattern-like bird vulture and put him in disgraceful condition. Aim: To assess the effect of Vatari Guggulu on the management of Gridhrasi. Materials and Methods: A total of 40 patients of Gridhrasi were registered and Vatari Guggulu 3 tablet (500 mg each) twice a day was administered before meal with lukewarm water for 30 days. Results and Conclusions: About 32.35% of the patient improved moderately while mild improvement was observed in 47.09% of the patients. The drug has shown better effect on patients of Vata Kaphaja type of Gridhrasi in comparison of Vataja type of Gridhrasi. PMID:26730137

  16. Assessing the exposure risk and impacts of pharmaceuticals in the environment on individuals and ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Arnold, Kathryn E; Boxall, Alistair B A; Brown, A Ross; Cuthbert, Richard J; Gaw, Sally; Hutchinson, Thomas H; Jobling, Susan; Madden, Judith C; Metcalfe, Chris D; Naidoo, Vinny; Shore, Richard F; Smits, Judit E; Taggart, Mark A; Thompson, Helen M

    2013-08-23

    The use of human and veterinary pharmaceuticals is increasing. Over the past decade, there has been a proliferation of research into potential environmental impacts of pharmaceuticals in the environment. A Royal Society-supported seminar brought together experts from diverse scientific fields to discuss the risks posed by pharmaceuticals to wildlife. Recent analytical advances have revealed that pharmaceuticals are entering habitats via water, sewage, manure and animal carcases, and dispersing through food chains. Pharmaceuticals are designed to alter physiology at low doses and so can be particularly potent contaminants. The near extinction of Asian vultures following exposure to diclofenac is the key example where exposure to a pharmaceutical caused a population-level impact on non-target wildlife. However, more subtle changes to behaviour and physiology are rarely studied and poorly understood. Grand challenges for the future include developing more realistic exposure assessments for wildlife, assessing the impacts of mixtures of pharmaceuticals in combination with other environmental stressors and estimating the risks from pharmaceutical manufacturing and usage in developing countries. We concluded that an integration of diverse approaches is required to predict 'unexpected' risks; specifically, ecologically relevant, often long-term and non-lethal, consequences of pharmaceuticals in the environment for wildlife and ecosystems.

  17. The last 30,000 years of faunal history within the Grand Canyon, Arizona

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mead, Jim I.

    1981-05-01

    The vertebrate fauna of the last 30,000 radiocarbon years in the Grand Canyon is reviewed. Faunas accompanied with 92 14C dates have been analyzed from nine cave sites (four systematically excavated) and 50 packrat middens. Reasonably precise chronological and environmental data of late Pleistocene and Holocene age were obtained through dung studies in Rampart, Muav, and Stanton's Caves; from the numerous packrat middens; and from a ringtail refuse deposit in Vulture Cave. The desert tortoise, 8 species of lizards, 12 species of snakes, 68 species of birds, and 33 species of mammals are identified. Extinct animals include the avian carrion feeder, Teratornis merriami, and the mammalian herbivores, Oreamnos harringtoni, Camelops cf. hesternus, Equus sp., and Nothrotheriops shastense. There is no apparent abrupt end to the late Pleistocene as observed in the Grand Canyon fossil faunal or floral record. Animal and plant taxa of the Grand Canyon responded individually to the changes in climate of the last 30,000 yr. Both animal and plant fossil assemblages indicate that a pre-full glacial, a full glacial, and a late glacial woodland community with many less dominant desert taxa were slowly replaced by a Holocene desert community. All woodland taxa were absent from the lower elevations of the Grand Canyon by 8500 yr B.P.

  18. Cliffs Used as Communal Roosts by Andean Condors Protect the Birds from Weather and Predators

    PubMed Central

    Lambertucci, Sergio A.; Ruggiero, Adriana

    2013-01-01

    The quality and availability of resources influence the geographical distribution of species. Social species need safe places to rest, meet, exchange information and obtain thermoregulatory benefits, but those places may also serve other important functions that have been overlooked in research. We use a large soaring bird that roosts communally in cliffs, the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus), as a model species to elucidate whether roost locations serve as a refuge from adverse weather conditions (climatic refuge hypothesis, CRH), and/or from predators or anthropogenic disturbances (threats refuge hypothesis, TRH). The CRH predicts that communal roosts will face in the opposite direction from where storms originate, and will be located in climatically stable, low precipitation areas. The TRH predicts that communal roosts will be large, poorly accessible cliffs, located far from human-made constructions. We surveyed cliffs used as communal roosts by condors in northwestern Patagonia, and compared them with alternative non-roosting cliffs to test these predictions at local and regional scales. We conclude that communal roosting places provide refuge against climate and disturbances such as, for instance, the threats of predators (including humans). Thus, it is not only the benefits gained from being aggregated per se, but the characteristics of the place selected for roosting that may both be essential for the survival of the species. This should be considered in management and conservation plans given the current scenario of global climate change and the increase in environmental disturbances. PMID:23826262

  19. Table scraps: inter-trophic food provisioning by pumas.

    PubMed

    Elbroch, L Mark; Wittmer, Heiko U

    2012-10-23

    Large carnivores perform keystone ecological functions through direct predation, or indirectly, through food subsidies to scavengers or trophic cascades driven by their influence on the distributions of their prey. Pumas (Puma concolor) are an elusive, cryptic species difficult to study and little is known about their inter-trophic-level interactions in natural communities. Using new GPS technology, we discovered that pumas in Patagonia provided 232 ± 31 kg of edible meat/month/100 km(2) to near-threatened Andean condors (Vultur gryphus) and other members of a diverse scavenger community. This is up to 3.1 times the contributions by wolves (Canis lupus) to communities in Yellowstone National Park, USA, and highlights the keystone role large, solitary felids play in natural systems. These findings are more pertinent than ever, for managers increasingly advocate controlling pumas and other large felids to bolster prey populations and mitigate concerns over human and livestock safety, without a full understanding of the potential ecological consequences of their actions.

  20. Detection and drivers of exposure and effects of pharmaceuticals in higher vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Shore, Richard F; Taggart, Mark A; Smits, Judit; Mateo, Rafael; Richards, Ngaio L; Fryday, Steve

    2014-11-19

    Pharmaceuticals are highly bioactive compounds now known to be widespread environmental contaminants. However, research regarding exposure and possible effects in non-target higher vertebrate wildlife remains scarce. The fate and behaviour of most pharmaceuticals entering our environment via numerous pathways remain poorly characterized, and hence our conception and understanding of the risks posed to wild animals is equally constrained. The recent decimation of Asian vulture populations owing to a pharmaceutical (diclofenac) offers a notable example, because the exposure route (livestock carcasses) and the acute toxicity observed were completely unexpected. This case not only highlights the need for further research, but also the wider requirement for more considered and comprehensive 'ecopharmacovigilance'. We discuss known and potential high risk sources and pathways in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems where pharmaceutical exposure in higher vertebrate wildlife, principally birds and mammals, may occur. We examine whether approaches taken within existing surveillance schemes (that commonly target established classes of persistent or bioaccumulative contaminants) and the risk assessment approaches currently used for pesticides are relevant to pharmaceuticals, and we highlight where new approaches may be required to assess pharmaceutical-related risk.

  1. Animal scavenging and scattering and the implications for documenting the deaths of undocumented border crossers in the Sonoran Desert.

    PubMed

    Beck, Jess; Ostericher, Ian; Sollish, Gregory; De León, Jason

    2015-01-01

    Since 1998, over 5500 people have died while attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border without authorization. These deaths have primarily occurred in the Arizona desert. Despite the high volume of deaths, little experimental work has been conducted on Sonoran Desert taphonomy. In this study, pig carcasses were used as proxies for human remains and placed in different depositional contexts (i.e., direct sunlight and shade) that replicate typical sites of migrant death. Decomposition was documented through daily site visits, motion-sensitive cameras and GIS mapping, while skeletal preservation was investigated through the collection of the remains and subsequent faunal analysis. Our results suggest that vultures and domestic dogs are underappreciated members of the Sonoran scavenging guild and may disperse skeletal remains and migrant possessions over 25 m from the site of death. The impact of scavengers and the desert environment on the decomposition process has significant implications for estimating death rates and identifying human remains along the Arizona/Mexico border.

  2. Sex- and age-dependent patterns of survival and breeding success in a long-lived endangered avian scavenger

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sanz-Aguilar, Ana; Cortés-Avizanda, Ainara; Serrano, David; Blanco, Guillermo; Ceballos, Olga; Grande, Juan M.; Tella, José L.; Donázar, José A.

    2017-01-01

    In long-lived species, the age-, stage- and/or sex-dependent patterns of survival and reproduction determine the evolution of life history strategies, the shape of the reproductive value, and ultimately population dynamics. We evaluate the combined effects of age and sex in recruitment, breeder survival and breeding success of the globally endangered Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), using 31-years of exhaustive data on marked individuals in Spain. Mean age of first reproduction was 7-yrs for both sexes, but females showed an earlier median and a larger variance than males. We found an age-related improvement in breeding success at the population level responding to the selective appearance and disappearance of phenotypes of different quality but unrelated to within-individual aging effects. Old males (≥8 yrs) showed a higher survival than both young males (≤7 yrs) and females, these later in turn not showing aging effects. Evolutionary trade-offs between age of recruitment and fitness (probably related to costs of territory acquisition and defense) as well as human-related mortality may explain these findings. Sex- and age-related differences in foraging strategies and susceptibility to toxics could be behind the relatively low survival of females and young males, adding a new concern for the conservation of this endangered species.

  3. Biomimetic novelty detection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ma, Lein W.; Szu, Harold

    2010-04-01

    In the crowded rain forest, how do animals locate camouflaged prey that resemble the environment, such as walking sticks? Birds will observe the suspected stick over a period of time to determine if its behavior matches that of a tree. If the stick's behavior exceeds normal tree behavior, such as moving faster than the other branches, the bird will determine that it is actually a walking stick and not a tree branch. Once this determination is made, they will prey on the insect. Studying this natural process of novelty detection, present in a variety of animals from birds to turkey vultures, can be beneficial for numerous human applications. The spatiotemporal novelty detector will be developed using self-referencing matched filters to go beyond auto-regression. This algorithm is more than the usual change detector for it will detect a novelty behavior that exceeds its predicted value based on past data, e.g. the bird who identifies a walking stick in the forest. A scalar model is presented; however, the application can be expanded to multiple modalities for more detailed applications. Some of these applications include gas pipeline leak detection, persistent surveillance, and the creation of a smart sensor web.

  4. Seismic structure of the southern Apennines as revealed by waveform modelling of regional surface waves

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ökeler, Ahmet; Gu, Yu Jeffrey; Lerner-Lam, Arthur; Steckler, Michael S.

    2009-09-01

    We investigate the crust and upper-mantle structures beneath the southern Apennine mountain chain using three-component seismograms from the Calabria-Apennine-Tyrrhenian/Subduction-Collision-Accretion Network (CAT/SCAN) array. Surface wave waveforms from three moderate-sized (Mw > 5.0) regional earthquakes are modelled using multiple frequencies (0.03-0.06 and 0.05-0.2 Hz) and both forward and linearized-inversion algorithms. Our best-fitting shear velocity models clearly reflect the major tectonic units where, for example, the average seismic structure at depths above 50 km beneath Apulia is substantially faster than beneath the Apennine mountain chain. We identify a prominent low-velocity channel under the mountain belt at depths below ~25-30 km and a secondary low-velocity zone at 6-12 km depth near Mt Vulture (a once active volcano). Speed variations between Love and Rayleigh waves provide further constraints on the fabric and dynamic processes. Our analysis indicates that the crustal low-velocity zones are highly anisotropic (maximum 14 per cent) and allow transversely polarized shear waves to travel faster than vertically polarized shear waves. The upper crustal anomaly reveals a layer of highly deformed rocks caused by past collisions and by the active normal faults cutting across the thrust sheets, whereas hot mantle upwelling may be responsible for a high-temperature, partially molten lower crust beneath the southern Apennines.

  5. Diversity of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Strains Isolated from Two Italian Wine-Producing Regions.

    PubMed

    Capece, Angela; Granchi, Lisa; Guerrini, Simona; Mangani, Silvia; Romaniello, Rossana; Vincenzini, Massimo; Romano, Patrizia

    2016-01-01

    Numerous studies, based on different molecular techniques analyzing DNA polymorphism, have provided evidence that indigenous Saccharomyces cerevisiae populations display biogeographic patterns. Since the differentiated populations of S. cerevisiae seem to be responsible for the regional identity of wine, the aim of this work was to assess a possible relationship between the diversity and the geographical origin of indigenous S. cerevisiae isolates from two different Italian wine-producing regions (Tuscany and Basilicata). For this purpose, sixty-three isolates from Aglianico del Vulture grape must (main cultivar in the Basilicata region) and from Sangiovese grape must (main cultivar in the Tuscany region) were characterized genotypically, by mitochondrial DNA restriction analysis and MSP-PCR by using (GTG)5 primers, and phenotypically, by determining technological properties and metabolic compounds of oenological interest after alcoholic fermentation. All the S. cerevisiae isolates from each region were inoculated both in must obtained from Aglianico grape and in must obtained from Sangiovese grape to carry out fermentations at laboratory-scale. Numerical analysis of DNA patterns resulting from both molecular methods and principal component analysis of phenotypic data demonstrated a high diversity among the S. cerevisiae strains. Moreover, a correlation between genotypic and phenotypic groups and geographical origin of the strains was found, supporting the concept that there can be a microbial aspect to terroir. Therefore, exploring the diversity of indigenous S. cerevisiae strains can allow developing tailored strategies to select wine yeast strains better adapted to each viticultural area.

  6. A study on the reservoir status of Q-fever in avifauna, wild mammals and poikilotherms in Uttar Pradesh (India).

    PubMed

    Yadav, M P; Sethi, M S

    1980-12-01

    Fifteen species of free-living birds (pigeon, mynah, house-sparrow, crow, vulture, owl, swallow, parrot, heron, duck, guinea fowl, hawk, kite, dove and peacock), 11 species of small/large wild mammals (rat, bandicoot, house mouse, shrew, bat, mongoose, ant eater, Jackal wild cat, chinkara and tiger) and 5 species of poikilotherms (snakes, python, tortoise, monitor and eel) were screened for evidence of Q-fever infection by the capillary agglutination test on sera to detect antibodies and/or by attempts to demonstrate Coxiella burnetii in samples of visceral organs. Sero-reactors were observed among mynah (19/69), owlet (1/6), pigeon (1/11), swallow (6/200), parrot (13/56), rat (3/21), shrew (1/24), bat (2/14) and snake (7/23). Eleven strains of the organism comprising 3 from mynah, 2 from rats, and 1 each from parrot, crow, swallow, bandicoot, chinkara and python were isolated. This appears to be the first record of natural Q-fever infection in free-living birds in India. C. burnetii was also recovered in 1 of 12 water samples processed from ponds. Possibility of contamination of ponds with C. burnetii from infected water-fauna has been discussed.

  7. Primary molt of California condors

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Snyder, N.F.R.; Johnson, E.V.; Clendenen, D.A.

    1987-01-01

    Primary molt of the California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) was studied intensively from 1982 through 1985, using repeated flight photographs of the remaining individuals in the wild population as a basis for most analyses. On the average, wild condors replaced 4.4 of the 8 emarginated primaries on each wing each year. The sepcific primaries molted were generally the ones missed in the previous year and were usually well-distributed among the eight possibilities, with a tendency for low-numbered primaries to molt earlier than high-numbered primaries. Within individuals, molt of one wing was commonly very different from that of the other wing. Primarily molt of captive juveniles was similar to that of wild juveniles. The interval from loss to full replacement of individual primary feathers was normally 3 1/2 to 4 months, with the primaries closest to the leading edge of the wing growing most slowly. Most primarities were shed between 1 February and 1 September. Primaries lost in late fall and early winter were not replaced until the following summer, indicating interrupted molt over the winter. In general, primary molt of the condor differs from that of smaller cathartids in being highly seasonal, highly variable in sequence, highly asymmetric between wings, and in following a roughly 2-year cycle. Molt of the condor shows many similarities to that of the White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) and to that of large accipitrid vultures.

  8. From daily movements to population distributions: weather affects competitive ability in a guild of soaring birds

    PubMed Central

    Shepard, Emily L. C.; Lambertucci, Sergio A.

    2013-01-01

    The ability of many animals to access and exploit food is dependent on the ability to move. In the case of scavenging birds, which use soaring flight to locate and exploit ephemeral resources, the cost and speed of movement vary with meteorological factors. These factors are likely to modify the nature of interspecific interactions, as well as individual movement capacity, although the former are less well understood. We used aeronautical models to examine how soaring performance varies with weather within a guild of scavenging birds and the consequences this has for access to a common resource. Birds could be divided broadly into those with low wing loading that are more competitive in conditions with weak updraughts and low winds (black vultures and caracaras), and those with high wing loading that are well adapted for soaring in strong updraughts and moderate to high winds (Andean condors). Spatial trends in meteorological factors seem to confine scavengers with high wing loading to the mountains where they out-compete other birds; a trend that is borne out in worldwide distributions of the largest species. However, model predictions and carcass observations suggest that the competitive ability of these and other birds varies with meteorological conditions in areas where distributions overlap. This challenges the view that scavenging guilds are structured by fixed patterns of dominance and suggests that competitive ability varies across spatial and temporal scales, which may ultimately be a mechanism promoting diversity among aerial scavengers. PMID:24026471

  9. Nuisance Ecology: Do Scavenging Condors Exact Foraging Costs on Pumas in Patagonia?

    PubMed Central

    Elbroch, L. Mark; Wittmer, Heiko U.

    2013-01-01

    Predation risk describes the energetic cost an animal suffers when making a trade off between maximizing energy intake and minimizing threats to its survival. We tested whether Andean condors (Vultur gryphus) influenced the foraging behaviors of a top predator in Patagonia, the puma (Puma concolor), in ways comparable to direct risks of predation for prey to address three questions: 1) Do condors exact a foraging cost on pumas?; 2) If so, do pumas exhibit behaviors indicative of these risks?; and 3) Do pumas display predictable behaviors associated with prey species foraging in risky environments? Using GPS location data, we located 433 kill sites of 9 pumas and quantified their kill rates. Based upon time pumas spent at a carcass, we quantified handling time. Pumas abandoned >10% of edible meat at 133 of 266 large carcasses after a single night, and did so most often in open grasslands where their carcasses were easily detected by condors. Our data suggested that condors exacted foraging costs on pumas by significantly decreasing puma handling times at carcasses, and that pumas increased their kill rates by 50% relative to those reported for North America to compensate for these losses. Finally, we determined that the relative risks of detection and associated harassment by condors, rather than prey densities, explained puma “giving up times” (GUTs) across structurally variable risk classes in the study area, and that, like many prey species, pumas disproportionately hunted in high-risk, high-resource reward areas. PMID:23301093

  10. Supplanting ecosystem services provided by scavengers raises greenhouse gas emissions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morales-Reyes, Zebensui; Pérez-García, Juan M.; Moleón, Marcos; Botella, Francisco; Carrete, Martina; Lazcano, Carolina; Moreno-Opo, Rubén; Margalida, Antoni; Donázar, José A.; Sánchez-Zapata, José A.

    2015-01-01

    Global warming due to human-induced increments in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG) is one of the most debated topics among environmentalists and politicians worldwide. In this paper we assess a novel source of GHG emissions emerged following a controversial policy decision. After the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in Europe, the sanitary regulation required that livestock carcasses were collected from farms and transformed or destroyed in authorised plants, contradicting not only the obligations of member states to conserve scavenger species but also generating unprecedented GHG emission. However, how much of this emission could be prevented in the return to traditional and natural scenario in which scavengers freely remove livestock carcasses is largely unknown. Here we show that, in Spain (home of 95% of European vultures), supplanting the natural removal of dead extensive livestock by scavengers with carcass collection and transport to intermediate and processing plants meant the emission of 77,344 metric tons of CO2 eq. to the atmosphere per year, in addition to annual payments of ca. $50 million to insurance companies. Thus, replacing the ecosystem services provided by scavengers has not only conservation costs, but also important and unnecessary environmental and economic costs.

  11. Detection and drivers of exposure and effects of pharmaceuticals in higher vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Shore, Richard F.; Taggart, Mark A.; Smits, Judit; Mateo, Rafael; Richards, Ngaio L.; Fryday, Steve

    2014-01-01

    Pharmaceuticals are highly bioactive compounds now known to be widespread environmental contaminants. However, research regarding exposure and possible effects in non-target higher vertebrate wildlife remains scarce. The fate and behaviour of most pharmaceuticals entering our environment via numerous pathways remain poorly characterized, and hence our conception and understanding of the risks posed to wild animals is equally constrained. The recent decimation of Asian vulture populations owing to a pharmaceutical (diclofenac) offers a notable example, because the exposure route (livestock carcasses) and the acute toxicity observed were completely unexpected. This case not only highlights the need for further research, but also the wider requirement for more considered and comprehensive ‘ecopharmacovigilance’. We discuss known and potential high risk sources and pathways in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems where pharmaceutical exposure in higher vertebrate wildlife, principally birds and mammals, may occur. We examine whether approaches taken within existing surveillance schemes (that commonly target established classes of persistent or bioaccumulative contaminants) and the risk assessment approaches currently used for pesticides are relevant to pharmaceuticals, and we highlight where new approaches may be required to assess pharmaceutical-related risk. PMID:25405960

  12. Avian risk behavior and fatalities at the Altamont Wind Resource Area: March 1998 - February 1999

    SciTech Connect

    Thelander, C.; Rugge, L.

    2000-05-08

    Since 1981, more than 7,000 wind turbines have been installed in the Altamont Wind Resource Area in north-central California. Currently, about 5,000 turbines are operating. Past research efforts demonstrated that wind turbines frequently kill birds, especially raptors. Little is known about the specific flight and perching behaviors by birds near wind turbines. A better understanding of these interactions may one day yield insights on how to minimize bird fatalities. This Phase 1 progress report summarizes research findings obtained at 20 study plots totaling 785 turbines of various configurations and conducted between March 1998 and February 1999. The authors examined bird use and behaviors and collected data on fatalities at the same turbines throughout the course of the surveys. They completed 745 30-minute point counts (1,702 bird observations) that quantified bird risk behaviors and bird use of the study plots. The four most frequently observed bird species were red-tailed hawks, common ravens, turkey vultures, and golden eagles. During the same period, the authors recorded 95 bird fatalities. Raptors represent 51% (n=49) of the kills found. The data indicate that the relative abundance of species observed does not predict the relative frequency of fatalities per species. Phase II of the research is underway.

  13. Causes of mortality and unintentional poisoning in predatory and scavenging birds in California

    PubMed Central

    Kelly, Terra R.; Poppenga, Robert H.; Woods, Leslie A.; Hernandez, Yvette Z.; Boyce, Walter M.; Samaniego, Francisco J.; Torres, Steve G.; Johnson, Christine K.

    2014-01-01

    Objectives We documented causes of mortality in an opportunistic sample of golden eagles, turkey vultures and common ravens, and assessed exposure to several contaminants that have been found in carrion and common prey for these species. Methods Dead birds were submitted for testing through wildlife rehabilitation centres and a network of wildlife biologists in California from 2007 to 2009. Results The leading causes of mortality in this study were collision-related trauma (63 per cent), lead intoxication (17 per cent) and anticoagulant rodenticide poisoning (8 per cent). Elevated liver lead concentration (≥2 µg/g) and bone lead concentration (>6 µg/g) were detected in 25 and 49 per cent of birds tested, respectively. Approximately 84 per cent of birds tested had detectable rodenticide residues. The majority of rodenticide exposure occurred in peri-urban areas, suggesting that retail sale and use of commensal rodent baits, particularly in residential and semi-residential areas in California, may provide a pathway of exposure. Conclusions Monitoring anthropogenic causes of mortality in predatory and scavenging bird species provides important data needed to inform on mitigation and regulatory efforts aimed at reducing threats to these populations. PMID:26392875

  14. From daily movements to population distributions: weather affects competitive ability in a guild of soaring birds.

    PubMed

    Shepard, Emily L C; Lambertucci, Sergio A

    2013-11-06

    The ability of many animals to access and exploit food is dependent on the ability to move. In the case of scavenging birds, which use soaring flight to locate and exploit ephemeral resources, the cost and speed of movement vary with meteorological factors. These factors are likely to modify the nature of interspecific interactions, as well as individual movement capacity, although the former are less well understood. We used aeronautical models to examine how soaring performance varies with weather within a guild of scavenging birds and the consequences this has for access to a common resource. Birds could be divided broadly into those with low wing loading that are more competitive in conditions with weak updraughts and low winds (black vultures and caracaras), and those with high wing loading that are well adapted for soaring in strong updraughts and moderate to high winds (Andean condors). Spatial trends in meteorological factors seem to confine scavengers with high wing loading to the mountains where they out-compete other birds; a trend that is borne out in worldwide distributions of the largest species. However, model predictions and carcass observations suggest that the competitive ability of these and other birds varies with meteorological conditions in areas where distributions overlap. This challenges the view that scavenging guilds are structured by fixed patterns of dominance and suggests that competitive ability varies across spatial and temporal scales, which may ultimately be a mechanism promoting diversity among aerial scavengers.

  15. Elemental profiles in feather samples from a mercury-contaminated lake in central california

    PubMed

    Cahill; Anderson; Elbert; Perley; Johnson

    1998-07-01

    Flight feathers from six bird species at Clear Lake, CA were analyzed to determine the extent and distribution of mercury contamination from an abandoned mercury mine and associated levels of 14 other elements. Feather samples were collected from adult and juvenile osprey (Pandion haliaetus), including juvenile osprey from three additional comparison sites; adult western grebes (Aechmophorus occidentalis); adult great blue herons (Ardea herodias); adult mallards (Anas platyrhynchos); adult turkey vultures (Cathartes aura); and juvenile double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus). Samples were analyzed by a multielemental x-ray fluorescence method. The osprey from Clear Lake showed significantly elevated mercury concentrations relative to the comparison sites. Different species at Clear Lake had different mercury concentrations based on trophic status; osprey exhibited the highest mercury concentrations and the mallards showed the lowest. Lastly, we quantified differences in elemental concentrations, including mercury, between adult and juvenile osprey from Clear Lake. Elements known to be nutrients, such as sulfur and zinc, did not vary significantly among species or sites. Reproductive success of osprey at Clear Lake was monitored from 1992 to 1996 to determine if osprey reproduction was depressed. During this five-year period, the breeding population grew from 10 to 20 nesting pairs and the average reproductive rate was 1.4 fledglings per nesting attempt. Although the osprey showed the highest mercury levels of any species sampled, their reproduction does not appear to be depressed.

  16. A bald eagle at KSC

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2000-01-01

    A bald eagle joins two vultures at the site of an undetermined carcass on the grounds of the Kennedy Space Center. The Southern Bald Eagle ranges throughout Florida and along the coasts of California, Texas, Louisiana, and the south Atlantic states. Bald eagles are listed as endangered in the U.S., except in five states where they are listed as threatened. The number of nesting pairs of the southern race once numbered several thousand; recent estimates are only 350-375. Most of the southern race nests in Florida. Eagles arrive at KSC during late summer and leave for the north in late spring. They move to nest sites in October and November and lay one to three eggs. The young fledge from February to April. KSC shares a boundary with the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, which encompasses 92,000 acres that are a habitat for more than 331 species of birds, 31 mammals, 117 fishes, and 65 amphibians and reptiles. The marshes and open water of the refuge provide wintering areas for 23 species of migratory waterfowl, as well as a year-round home for great blue herons, great egrets, wood storks, cormorants, brown pelicans and other species of marsh and shore birds, as well as a variety of insects.

  17. A bald eagle at KSC

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2000-01-01

    On the grounds of the Kennedy Space Center, a bald eagle takes wing away from two vultures at the site of an undetermined carcass. The Southern Bald Eagle ranges throughout Florida and along the coasts of California, Texas, Louisiana, and the south Atlantic states. Bald eagles are listed as endangered in the U.S., except in five states where they are listed as threatened. The number of nesting pairs of the southern race once numbered several thousand; recent estimates are only 350-375. Most of the southern race nests in Florida. Eagles arrive at KSC during late summer and leave for the north in late spring. They move to nest sites in October and November and lay one to three eggs. The young fledge from February to April. KSC shares a boundary with the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, which encompasses 92,000 acres that are a habitat for more than 331 species of birds, 31 mammals, 117 fishes, and 65 amphibians and reptiles. The marshes and open water of the refuge provide wintering areas for 23 species of migratory waterfowl, as well as a year-round home for great blue herons, great egrets, wood storks, cormorants, brown pelicans and other species of marsh and shore birds, as well as a variety of insects.

  18. Large-scale age-dependent skewed sex ratio in a sexually dimorphic avian scavenger.

    PubMed

    Lambertucci, Sergio A; Carrete, Martina; Donázar, José Antonio; Hiraldo, Fernando

    2012-01-01

    Age-dependent skewed sex ratios have been observed in bird populations, with adult males generally outnumbering females. This trend is mainly driven by higher female mortality, sometimes associated with anthropogenic factors. Despite the large amount of work on bird sex ratios, research examining the spatial stability of adult sex ratios is extremely scarce. The Andean condor (Vultur gryphus) is the only bird of prey with strong sexual dimorphism favouring males (males are 30% heavier than females). By examining data from most of its South-American range, we show that while the juvenile sex ratio is balanced, or even female-skewed, the sex ratio becomes increasing male-skewed with age, with adult males outnumbering females by >20%, and, in some cases by four times more. This result is consistent across regions and independent of the nature of field data. Reasons for this are unknown but it can be hypothesized that the progressive disappearance of females may be associated with mortality caused by anthropogenic factors. This idea is supported by the asymmetric habitat use by the two sexes, with females scavenging in more humanized areas. Whatever the cause, male-skewed adult sex ratios imply that populations of this endangered scavenger face higher risks of extinction than previously believed.

  19. Genetic diversity at neutral and adaptive loci determines individual fitness in a long-lived territorial bird.

    PubMed

    Agudo, Rosa; Carrete, Martina; Alcaide, Miguel; Rico, Ciro; Hiraldo, Fernando; Donázar, José Antonio

    2012-08-22

    There is compelling evidence about the manifest effects of inbreeding depression on individual fitness and populations' risk of extinction. The majority of studies addressing inbreeding depression on wild populations are generally based on indirect measures of inbreeding using neutral markers. However, the study of functional loci, such as genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), is highly recommended. MHC genes constitute an essential component of the immune system of individuals, which is directly related to individual fitness and survival. In this study, we analyse heterozygosity fitness correlations of neutral and adaptive genetic variation (22 microsatellite loci and two loci of the MHC class II, respectively) with the age of recruitment and breeding success of a decimated and geographically isolated population of a long-lived territorial vulture. Our results indicate a negative correlation between neutral genetic diversity and age of recruitment, suggesting that inbreeding may be delaying reproduction. We also found a positive correlation between functional (MHC) genetic diversity and breeding success, together with a specific positive effect of the most frequent pair of cosegregating MHC alleles in the population. Globally, our findings demonstrate that genetic depauperation in small populations has a negative impact on the individual fitness, thus increasing the populations' extinction risk.

  20. Supplanting ecosystem services provided by scavengers raises greenhouse gas emissions

    PubMed Central

    Morales-Reyes, Zebensui; Pérez-García, Juan M.; Moleón, Marcos; Botella, Francisco; Carrete, Martina; Lazcano, Carolina; Moreno-Opo, Rubén; Margalida, Antoni; Donázar, José A.; Sánchez-Zapata, José A.

    2015-01-01

    Global warming due to human-induced increments in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG) is one of the most debated topics among environmentalists and politicians worldwide. In this paper we assess a novel source of GHG emissions emerged following a controversial policy decision. After the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in Europe, the sanitary regulation required that livestock carcasses were collected from farms and transformed or destroyed in authorised plants, contradicting not only the obligations of member states to conserve scavenger species but also generating unprecedented GHG emission. However, how much of this emission could be prevented in the return to traditional and natural scenario in which scavengers freely remove livestock carcasses is largely unknown. Here we show that, in Spain (home of 95% of European vultures), supplanting the natural removal of dead extensive livestock by scavengers with carcass collection and transport to intermediate and processing plants meant the emission of 77,344 metric tons of CO2 eq. to the atmosphere per year, in addition to annual payments of ca. $50 million to insurance companies. Thus, replacing the ecosystem services provided by scavengers has not only conservation costs, but also important and unnecessary environmental and economic costs. PMID:25589381

  1. Large-Scale Age-Dependent Skewed Sex Ratio in a Sexually Dimorphic Avian Scavenger

    PubMed Central

    Lambertucci, Sergio A.; Carrete, Martina; Donázar, José Antonio; Hiraldo, Fernando

    2012-01-01

    Age-dependent skewed sex ratios have been observed in bird populations, with adult males generally outnumbering females. This trend is mainly driven by higher female mortality, sometimes associated with anthropogenic factors. Despite the large amount of work on bird sex ratios, research examining the spatial stability of adult sex ratios is extremely scarce. The Andean condor (Vultur gryphus) is the only bird of prey with strong sexual dimorphism favouring males (males are 30% heavier than females). By examining data from most of its South-American range, we show that while the juvenile sex ratio is balanced, or even female-skewed, the sex ratio becomes increasing male-skewed with age, with adult males outnumbering females by >20%, and, in some cases by four times more. This result is consistent across regions and independent of the nature of field data. Reasons for this are unknown but it can be hypothesized that the progressive disappearance of females may be associated with mortality caused by anthropogenic factors. This idea is supported by the asymmetric habitat use by the two sexes, with females scavenging in more humanized areas. Whatever the cause, male-skewed adult sex ratios imply that populations of this endangered scavenger face higher risks of extinction than previously believed. PMID:23029488

  2. Genetic diversity at neutral and adaptive loci determines individual fitness in a long-lived territorial bird

    PubMed Central

    Agudo, Rosa; Carrete, Martina; Alcaide, Miguel; Rico, Ciro; Hiraldo, Fernando; Donázar, José Antonio

    2012-01-01

    There is compelling evidence about the manifest effects of inbreeding depression on individual fitness and populations' risk of extinction. The majority of studies addressing inbreeding depression on wild populations are generally based on indirect measures of inbreeding using neutral markers. However, the study of functional loci, such as genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), is highly recommended. MHC genes constitute an essential component of the immune system of individuals, which is directly related to individual fitness and survival. In this study, we analyse heterozygosity fitness correlations of neutral and adaptive genetic variation (22 microsatellite loci and two loci of the MHC class II, respectively) with the age of recruitment and breeding success of a decimated and geographically isolated population of a long-lived territorial vulture. Our results indicate a negative correlation between neutral genetic diversity and age of recruitment, suggesting that inbreeding may be delaying reproduction. We also found a positive correlation between functional (MHC) genetic diversity and breeding success, together with a specific positive effect of the most frequent pair of cosegregating MHC alleles in the population. Globally, our findings demonstrate that genetic depauperation in small populations has a negative impact on the individual fitness, thus increasing the populations' extinction risk. PMID:22553093

  3. Supplanting ecosystem services provided by scavengers raises greenhouse gas emissions.

    PubMed

    Morales-Reyes, Zebensui; Pérez-García, Juan M; Moleón, Marcos; Botella, Francisco; Carrete, Martina; Lazcano, Carolina; Moreno-Opo, Rubén; Margalida, Antoni; Donázar, José A; Sánchez-Zapata, José A

    2015-01-15

    Global warming due to human-induced increments in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG) is one of the most debated topics among environmentalists and politicians worldwide. In this paper we assess a novel source of GHG emissions emerged following a controversial policy decision. After the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in Europe, the sanitary regulation required that livestock carcasses were collected from farms and transformed or destroyed in authorised plants, contradicting not only the obligations of member states to conserve scavenger species but also generating unprecedented GHG emission. However, how much of this emission could be prevented in the return to traditional and natural scenario in which scavengers freely remove livestock carcasses is largely unknown. Here we show that, in Spain (home of 95% of European vultures), supplanting the natural removal of dead extensive livestock by scavengers with carcass collection and transport to intermediate and processing plants meant the emission of 77,344 metric tons of CO2 eq. to the atmosphere per year, in addition to annual payments of ca. $50 million to insurance companies. Thus, replacing the ecosystem services provided by scavengers has not only conservation costs, but also important and unnecessary environmental and economic costs.

  4. Diversity of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Strains Isolated from Two Italian Wine-Producing Regions

    PubMed Central

    Capece, Angela; Granchi, Lisa; Guerrini, Simona; Mangani, Silvia; Romaniello, Rossana; Vincenzini, Massimo; Romano, Patrizia

    2016-01-01

    Numerous studies, based on different molecular techniques analyzing DNA polymorphism, have provided evidence that indigenous Saccharomyces cerevisiae populations display biogeographic patterns. Since the differentiated populations of S. cerevisiae seem to be responsible for the regional identity of wine, the aim of this work was to assess a possible relationship between the diversity and the geographical origin of indigenous S. cerevisiae isolates from two different Italian wine-producing regions (Tuscany and Basilicata). For this purpose, sixty-three isolates from Aglianico del Vulture grape must (main cultivar in the Basilicata region) and from Sangiovese grape must (main cultivar in the Tuscany region) were characterized genotypically, by mitochondrial DNA restriction analysis and MSP-PCR by using (GTG)5 primers, and phenotypically, by determining technological properties and metabolic compounds of oenological interest after alcoholic fermentation. All the S. cerevisiae isolates from each region were inoculated both in must obtained from Aglianico grape and in must obtained from Sangiovese grape to carry out fermentations at laboratory-scale. Numerical analysis of DNA patterns resulting from both molecular methods and principal component analysis of phenotypic data demonstrated a high diversity among the S. cerevisiae strains. Moreover, a correlation between genotypic and phenotypic groups and geographical origin of the strains was found, supporting the concept that there can be a microbial aspect to terroir. Therefore, exploring the diversity of indigenous S. cerevisiae strains can allow developing tailored strategies to select wine yeast strains better adapted to each viticultural area. PMID:27446054

  5. Assessing the impact of removal scenarios on population viability of a threatened, long-lived avian scavenger

    PubMed Central

    Margalida, Antoni; Colomer, Mª Àngels; Oro, Daniel; Arlettaz, Raphaël; Donázar, José A.

    2015-01-01

    The removal of eggs or chicks from wild populations to create captive populations, reinforce free-ranging populations or reintroduce species into the wild is a restoration tool that requires an assessment of potential detrimental effects upon the donor population. This is an absolute prerequisite when wild donor populations are scarce and small. Here, we forecast the population trend of the largest European population of the bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) over the next 30 years under different demographic and management scenarios (removal of eggs, chicks or fledglings). Projections derived from the combination of a PDP model (Population Dynamic P-system) and a Box-Behnken design would lead to a decline in 77% of all 57 scenarios analysed. Among the 13 scenarios predicting a population increase, only 4 seem realistic in terms of growth rate (0.04%–1.01%), at least if current age at first breeding and productivity would remain constant over time. Our simulations thus suggest that most extraction scenarios would have detrimental effects on the demography of the donor population. Release of captive-born young or removal of only the second hatched chick for subsequent captive rearing and translocation into the wild appear to represent much better supplementation and reintroduction options in this threatened species. PMID:26593059

  6. Accumulation pattern and distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in liver tissues of seven species of birds from Ahmedabad, India, during 2005-2007.

    PubMed

    Dhananjayan, Venugopal

    2013-05-01

    Concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were measured in liver tissues of seven species of birds collected from Ahmedabad, India during 2005-2007. All the samples collected were dead as victims of kite flying. Concentrations of ∑PAHs in livers of birds were ranged from 110 ± 32.6 ng/g wet wt (1,078 ± 320 lipid wt) in common myna Acridotheres tristis to 382 ± 90.1 ng/g (2,388 ± 563 lipid wt) in white-backed vulture. Statistically significant (p < 0.05) differences in ∑PAHs were observed among species. However, year of collection and sex of birds did not show significant differences in concentrations of PAHs. The levels of ∑PAHs measured in the present study species were higher than the levels documented for a number of avian species and were lower than those reported to have deleterious effects on survival or reproduction of birds. Presence of PAH residues in birds of Ahmedabad city show the continuous input of PAHs through environmental exposure. Although no threat is posed by any of the hydrocarbons detected, continuous monitoring of breeding colonies of birds is recommended in unpolluted reference sites as well as polluted sites. It is also the first account of a comprehensive analysis of PAHs in various species of birds in India. Therefore, the values reported in this study can serve as baseline values for future research.

  7. Nuisance ecology: do scavenging condors exact foraging costs on pumas in Patagonia?

    PubMed

    Elbroch, L Mark; Wittmer, Heiko U

    2013-01-01

    Predation risk describes the energetic cost an animal suffers when making a trade off between maximizing energy intake and minimizing threats to its survival. We tested whether Andean condors (Vultur gryphus) influenced the foraging behaviors of a top predator in Patagonia, the puma (Puma concolor), in ways comparable to direct risks of predation for prey to address three questions: 1) Do condors exact a foraging cost on pumas?; 2) If so, do pumas exhibit behaviors indicative of these risks?; and 3) Do pumas display predictable behaviors associated with prey species foraging in risky environments? Using GPS location data, we located 433 kill sites of 9 pumas and quantified their kill rates. Based upon time pumas spent at a carcass, we quantified handling time. Pumas abandoned >10% of edible meat at 133 of 266 large carcasses after a single night, and did so most often in open grasslands where their carcasses were easily detected by condors. Our data suggested that condors exacted foraging costs on pumas by significantly decreasing puma handling times at carcasses, and that pumas increased their kill rates by 50% relative to those reported for North America to compensate for these losses. Finally, we determined that the relative risks of detection and associated harassment by condors, rather than prey densities, explained puma "giving up times" (GUTs) across structurally variable risk classes in the study area, and that, like many prey species, pumas disproportionately hunted in high-risk, high-resource reward areas.

  8. Effects of exotic fish farms on bird communities in lake and marine ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Jiménez, Jaime E; Arriagada, Aldo M; Fontúrbel, Francisco E; Camus, Patricio A; Avila-Thieme, M Isidora

    2013-08-01

    Salmon farming is a widespread activity around the world, also known to promote diverse environmental effects on aquatic ecosystems. However, information regarding the impact of salmon farming on bird assemblages is notably scarce. We hypothesize that salmon farming, by providing food subsidies and physical structures to birds, will change their local community structure. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a seasonal monitoring of bird richness, abundance, and composition at paired salmon pen and control plots in two marine and two lake sites in southern Chile, from fall 2002 to summer 2004. Overall, salmon farming had no significant effects on species richness, but bird abundance was significantly and noticeably higher in salmon pens than in controls. Such aggregation was mainly accounted for by the trophic guilds of omnivores, diving piscivores, carrion eaters, and perching piscivores, but not by invertebrate feeders, herbivores, and surface feeders. Species composition was also significantly and persistently different between salmon pens and controls within each lake or marine locality. The patterns described above remained consistent across environment types and seasons indicating that salmon farming is changing the community structure of birds in both lake and marine habitats by promoting functional and aggregation responses, particularly by favoring species with broader niches. Such local patterns may thus anticipate potential threats from the ongoing expansion of the salmon industry to neighboring areas in Chile, resulting in regional changes of bird communities, toward a less diverse one and dominated by opportunistic, common, and generalist species such as gulls, vultures, and cormorants.

  9. Promethean medicine: spirituality, stem cells, and cloning.

    PubMed

    Sulmasy, Daniel P

    2006-12-01

    Every ethos implies a mythos. That is, every ethical system depends upon some fundamental story disclosing its assumptions about human nature, freedom, good and evil, and the workings of the universe. A romanticized version of the myth of Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods and was punished by being chained to a rock and having his liver plucked out by vultures, seems to under-gird much of contemporary healthcare. Christianity offers a different view--one in which the universe is not a zero sum game and human beings do not need to steal fire because God has already freely given them all the fire they need in Christ and in his spirit. A critical virtue for physicians, taught by Christianity, is sagacious engagement--the ability to engage the world practically, discerning what can and should be changed and what should be accepted as unchangeable and given. The illusory quest for immortality through the practice of regenerative medicine using stem cells is a gross violation of that virtue.

  10. Energy beyond food: foraging theory informs time spent in thermals by a large soaring bird.

    PubMed

    Shepard, Emily L C; Lambertucci, Sergio A; Vallmitjana, Diego; Wilson, Rory P

    2011-01-01

    Current understanding of how animals search for and exploit food resources is based on microeconomic models. Although widely used to examine feeding, such constructs should inform other energy-harvesting situations where theoretical assumptions are met. In fact, some animals extract non-food forms of energy from the environment, such as birds that soar in updraughts. This study examined whether the gains in potential energy (altitude) followed efficiency-maximising predictions in the world's heaviest soaring bird, the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus). Animal-attached technology was used to record condor flight paths in three-dimensions. Tracks showed that time spent in patchy thermals was broadly consistent with a strategy to maximise the rate of potential energy gain. However, the rate of climb just prior to leaving a thermal increased with thermal strength and exit altitude. This suggests higher rates of energetic gain may not be advantageous where the resulting gain in altitude would lead to a reduction in the ability to search the ground for food. Consequently, soaring behaviour appeared to be modulated by the need to reconcile differing potential energy and food energy distributions. We suggest that foraging constructs may provide insight into the exploitation of non-food energy forms, and that non-food energy distributions may be more important in informing patterns of movement and residency over a range of scales than previously considered.

  11. Cliffs used as communal roosts by Andean condors protect the birds from weather and predators.

    PubMed

    Lambertucci, Sergio A; Ruggiero, Adriana

    2013-01-01

    The quality and availability of resources influence the geographical distribution of species. Social species need safe places to rest, meet, exchange information and obtain thermoregulatory benefits, but those places may also serve other important functions that have been overlooked in research. We use a large soaring bird that roosts communally in cliffs, the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus), as a model species to elucidate whether roost locations serve as a refuge from adverse weather conditions (climatic refuge hypothesis, CRH), and/or from predators or anthropogenic disturbances (threats refuge hypothesis, TRH). The CRH predicts that communal roosts will face in the opposite direction from where storms originate, and will be located in climatically stable, low precipitation areas. The TRH predicts that communal roosts will be large, poorly accessible cliffs, located far from human-made constructions. We surveyed cliffs used as communal roosts by condors in northwestern Patagonia, and compared them with alternative non-roosting cliffs to test these predictions at local and regional scales. We conclude that communal roosting places provide refuge against climate and disturbances such as, for instance, the threats of predators (including humans). Thus, it is not only the benefits gained from being aggregated per se, but the characteristics of the place selected for roosting that may both be essential for the survival of the species. This should be considered in management and conservation plans given the current scenario of global climate change and the increase in environmental disturbances.

  12. Energy Beyond Food: Foraging Theory Informs Time Spent in Thermals by a Large Soaring Bird

    PubMed Central

    Shepard, Emily L. C.; Lambertucci, Sergio A.; Wilson, Rory P.

    2011-01-01

    Current understanding of how animals search for and exploit food resources is based on microeconomic models. Although widely used to examine feeding, such constructs should inform other energy-harvesting situations where theoretical assumptions are met. In fact, some animals extract non-food forms of energy from the environment, such as birds that soar in updraughts. This study examined whether the gains in potential energy (altitude) followed efficiency-maximising predictions in the world's heaviest soaring bird, the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus). Animal-attached technology was used to record condor flight paths in three-dimensions. Tracks showed that time spent in patchy thermals was broadly consistent with a strategy to maximise the rate of potential energy gain. However, the rate of climb just prior to leaving a thermal increased with thermal strength and exit altitude. This suggests higher rates of energetic gain may not be advantageous where the resulting gain in altitude would lead to a reduction in the ability to search the ground for food. Consequently, soaring behaviour appeared to be modulated by the need to reconcile differing potential energy and food energy distributions. We suggest that foraging constructs may provide insight into the exploitation of non-food energy forms, and that non-food energy distributions may be more important in informing patterns of movement and residency over a range of scales than previously considered. PMID:22087301

  13. Effect of ACTH on plasma corticosterone and cortisol in eagles and condors.

    PubMed

    Zenoble, R D; Kemppainen, R J; Young, D W; Carpenter, J W

    1985-12-01

    The effect of ACTH on plasma corticosterone and cortisol was determined in 12 eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and in 6 Andean condors (Vultur gryphus). In all raptors, the concentration of plasma corticosterone was substantially greater than that of cortisol. After ACTH administration, the eagles had a marked increase (P less than 0.001) in plasma corticosterone concentrations, but not in plasma cortisol. Administration of saline solution did not induce increased plasma corticosterone concentrations in the eagles. The condors had a smaller increase (P less than 0.002) in plasma corticosterone concentrations after ACTH administration, as compared with that of the eagles. However, administration of saline solution in 2 condors resulted in an increase in corticosterone similar to the increase after ACTH administration. In the condor, a stress-related release of endogenous ACTH may have an effect similar to that induced by exogenously administered ACTH. Plasma cortisol concentrations did not increase significantly after administration of ACTH or saline solution in either raptor species.

  14. Table scraps: inter-trophic food provisioning by pumas

    PubMed Central

    Elbroch, L. Mark; Wittmer, Heiko U.

    2012-01-01

    Large carnivores perform keystone ecological functions through direct predation, or indirectly, through food subsidies to scavengers or trophic cascades driven by their influence on the distributions of their prey. Pumas (Puma concolor) are an elusive, cryptic species difficult to study and little is known about their inter-trophic-level interactions in natural communities. Using new GPS technology, we discovered that pumas in Patagonia provided 232 ± 31 kg of edible meat/month/100 km2 to near-threatened Andean condors (Vultur gryphus) and other members of a diverse scavenger community. This is up to 3.1 times the contributions by wolves (Canis lupus) to communities in Yellowstone National Park, USA, and highlights the keystone role large, solitary felids play in natural systems. These findings are more pertinent than ever, for managers increasingly advocate controlling pumas and other large felids to bolster prey populations and mitigate concerns over human and livestock safety, without a full understanding of the potential ecological consequences of their actions. PMID:22696284

  15. The Environmental-Data Automated Track Annotation (Env-DATA) System: Linking Animal Tracks with Environmental Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bohrer, G.; Dodge, S.; Weinzierl, R.; Davidson, S. C.; Kays, R.; Douglas, D. C.; Brandes, D.; Bildstein, K.; Wikelski, M.

    2013-12-01

    The movement of animals is strongly influenced by external factors in their surrounding environment such as weather, habitat types, and human land use. With the advances in positioning and sensor technologies, it is now possible to capture data of animal locations at high spatial and temporal granularities. Likewise, modern technology provides us with an increasing access to large volumes of environmental data, some of which changes on an hourly basis. Although there have been strong developments in computational methods for the analysis of movement in its environmental context, there remain challenges in efficiently linking the spatiotemporal locations of animals with the appropriate environmental conditions along their trajectories. To this end, our new Environmental-Data Automated Track Annotation (Env-DATA) system enhances Movebank, an open portal of animal tracking data, by automating access to environmental variables from global remote sensing, weather, and ecosystem products. The system automates the download and decryption of the data from open web resources of remote sensing and weather data, and provides several interpolation methods from the native grid resolution and structure to a global regular grid linked with the movement tracks in space and time. The system is open and free to any user with movement data. The aim is to facilitate new understanding and predictive capabilities of spatiotemporal patterns of animal movement in response to dynamic and changing environments from local to global scales. The system is illustrated with a series of case studies of pan-American migrations of turkey vultures, and foraging flights of Galapagos Albatross.

  16. Effects of exotic fish farms on bird communities in lake and marine ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jiménez, Jaime E.; Arriagada, Aldo M.; Fontúrbel, Francisco E.; Camus, Patricio A.; Ávila-Thieme, M. Isidora

    2013-08-01

    Salmon farming is a widespread activity around the world, also known to promote diverse environmental effects on aquatic ecosystems. However, information regarding the impact of salmon farming on bird assemblages is notably scarce. We hypothesize that salmon farming, by providing food subsidies and physical structures to birds, will change their local community structure. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a seasonal monitoring of bird richness, abundance, and composition at paired salmon pen and control plots in two marine and two lake sites in southern Chile, from fall 2002 to summer 2004. Overall, salmon farming had no significant effects on species richness, but bird abundance was significantly and noticeably higher in salmon pens than in controls. Such aggregation was mainly accounted for by the trophic guilds of omnivores, diving piscivores, carrion eaters, and perching piscivores, but not by invertebrate feeders, herbivores, and surface feeders. Species composition was also significantly and persistently different between salmon pens and controls within each lake or marine locality. The patterns described above remained consistent across environment types and seasons indicating that salmon farming is changing the community structure of birds in both lake and marine habitats by promoting functional and aggregation responses, particularly by favoring species with broader niches. Such local patterns may thus anticipate potential threats from the ongoing expansion of the salmon industry to neighboring areas in Chile, resulting in regional changes of bird communities, toward a less diverse one and dominated by opportunistic, common, and generalist species such as gulls, vultures, and cormorants.

  17. Net Effects of Ecotourism on Threatened Species Survival.

    PubMed

    Buckley, Ralf C; Morrison, Clare; Castley, J Guy

    2016-01-01

    Many threatened species rely on ecotourism for conservation funding, but simultaneously suffer direct ecological impacts from ecotourism. For a range of IUCN-Redlisted terrestrial and marine bird and mammal species worldwide, we use population viability analyses to calculate the net effects of ecotourism on expected time to extinction, in the presence of other anthropogenic threats such as poaching, primary industries and habitat loss. Species for which these calculations are currently possible, for one or more subpopulations, include: orangutan, hoolock gibbon, golden lion tamarin, cheetah, African wild dog, New Zealand sealion, great green macaw, Egyptian vulture, and African penguin. For some but not all of these species, tourism can extend expected survival time, i.e., benefits outweigh impacts. Precise outcomes depend strongly on population parameters and starting sizes, predation, and ecotourism scale and mechanisms. Tourism does not currently overcome other major conservation threats associated with natural resource extractive industries. Similar calculations for other threatened species are currently limited by lack of basic population data.

  18. Net Effects of Ecotourism on Threatened Species Survival

    PubMed Central

    Buckley, Ralf C.; Morrison, Clare; Castley, J. Guy

    2016-01-01

    Many threatened species rely on ecotourism for conservation funding, but simultaneously suffer direct ecological impacts from ecotourism. For a range of IUCN-Redlisted terrestrial and marine bird and mammal species worldwide, we use population viability analyses to calculate the net effects of ecotourism on expected time to extinction, in the presence of other anthropogenic threats such as poaching, primary industries and habitat loss. Species for which these calculations are currently possible, for one or more subpopulations, include: orangutan, hoolock gibbon, golden lion tamarin, cheetah, African wild dog, New Zealand sealion, great green macaw, Egyptian vulture, and African penguin. For some but not all of these species, tourism can extend expected survival time, i.e., benefits outweigh impacts. Precise outcomes depend strongly on population parameters and starting sizes, predation, and ecotourism scale and mechanisms. Tourism does not currently overcome other major conservation threats associated with natural resource extractive industries. Similar calculations for other threatened species are currently limited by lack of basic population data. PMID:26886876

  19. The diversity and biogeography of late Pleistocene birds from the lowland Neotropics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steadman, David W.; Oswald, Jessica A.; Rincón, Ascanio D.

    2015-05-01

    The Neotropical lowlands sustain the world's richest bird communities, yet little that we know about their history is based on paleontology. Fossils afford a way to investigate distributional shifts in individual species, and thus improve our understanding of long-term change in Neotropical bird communities. We report a species-rich avian fossil sample from a late Pleistocene tar seep (Mene de Inciarte) in northwestern Venezuela. A mere 175 identified fossils from Mene de Inciarte represent 73 species of birds, among which six are extinct, and eight others no longer occur within 100 km. These 14 species consist mainly of ducks (Anatidae), snipe (Scolopacidae), vultures/condors (Vulturidae), hawks/eagles (Accipitridae), and blackbirds (Icteridae). Neotropical bird communities were richer in the late Pleistocene than today; their considerable extinction may be related to collapse of the large mammal fauna at that time. The species assemblage at Mene de Inciarte suggests that biogeographic patterns, even at continental scales, have been remarkably labile over short geological time frames. Mene de Inciarte is but one of 300 + tar seeps in Venezuela, only two of which have been explored for fossils. We may be on the cusp of an exciting new era of avian paleontology in the Neotropics.

  20. Effect of ACTH on plasma corticosterone and cortisol in eagles and condors

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zenoble, R.D.; Kemppainen, R.J.; Young, D.W.; Carpenter, J.W.

    1985-01-01

    The effect of ACTH on plasma corticosterone and cortisol was determined in 12 eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and in 6 Andean condors (Vultur gryphus). In all raptors, the concentration of plasma corticosterone was substantially greater than that of cortisol. After ACTH administration, the eagles had a marked increase (P less than 0.001) in plasma corticosterone concentrations, but not in plasma cortisol. Administration of saline solution did not induce increased plasma corticosterone concentrations in the eagles. The condors had a smaller increase (P less than 0.002) in plasma corticosterone concentrations after ACTH administration, as compared with that of the eagles. However, administration of saline solution in 2 condors resulted in an increase in corticosterone similar to the increase after ACTH administration. In the condor, a stress-related release of endogenous ACTH may have an effect similar to that induced by exogenously administered ACTH. Plasma cortisol concentrations did not increase significantly after administration of ACTH or saline solution in either raptor species.

  1. Antibody Prevalence and Isolation of Viable Toxoplasma gondii from Raptors in the Southeastern USA.

    PubMed

    Love, David; Kwok, Oliver C; Verma, Shiv Kumar; Dubey, Jitender P; Bellah, Jamie

    2016-07-01

    Raptors are good indicators of the prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in the environment because they prey on small mammals and birds. These prey species are a major source of infection in domestic cats ( Felis catus ), which shed the environmentally resistant oocysts. We assessed T. gondii infection in 281 opportunistically available raptors at a rehabilitation facility between 2012 and 2014. Antibodies to T. gondii were assayed by a modified agglutination test (cutoff 1:25) and found in serum of 22/71 Red-tailed Hawks ( Buteo jamaicensis ), 25/54 Barred Owls ( Strix varia ), 9/41 Red-shouldered Hawks ( Buteo lineatus ), 13/28 Great Horned Owls ( Bubo virginianus ), 6/20 Broad-winged Hawks ( Buteo platypterus ), 2/16 Eastern Screech Owls (Megascops asio), 12/13 Bald Eagles ( Haliaeetus leucocephalus ), 6/12 Cooper's Hawks ( Accipiter cooperii ), 1/8 Black Vultures ( Coragyps atratus ), and 1/1 Golden Eagle ( Aquila chrysaetos ). Antibodies were not detected in 5 Barn Owls ( Tyto alba ), 3 American Kestrels ( Falco sparverius ), 1 Mississippi Kite ( Ictinia mississippiensis ), and 1 Osprey ( Pandion haliaetus ). Viable T. gondii was isolated from the tissues of 1 antibody-positive Barred Owl and identified as a strain having type II alleles at all 10 loci tested, except one (ToxoDB polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism genotype 3). Type II strain is the most common strain in the US. Results of this study indicate a high prevalence of T. gondii in some raptor species and the first reported genotyping from a Barred Owl.

  2. Resource selection by the California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) relative to terrestrial-based habitats and meteorological conditions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Johnson, J. Matthew; Haig, Susan M.; Schwarz, Carl J.; Glendening, John W.; Burnett, L. Joseph; George, Daniel; Grantham, Jesse

    2014-01-01

    Condors and vultures are distinct from most other terrestrial birds because they use extensive soaring flight for their daily movements. Therefore, assessing resource selection by these avian scavengers requires quantifying the availability of terrestrial-based habitats, as well as meteorological variables that influence atmospheric conditions necessary for soaring. In this study, we undertook the first quantitative assessment of habitat- and meteorological-based resource selection in the endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) within its California range and across the annual cycle. We found that condor use of terrestrial areas did not change markedly within the annual cycle, and that condor use was greatest for habitats where food resources and potential predators could be detected and where terrain was amenable for taking off from the ground in flight (e.g., sparse habitats, coastal areas). Condors originating from different release sites differed in their use of habitat, but this was likely due in part to variation in habitats surrounding release sites. Meteorological conditions were linked to condor use of ecological subregions, with thermal height, thermal velocity, and wind speed having both positive (selection) and negative (avoidance) effects on condor use in different areas. We found little evidence of systematic effects between individual characteristics (i.e., sex, age, breeding status) or components of the species management program (i.e., release site, rearing method) relative to meteorological conditions. Our findings indicate that habitat type and meteorological conditions can interact in complex ways to influence condor resource selection across landscapes, which is noteworthy given the extent of anthropogenic stressors that may impact condor populations (e.g., lead poisoning, wind energy development). Additional studies will be valuable to assess small-scale condor movements in light of these stressors to help minimize their risk to

  3. An analysis of monthly home range size in the critically endangered California Condor Gymnogyps californianus

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rivers, James W.; Johnson, Matthew J.; Haig, Susan M.; Schwarz, Carl J.; Burnett, Joseph; Brandt, Joseph; George, Daniel; Grantham, Jesse

    2014-01-01

    Condors and vultures comprise the only group of terrestrial vertebrates in the world that are obligate scavengers, and these species move widely to locate ephemeral, unpredictable, and patchily-distributed food resources. In this study, we used high-resolution GPS location data to quantify monthly home range size of the critically endangered California Condor Gymnogyps californianus throughout the annual cycle in California. We assessed whether individual-level characteristics (age, sex and breeding status) and factors related to endangered species recovery program efforts (rearing method, release site) were linked to variation in monthly home range size. We found that monthly home range size varied across the annual cycle, with the largest monthly home ranges observed during late summer and early fall (July–October), a pattern that may be linked to seasonal changes in thermals that facilitate movement. Monthly home ranges of adults were significantly larger than those of immatures, but males and females used monthly home ranges of similar size throughout the year and breeding adults did not differ from non-breeding adults in their average monthly home range size. Individuals from each of three release sites differed significantly in the size of their monthly home ranges, and no differences in monthly home range size were detected between condors reared under captive conditions relative to those reared in the wild. Our study provides an important foundation for understanding the movement ecology of the California Condor and it highlights the importance of seasonal variation in space use for effective conservation planning for this critically endangered species.

  4. Cytogenetic analysis of California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) chromosomes: comparison with chicken (Gallus gallus) macrochromosomes.

    PubMed

    Raudsepp, T; Houck, M L; O'Brien, P C; Ferguson-Smith, M A; Ryder, O A; Chowdhary, B P

    2002-01-01

    The California condor is the largest flying bird in North America and belongs to a group of New World vultures. Recovering from a near fatal population decline, and currently with only 197 extant individuals, the species remains listed as endangered. Very little genetic information exists for this species, although sexing methods employing chromosome analysis or W-chromosome specific amplification is routinely applied for the management of this monomorphic species. Keeping in mind that genetic conditions like chondrodystrophy have been identified, preliminary steps were undertaken in this study to understand the genome organization of the condor. This included an extensive cytogenetic analysis that provided (i) a chromosome number of 80 (with a likelihood of an extra pair of microchromosomes), and (ii) information on the centromeres, telomeres and nucleolus organizer regions. Further, a comparison between condor and chicken macrochromosomes was obtained by using individual chicken chromosome specific paints 1-9 and Z and W on condor metaphase spreads. Except for chromosomes 4 and Z, each of the chicken (GGA) macrochromosomes painted a single condor (GCA) macrochromosome. GGA4 paint detected complete homology with two condor chromosomes, viz., GCA4 and GCA9 providing additional proof that the latter are ancestral chromosomes in the birds. The chicken Z chromosome showed correspondence with both Z and W in the condor. The homology suggests that the condor sex chromosomes have not completely differentiated during evolution, which is unlike the majority of the non-ratites studied up till now. Overall, the study provides detailed cytogenetic and basic comparative information on condor chromosomes. These findings significantly advance the effort to study the chondrodystrophy that is responsible for over ten percent mortality in the condor.

  5. Repeated conservation threats across the Americas: High levels of blood and bone lead in the Andean Condor widen the problem to a continental scale.

    PubMed

    Wiemeyer, Guillermo M; Pérez, Miguel A; Torres Bianchini, Laura; Sampietro, Luciano; Bravo, Guillermo F; Jácome, N Luis; Astore, Vanesa; Lambertucci, Sergio A

    2017-01-01

    Wildlife lead exposure is an increasing conservation threat that is being widely investigated. However, for some areas of the world (e.g., South America) and certain species, research on this subject is still scarce or only local information is available. We analyzed the extent and intensity of lead exposure for a widely distributed threatened species, the Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus). We conducted the study at two different scales: 1) sampling of birds received for rehabilitation or necropsy in Argentina, and 2) bibliographic review and extensive survey considering exposure event for the species' distribution in South America. Wild condors from Argentina (n = 76) presented high lead levels consistent with both recent and previous exposure (up to 104 μg/dL blood level, mean 15.47 ± 21.21 μg/dL and up to 148.20 ppm bone level, mean 23.08 ± 31.39 ppm). In contrast, captive bred individuals -not exposed to lead contamination- had much lower lead levels (mean blood level 5.63 ± 3.08 μg/dL, and mean bone level 2.76 ± 3.06 ppm). Condors were exposed to lead throughout their entire range in continental Argentina, which represents almost sixty percent (>4000 km) of their geographical distribution. We also present evidence of lead exposure events in Chile, Ecuador, and Peru. Lead poisoning is a widespread major conservation threat for the Andean Condor, and probably other sympatric carnivores from South America. The high number and wide range of Andean Condors with lead values complement the results for the California Condor and other scavengers in North America suggesting lead poisoning is a continental threat. Urgent actions are needed to reduce this poison in the wild.

  6. Resource selection by the California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) relative to terrestrial-based habitats and meteorological conditions.

    PubMed

    Rivers, James W; Johnson, J Matthew; Haig, Susan M; Schwarz, Carl J; Glendening, John W; Burnett, L Joseph; George, Daniel; Grantham, Jesse

    2014-01-01

    Condors and vultures are distinct from most other terrestrial birds because they use extensive soaring flight for their daily movements. Therefore, assessing resource selection by these avian scavengers requires quantifying the availability of terrestrial-based habitats, as well as meteorological variables that influence atmospheric conditions necessary for soaring. In this study, we undertook the first quantitative assessment of habitat- and meteorological-based resource selection in the endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) within its California range and across the annual cycle. We found that condor use of terrestrial areas did not change markedly within the annual cycle, and that condor use was greatest for habitats where food resources and potential predators could be detected and where terrain was amenable for taking off from the ground in flight (e.g., sparse habitats, coastal areas). Condors originating from different release sites differed in their use of habitat, but this was likely due in part to variation in habitats surrounding release sites. Meteorological conditions were linked to condor use of ecological subregions, with thermal height, thermal velocity, and wind speed having both positive (selection) and negative (avoidance) effects on condor use in different areas. We found little evidence of systematic effects between individual characteristics (i.e., sex, age, breeding status) or components of the species management program (i.e., release site, rearing method) relative to meteorological conditions. Our findings indicate that habitat type and meteorological conditions can interact in complex ways to influence condor resource selection across landscapes, which is noteworthy given the extent of anthropogenic stressors that may impact condor populations (e.g., lead poisoning, wind energy development). Additional studies will be valuable to assess small-scale condor movements in light of these stressors to help minimize their risk to

  7. Sociocultural Variables That Impact High School Students' Perceptions of Native Fauna: a Study on the Species Component of the Biodiversity Concept

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bermudez, Gonzalo M. A.; Battistón, Luisina V.; García Capocasa, María C.; De Longhi, Ana L.

    2017-02-01

    This study investigates the influence of school sector (private versus state schools) and student gender on knowledge of native fauna. Our main objectives were (a) to describe the knowledge of high school students from the province of Cordoba, Argentina with respect to native animal species, (b) to determine if any exotic species (introduced or domestic) are considered native, and (c) to analyze the effects of school sector and gender on the students' knowledge of the native fauna. In total, 321 students aged 15-18 from 14 urban schools (8 state and 6 private schools) were asked to write down ten animals native to Córdoba, Argentina, in a free-list questionnaire. Relative frequencies and Generalized Linear Mixed Models (GLMM) were used to analyze the categorized (animal names) and continuous answers (quantity of responses, number of native animals, etc.), with the 25 most frequently mentioned species showing a predominance of native ones, of which "Puma" ( Puma concolor) and "Andean condor" ( Vultur gryphus) were the most prominent. An overrepresentation of mammalian species compared to other classes of chordates was also found, with high school students mentioning native and domestic species higher on the free-list. Using GLMM, we found that school sector had a significant effect on the number of native animals mentioned at both national and local levels, and on domestic and mixed species. Finally, male students mentioned more species and more native animals than their female counterparts. These findings were interpreted and discussed in light of sociocultural and traditional ecological knowledge theories, from which several implications arose related to research and practice.

  8. Resource Selection by the California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) Relative to Terrestrial-Based Habitats and Meteorological Conditions

    PubMed Central

    Rivers, James W.; Johnson, J. Matthew; Haig, Susan M.; Schwarz, Carl J.; Glendening, John W.; Burnett, L. Joseph; George, Daniel; Grantham, Jesse

    2014-01-01

    Condors and vultures are distinct from most other terrestrial birds because they use extensive soaring flight for their daily movements. Therefore, assessing resource selection by these avian scavengers requires quantifying the availability of terrestrial-based habitats, as well as meteorological variables that influence atmospheric conditions necessary for soaring. In this study, we undertook the first quantitative assessment of habitat- and meteorological-based resource selection in the endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) within its California range and across the annual cycle. We found that condor use of terrestrial areas did not change markedly within the annual cycle, and that condor use was greatest for habitats where food resources and potential predators could be detected and where terrain was amenable for taking off from the ground in flight (e.g., sparse habitats, coastal areas). Condors originating from different release sites differed in their use of habitat, but this was likely due in part to variation in habitats surrounding release sites. Meteorological conditions were linked to condor use of ecological subregions, with thermal height, thermal velocity, and wind speed having both positive (selection) and negative (avoidance) effects on condor use in different areas. We found little evidence of systematic effects between individual characteristics (i.e., sex, age, breeding status) or components of the species management program (i.e., release site, rearing method) relative to meteorological conditions. Our findings indicate that habitat type and meteorological conditions can interact in complex ways to influence condor resource selection across landscapes, which is noteworthy given the extent of anthropogenic stressors that may impact condor populations (e.g., lead poisoning, wind energy development). Additional studies will be valuable to assess small-scale condor movements in light of these stressors to help minimize their risk to

  9. A reappraisal of azhdarchid pterosaur functional morphology and paleoecology.

    PubMed

    Witton, Mark P; Naish, Darren

    2008-05-28

    Azhdarchid pterosaurs were among the most widespread and successful of pterosaur clades, but their paleoecology remains controversial. Morphological features common to all azhdarchids include a long, shallow rostrum; elongate, cylindrical cervical vertebrae that formed a long and unusually inflexible neck; and proportionally short wings with an abbreviated fourth phalanx. While azhdarchids have been imagined as vulture-like scavengers, sediment probers, swimmers, waders, aerial predators, or stork-like generalists, most recent authors have regarded them as skim-feeders, trawling their lower jaws through water during flight and seizing aquatic prey from the water's surface. Although apparently widely accepted, the skim-feeding model lacks critical support from anatomy and functional morphology. Azhdarchids lack the many cranial specialisations exhibited by extant skim-feeding birds, most notably the laterally compressed lower jaw and shock absorbing apparatus required for this feeding style. Well-preserved azhdarchid skulls are rare, but their rostra and lower jaws appear to have been sub-triangular in cross-section, and thus dissimilar to those of skim-feeders and sediment probers. Taphonomic data indicates that azhdarchids predominately inhabited inland settings, and azhdarchid morphology indicates that they were poorly suited for all proposed lifestyles bar wading and terrestrial foraging. However, azhdarchid footprints show that their feet were relatively small, padded and slender, and thus not well suited for wading. We argue that azhdarchids were stork- or ground hornbill-like generalists, foraging in diverse environments for small animals and carrion. Proficient terrestrial abilities and a relatively inflexible neck are in agreement with this interpretation.

  10. Risks to Birds Traded for African Traditional Medicine: A Quantitative Assessment

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Vivienne L.; Cunningham, Anthony B.; Kemp, Alan C.; Bruyns, Robin K.

    2014-01-01

    Few regional or continent-wide assessments of bird use for traditional medicine have been attempted anywhere in the world. Africa has the highest known diversity of bird species used for this purpose. This study assesses the vulnerability of 354 bird species used for traditional medicine in 25 African countries, from 205 genera, 70 families, and 25 orders. The orders most represented were Passeriformes (107 species), Falconiformes (45 species), and Coraciiformes (24 species), and the families Accipitridae (37 species), Ardeidae (15 species), and Bucerotidae (12 species). The Barn owl (Tyto alba) was the most widely sold species (seven countries). The similarity of avifaunal orders traded is high (analogous to “morphospecies”, and using Sørensen's index), which suggests opportunities for a common understanding of cultural factors driving demand. The highest similarity was between bird orders sold in markets of Benin vs. Burkina Faso (90%), but even bird orders sold in two geographically separated countries (Benin vs. South Africa and Nigeria vs. South Africa) were 87% and 81% similar, respectively. Rabinowitz's “7 forms of rarity” model, used to group species according to commonness or rarity, indicated that 24% of traded bird species are very common, locally abundant in several habitats, and occur over a large geographical area, but 10% are rare, occur in low numbers in specific habitats, and over a small geographical area. The order with the highest proportion of rare species was the Musophagiformes. An analysis of species mass (as a proxy for size) indicated that large and/or conspicuous species tend to be targeted by harvesters for the traditional medicine trade. Furthermore, based on cluster analyses for species groups of similar risk, vultures, hornbills, and other large avifauna, such as bustards, are most threatened by selective harvesting and should be prioritised for conservation action. PMID:25162700

  11. When David Beats Goliath: The Advantage of Large Size in Interspecific Aggressive Contests Declines over Evolutionary Time

    PubMed Central

    Martin, Paul R.; Ghalambor, Cameron K.

    2014-01-01

    Body size has long been recognized to play a key role in shaping species interactions. For example, while small species thrive in a diversity of environments, they typically lose aggressive contests for resources with larger species. However, numerous examples exist of smaller species dominating larger species during aggressive interactions, suggesting that the evolution of traits can allow species to overcome the competitive disadvantage of small size. If these traits accumulate as lineages diverge, then the advantage of large size in interspecific aggressive interactions should decline with increased evolutionary distance. We tested this hypothesis using data on the outcomes of 23,362 aggressive interactions among 246 bird species pairs involving vultures at carcasses, hummingbirds at nectar sources, and antbirds and woodcreepers at army ant swarms. We found the advantage of large size declined as species became more evolutionarily divergent, and smaller species were more likely to dominate aggressive contests when interacting with more distantly-related species. These results appear to be caused by both the evolution of traits in smaller species that enhanced their abilities in aggressive contests, and the evolution of traits in larger species that were adaptive for other functions, but compromised their abilities to compete aggressively. Specific traits that may provide advantages to small species in aggressive interactions included well-developed leg musculature and talons, enhanced flight acceleration and maneuverability, novel fighting behaviors, and traits associated with aggression, such as testosterone and muscle development. Traits that may have hindered larger species in aggressive interactions included the evolution of morphologies for tree trunk foraging that compromised performance in aggressive contests away from trunks, and the evolution of migration. Overall, our results suggest that fundamental trade-offs, such as those associated with body size

  12. Sociocultural Variables That Impact High School Students' Perceptions of Native Fauna: a Study on the Species Component of the Biodiversity Concept

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bermudez, Gonzalo M. A.; Battistón, Luisina V.; García Capocasa, María C.; De Longhi, Ana L.

    2015-11-01

    This study investigates the influence of school sector (private versus state schools) and student gender on knowledge of native fauna. Our main objectives were (a) to describe the knowledge of high school students from the province of Cordoba, Argentina with respect to native animal species, (b) to determine if any exotic species (introduced or domestic) are considered native, and (c) to analyze the effects of school sector and gender on the students' knowledge of the native fauna. In total, 321 students aged 15-18 from 14 urban schools (8 state and 6 private schools) were asked to write down ten animals native to Córdoba, Argentina, in a free-list questionnaire. Relative frequencies and Generalized Linear Mixed Models (GLMM) were used to analyze the categorized (animal names) and continuous answers (quantity of responses, number of native animals, etc.), with the 25 most frequently mentioned species showing a predominance of native ones, of which "Puma" (Puma concolor) and "Andean condor" (Vultur gryphus) were the most prominent. An overrepresentation of mammalian species compared to other classes of chordates was also found, with high school students mentioning native and domestic species higher on the free-list. Using GLMM, we found that school sector had a significant effect on the number of native animals mentioned at both national and local levels, and on domestic and mixed species. Finally, male students mentioned more species and more native animals than their female counterparts. These findings were interpreted and discussed in light of sociocultural and traditional ecological knowledge theories, from which several implications arose related to research and practice.

  13. Soaring Migratory Birds Avoid Wind Farm in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Southern Mexico

    PubMed Central

    Villegas-Patraca, Rafael; Cabrera-Cruz, Sergio A.; Herrera-Alsina, Leonel

    2014-01-01

    The number of wind farms operating in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, southern Mexico, has rapidly increased in recent years; yet, this region serves as a major migration route for various soaring birds, including Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) and Swainson's Hawks (Buteo swainsoni). We analyzed the flight trajectories of soaring migrant birds passing the La Venta II wind farm during the two migratory seasons of 2011, to determine whether an avoidance pattern existed or not. We recorded three polar coordinates for the flight path of migrating soaring birds that were detected using marine radar, plotted the flight trajectories and estimated the number of trajectories that intersected the polygon defined by the wind turbines of La Venta II. Finally, we estimated the actual number of intersections per kilometer and compared this value with the null distributions obtained by running 10,000 simulations of our datasets. The observed number of intersections per kilometer fell within or beyond the lower end of the null distributions in the five models proposed for the fall season and in three of the four models proposed for the spring season. Flight trajectories had a non-random distribution around La Venta II, suggesting a strong avoidance pattern during fall and a possible avoidance pattern during spring. We suggest that a nearby ridgeline plays an important role in this pattern, an issue that may be incorporated into strategies to minimize the potential negative impacts of future wind farms on soaring birds. Studies evaluating these issues in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec have not been previously published; hence this work contributes important baseline information about the movement patterns of soaring birds and its relationship to wind farms in the region. PMID:24647442

  14. A pilot golden eagle population study in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area, California

    SciTech Connect

    Hunt, G.

    1995-05-01

    Orloff and Flannery (1992) estimated that several hundred reports are annually killed by turbine collisions, wire strikes, and electrocutions at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (WRA). The most common fatalities were those of red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), American kestrels (Falco sparvatius), and golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), with lesser numbers of turkey vultures (Cathartes aura), common ravens (Corvus corax), bam owls (Tyto alba), and others. Among the species of raptors killed at Altamont Pass, the one whose local population is most likely to be impacted is the golden eagle. Besides its being less abundant than the others, the breeding and recruitment rates of golden eagles are naturally slow, increasing their susceptibility to decline as a result of mortality influences. The golden eagle is a species afforded special federal protection because of its inclusion within the Bald Eagle Protection Act as amended in 1963. There are no provisions within the Act which would allow the killing ``taking`` of golden eagles by WRA structures. This report details the results of field studies conducted during 19941. The primary purpose of the investigation is to lay the groundwork for determining whether or not turbine strikes and other hazards related to energy at Altamont Pass may be expected to affect golden eagles on a population basis. We also seek an understanding of the physical and biotic circumstances which attract golden eagles to the WRA within the context of the surrounding landscape and the conditions under which they are killed by wind turbines. Such knowledge may suggest turbine-related or habitat modifications that would result in a lower incidence of eagle mortality.

  15. Soaring migratory birds avoid wind farm in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, southern Mexico.

    PubMed

    Villegas-Patraca, Rafael; Cabrera-Cruz, Sergio A; Herrera-Alsina, Leonel

    2014-01-01

    The number of wind farms operating in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, southern Mexico, has rapidly increased in recent years; yet, this region serves as a major migration route for various soaring birds, including Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) and Swainson's Hawks (Buteo swainsoni). We analyzed the flight trajectories of soaring migrant birds passing the La Venta II wind farm during the two migratory seasons of 2011, to determine whether an avoidance pattern existed or not. We recorded three polar coordinates for the flight path of migrating soaring birds that were detected using marine radar, plotted the flight trajectories and estimated the number of trajectories that intersected the polygon defined by the wind turbines of La Venta II. Finally, we estimated the actual number of intersections per kilometer and compared this value with the null distributions obtained by running 10,000 simulations of our datasets. The observed number of intersections per kilometer fell within or beyond the lower end of the null distributions in the five models proposed for the fall season and in three of the four models proposed for the spring season. Flight trajectories had a non-random distribution around La Venta II, suggesting a strong avoidance pattern during fall and a possible avoidance pattern during spring. We suggest that a nearby ridgeline plays an important role in this pattern, an issue that may be incorporated into strategies to minimize the potential negative impacts of future wind farms on soaring birds. Studies evaluating these issues in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec have not been previously published; hence this work contributes important baseline information about the movement patterns of soaring birds and its relationship to wind farms in the region.

  16. Erosion of the continental lithosphere at the cusps of the Calabrian arc: Evidence from S receiver functions analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, Meghan S.; Piana Agostinetti, Nicola

    2011-12-01

    Mediterranean tectonics has been characterized by an irregular, complex temporal evolution with episodic rollback and retreat of the subducted plate followed by period of slow trench-migration. To provide insight into the geodynamics of the Calabrian arc, we image the characteristics and lithospheric structure of the convergent, Apulian and Hyblean forelands at the cusps of the arc. Specifically we investigate the crustal and lithospheric thicknesses using teleseismic S-to-p converted phases, applied to the Adria-Africa plate margin for the first time. We find that the Moho in the Apulian foreland is nearly flat at ˜30 km depth, consistent with previous P receiver functions results, and that the Hyblean crustal thickness is more complex, which can be understood in terms of the nature of the individual pieces of carbonate platform and pelagic sediments that make up the Hyblean platform. The lithospheric thicknesses range between 70-120 km beneath Apulia and 70-90 km beneath Sicily. The lithosphere of the forelands at each end of the Calabrian arc are continental in nature, buoyant compared to the subducting oceanic lithosphere and have previously been interpreted as mostly undeformed carbonate platforms. Our receiver function images also show evidence of lithospheric erosion and thinning close to Mt. Etna and Mt. Vulture, two volcanoes which have been associated with asthenospheric upwelling and mantle flow around of the sides the slab. We suggest that as the continental lithosphere resists being subducted it is being thermo-mechanically modified by toroidal flow around the edges of the subducting oceanic lithosphere of the Calabrian arc.

  17. Implementing ecopharmacovigilance in practice: challenges and potential opportunities.

    PubMed

    Holm, Gisela; Snape, Jason R; Murray-Smith, Richard; Talbot, John; Taylor, David; Sörme, Pernilla

    2013-07-01

    Ecopharmacovigilance (EPV) is a developing science and it is currently very unclear what it might mean in practice. We have performed a comparison between pharmacovigilance (PV) and EPV and have identified that there are similarities, but also some important differences that must be considered before any practical implementation of EPV. The biggest difference and greatest challenge concerns signal detection in the environment and the difficulty of identifying cause and effect. We reflect on the dramatic vulture decline in Asia, which was caused by the veterinary use of diclofenac, versus the relative difficulty in identifying the specific causes of intersex fish in European rivers. We explore what EPV might mean in practice and have identified that there are some practical measures that can be taken to assess environmental risks across product life cycle, particularly after launch of a new drug, to ensure that our risk assessments and scientific understanding of pharmaceuticals in the environment remain scientifically and ecologically relevant. These include: Tracking environmental risks after launch of the product, via literature monitoring for emerging data on exposure and effects Using Environmental Risk Management Plans (ERMPs) as a centralized resource to assess and manage the risks of a drug throughout its life cycle Further research, testing or monitoring in the environment when a risk is identified Keeping a global EPV perspective Increasing transparency and availability of environmental data for medicinal products. These measures will help to ensure that any significant environmental issues associated with pharmaceuticals in the environment (PIE) are identified in a timely way, and can be managed appropriately.

  18. A Reappraisal of Azhdarchid Pterosaur Functional Morphology and Paleoecology

    PubMed Central

    Witton, Mark P.; Naish, Darren

    2008-01-01

    Azhdarchid pterosaurs were among the most widespread and successful of pterosaur clades, but their paleoecology remains controversial. Morphological features common to all azhdarchids include a long, shallow rostrum; elongate, cylindrical cervical vertebrae that formed a long and unusually inflexible neck; and proportionally short wings with an abbreviated fourth phalanx. While azhdarchids have been imagined as vulture-like scavengers, sediment probers, swimmers, waders, aerial predators, or stork-like generalists, most recent authors have regarded them as skim-feeders, trawling their lower jaws through water during flight and seizing aquatic prey from the water's surface. Although apparently widely accepted, the skim-feeding model lacks critical support from anatomy and functional morphology. Azhdarchids lack the many cranial specialisations exhibited by extant skim-feeding birds, most notably the laterally compressed lower jaw and shock absorbing apparatus required for this feeding style. Well-preserved azhdarchid skulls are rare, but their rostra and lower jaws appear to have been sub-triangular in cross-section, and thus dissimilar to those of skim-feeders and sediment probers. Taphonomic data indicates that azhdarchids predominately inhabited inland settings, and azhdarchid morphology indicates that they were poorly suited for all proposed lifestyles bar wading and terrestrial foraging. However, azhdarchid footprints show that their feet were relatively small, padded and slender, and thus not well suited for wading. We argue that azhdarchids were stork- or ground hornbill-like generalists, foraging in diverse environments for small animals and carrion. Proficient terrestrial abilities and a relatively inflexible neck are in agreement with this interpretation. PMID:18509539

  19. Ranking the risk of wildlife species hazardous to military aircraft

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zakrajsek, E.J.; Bissonette, J.A.

    2005-01-01

    Collisions between birds and aircraft (birdstrikes) pose a major threat to aviation safety. Different species pose different levels of threat; thus, identification of the most hazardous species can help managers identify the level of hazard and prioritize mitigation efforts. Dolbeer et al. (2000) assessed the hazard posed by birds to civilian aircraft by analyzing data from the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Wildlife Strike Database to rank the hazardous species and species groups. A similar analysis has not been done for the military but would be useful and necessary. Military flight characteristics differ from those of civilian flights. During the period 1985-1998, birdstrikes cost the United States Air Force (USAF) an average of $35 million/year in damage. Using the USAF Birdstrike Database, we selected and evaluated each species or species group by the number of strikes recorded in each of 3 damage categories. We weighted damage categories to reflect extent and cost of damage. The USAF Birdstrike Database contained 25,519 records of wildlife strikes in the United States. During the period 1985-1998, 22 (mean = 1.6/year) Class-A birdstrikes (>$1,000,000 damage, loss of aircraft, loss of life, or permanent total disability) were sustained, accounting for 80% of total monetary losses caused by birds. Vultures (Cathartes aura, Coragyps atratus, Caracara cheriway) were ranked the most hazardous species group (Hazard Index Rank [HIR] = 127) to USAF aircraft, followed by geese (Branta canadensis, Chen caerulescens, HIR = 76), pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos, P. occidentalis, HIR = 47), and buteos (Buteo sp., HIR = 30). Of the smaller flocking birds, blackbirds and starlings (mostly Agelaius phoeniceus, Euphagus cyanocephalus, Molothrus ater, Sturnus vulgaris, HIR = 46), horned larks (Eremophila alpestris, HIR = 24), and swallows (Families Hirundinidae, Apodidae, HIR = 23) were species groups ranked highest. Coupling these results with local bird census

  20. Effects of attitudes and demography on public support for endangered species conservation.

    PubMed

    Liordos, Vasilios; Kontsiotis, Vasileios J; Anastasiadou, Magdalini; Karavasias, Efstathios

    2017-04-01

    It is critical for managers to understand how attitudes and demography affect public's preferences for species protection for designing successful conservation projects. 1080 adults in Greece were asked to rate pictures of 12 endangered species on aesthetic and negativistic attitudes, and intention to support their conservation. Factor analysis identified a group of animals for which respondents indicated high levels of support for their conservation (red deer, loggerhead sea turtle, brown bear, common pheasant, European ground squirrel, glossy ibis) and a group of animals for which respondents indicated low levels of support (black vulture, great white shark, fire-bellied toad, western barbastelle, Cretan tube web spider, Milos viper). The species that received the highest support were also rated as the most attractive and safest, excluding the fearsome brown bear. Structural models revealed that aesthetic, moralistic and negativistic attitudes were the stronger predictors of support. Aesthetic and moralistic attitudes were positively, and negativistic attitudes negatively, correlated with support for conservation in both groups. Consumptive users scored lower in aesthetics and were less supportive of protection in the high support group, while nonconsumptive users showed the opposite trend. Respondents residing in urban areas deemed animals of high support more attractive and less fearsome and were more supportive of conservation than rural residents in both groups. Females of higher education viewed animals of low support as fearsome, however they supported their conservation. Our study identified popular species that can be used as flagship species to facilitate the implementation of conservation projects. The results of this study could also be used to design a communication and outreach campaign to raise awareness about the ecosystem value of less attractive species.

  1. Evolution of archosaurian body plans: skeletal adaptations of an air-sac-based breathing apparatus in birds and other archosaurs.

    PubMed

    O'Connor, Patrick Michael

    2009-10-01

    Living birds represent the only extant sauropsid group in which pulmonary air sacs pneumatize the postcranial skeleton. Notable in this regard is an extraordinary degree of variability, ranging from species that are completely apneumatic to those characterized by air within the entire postcranial skeleton. Although numerous factors (e.g., body size) have been linked with "relative" pneumaticity, comparative studies examining this system remain sparse. This project sought to (1) characterize whole-body patterns of skeletal pneumaticity in distantly related neognath birds and (2) evaluate putative relationships among relative pneumaticity, body size and locomotor specializations. Pneumaticity profiles were established for 52 species representing 10 higher-level groups. Although comparisons reveal relatively conserved patterns within most lower-level clades, apparent size- and locomotor-thresholds do impart predictable deviations from the clade norm. For example, the largest flying birds (vultures, pelicans) exhibit hyperpneumaticity (i.e., pneumaticity of distal limb segments) relative to smaller members of their respective clades. In contrast, skeletal pneumaticity has been independently lost in multiple lineages of diving specialists (e.g., penguins, auks). The application of pneumaticity profiling to extinct archosaurs reveals similar trends in body size evolution, particularly when examining patterns of pneumaticity in a size-diverse assemblage of pterosaurs (flying "reptiles"). As a fundamental organizing system, skeletal pneumaticity may play a role in relaxing constraints on body size evolution by allowing volumetric increases without concomitant increases in body mass. Not only might this be critical for taxa (birds, pterosaurs) exploiting the energetically costly aerial environment, but could be beneficial for any large-bodied terrestrial vertebrates such as the dinosaurs.

  2. Geochemical Patterns of Geothermal Elements in Southern Italian Fumaroles and Thermal Springs in Relation with Mantle Intrusions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boudreau, A. E.; Minissale, A.; Donato, A.; Procesi, M.; Pizzino, L.; Giammanco, S.

    2015-12-01

    The review of published data together with some new data specifically made to fill gaps, to make a database of chemical and isotopic data for thermal emergences (springs, fumaroles and gas vents) in southern Italy, to be used for the publication of a Geothermal Atlas, has hallowed the re-interpretation of all the geochemical data gathered. The main conclusions are as follows. All active volcanic areas (Solfatara, Vesuvius, Ischia Isle, Mt Etna, Aeolian Islands and Pantelleria Isle) have i) high 3He/4He rations coupled with ii) high CO2 emissions and iii) geo-thermometric (isotopic) signatures that suggest the presence of active geothermal systems in all places at shallow depth. In spite of this, no one of these areas, is exploited for geothermal power generation. There are three further Quaternary volcanic areas at: Iblei Mts in Sicily, Vulture volcano in Basilicata region and Logudoro area in Sardinia Island that also have CO2-rich gas emissions, high in 3He/4He ratio, but they are not associated to any relevant thermal emission nearby. In terms of regional patterns, apart from the Calabria subduction arc area (Calabria region), the stable flat cratonic areas of Apulia in SE Italy, the Iblean Platform in SE Sicily, and most of Sardinia, the latter not involved in the Apennine Orogeny, the remaining southern Italy along the Tyrrhenian sector has huge emission of hydrothermally generated CO2 crossed, in counterflow, by descending topographically driven N2 solubilized in recharge meteoric water from the main Apennine belt. Iso-distribution maps of several of the parameters investigated even more clearly show the sectors of southern Italy affected by the intrusion of mantle magma and therefore the areas where the geothermal heat-flow is maximized by active tectonics.

  3. Stop and Smell the Pollen: The Role of Olfaction and Vision of the Oriental Honey Buzzard in Identifying Food

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Shu-Yi; Walther, Bruno A.; Weng, Guo-Jing

    2015-01-01

    The importance of olfaction for various avian behaviors has become increasingly evident. So far, the use of olfaction for food detection among raptors has only been demonstrated for Cathartes vultures. The Oriental honey buzzard (Pernis orientalis) is a resident and migrant in Taiwan and regularly forages in apiaries. One of its foods in apiaries is yellow pollen dough, a softball-sized mixture of pollen, soybeans, and sugar that beekeepers provide as a supplementary food for bees. Given that pollen dough is not similar to any naturally occurring food, we hypothesized that buzzards identify the dough’s nutritious contents using olfaction, perhaps in combination with vision. Using a series of choice experiments in which individuals could choose between two doughs, we showed that (1) buzzards almost unerringly chose pollen-containing over pollen lacking doughs when otherwise the doughs were identical in size, shape, and yellow color; (2) buzzards always preferred yellow over black or green doughs if both doughs contained pollen; (3) buzzards still preferred pollen-containing over pollen-lacking doughs when both doughs were black, but at a lower rate than in (1). We statistically excluded the possible influences of the doughs’ relative brightness or of repeat visits by the same individuals. Our experiments thus suggest the use of a ‘multi-modal foraging strategy’ among buzzards whereby olfaction and vision are likely to be both used in identifying food at close distances. We also estimated the olfactory receptor gene repertoire size in the buzzard’s genome which is almost five times as large as that of three other raptor species. Therefore, olfaction is likely of far greater ecological importance to this species than to other raptor species. We suggest that olfaction should be considered in the design of behavioral and genetic studies to better understand the use of multiple senses in avian behaviors. PMID:26177533

  4. Mitochondrial genomes and avian phylogeny: complex characters and resolvability without explosive radiations.

    PubMed

    Gibb, Gillian C; Kardailsky, Olga; Kimball, Rebecca T; Braun, Edward L; Penny, David

    2007-01-01

    We improve the taxon sampling for avian phylogeny by analyzing 7 new mitochondrial genomes (a toucan, woodpecker, osprey, forest falcon, American kestrel, heron, and a pelican). This improves inference of the avian tree, and it supports 3 major conclusions. The first is that some birds (including a parrot, a toucan, and an osprey) exhibit a complete duplication of the control region (CR) meaning that there are at least 4 distinct gene orders within birds. However, it appears that there are regions of continued gene conversion between the duplicate CRs, resulting in duplications that can be stable for long evolutionary periods. Because of this stable duplicated state, gene order can eventually either revert to the original order or change to the new gene order. The existence of this stable duplicate state explains how an apparently unlikely event (finding the same novel gene order) can arise multiple times. Although rare genomic changes have theoretical advantages for tree reconstruction, they can be compromised if these apparently rare events have a stable intermediate state. Secondly, the toucan and woodpecker improve the resolution of the 6-way split within Neoaves that has been called an "explosive radiation." An explosive radiation implies that normal microevolutionary events are insufficient to explain the observed macroevolution. By showing the avian tree is, in principle, resolvable, we demonstrate that the radiation of birds is amenable to standard evolutionary analysis. Thirdly, and as expected from theory, additional taxa breaking up long branches stabilize the position of some problematic taxa (like the falcon). In addition, we report that within the birds of prey and allies, we did not find evidence pairing New World vultures with storks or accipitrids (hawks, eagles, and osprey) with Falconids.

  5. Fluxes of deep CO 2 in the volcanic areas of central-southern Italy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gambardella, Barbara; Cardellini, Carlo; Chiodini, Giovanni; Frondini, Francesco; Marini, Luigi; Ottonello, Giulio; Vetuschi Zuccolini, Marino

    2004-08-01

    Both the shallow (organic-derived) and deep (mantellic-magmatic-metamorphic) fluxes of CO 2 [ ΦCO 2, mass time -1] and specific fluxes of CO 2 [ ϕCO 2 mass time -1 surface -1] dissolving in the shallow groundwaters of the volcanic areas of Amiata, Vulsini-Vico-Sabatini, Albani, Roccamonfina, Vesuvio, Vulture, and Etna were evaluated by partitioning the composed population of total dissolved inorganic carbon in two individual populations and subsequent subtraction of local background population. The flux of deep CO 2 released from the geothermal fields of Piancastagnaio (Amiata), Torre Alfina, Latera, Marta, Bracciano south, Cesano, and Mofete and from the Overall Northern Latium Hydrothermal Reservoir were also evaluated by means of the total surface heat flux and the enthalpy and CO 2 molality of the single liquid phase circulating in each geothermal reservoir. These data suggest that the ϕCO 2 released to the atmosphere varies from 9.5×10 6 to 3.0×10 6 mol year -1 km -2, over the geothermal fields of Bracciano south and Cesano, respectively, and that a total ΦCO 2 of 3.8×10 8 mol year -1 is cumulatively released from the geothermal fields of Torre Alfina, Latera and Cesano extending over an area of only 66 km 2. In addition, a flux of ˜2.2×10 11 to 3.8×10 11 mol year -1 of gaseous CO 2 entering the atmosphere is obtained for the entire anomalous area of central Italy, extending from the Tyrrhenian coastline to the Apennine chain (45,000 km 2). Thus terrestrial CO 2 emission in central-southern Italy appears to be a significant carbon source.

  6. Ticks collected from humans, domestic animals, and wildlife in Yucatan, Mexico.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Vivas, R I; Apanaskevich, D A; Ojeda-Chi, M M; Trinidad-Martínez, I; Reyes-Novelo, E; Esteve-Gassent, M D; Pérez de León, A A

    2016-01-15

    Domestic animals and wildlife play important roles as reservoirs of zoonotic pathogens that are transmitted to humans by ticks. Besides their role as vectors of several classes of microorganisms of veterinary and public health relevance, ticks also burden human and animal populations through their obligate blood-feeding habit. It is estimated that in Mexico there are around 100 tick species belonging to the Ixodidae and Argasidae families. Information is lacking on tick species that affect humans, domestic animals, and wildlife through their life cycle. This study was conducted to bridge that knowledge gap by inventorying tick species that infest humans, domestic animals and wildlife in the State of Yucatan, Mexico. Amblyomma ticks were observed as euryxenous vertebrate parasites because they were found parasitizing 17 animal species and human. Amblyomma mixtum was the most eryxenous species found in 11 different animal species and humans. Both A. mixtum and A. parvum were found parasitizing humans. Ixodes near affinis was the second most abundant species parasitizing six animal species (dogs, cats, horses, white-nosed coati, white-tail deer and black vulture) and was found widely across the State of Yucatan. Ixodid tick populations may increase in the State of Yucatan with time due to animal production intensification, an increasing wildlife population near rural communities because of natural habitat reduction and fragmentation. The diversity of ticks across host taxa documented here highlights the relevance of ecological information to understand tick-host dynamics. This knowledge is critical to inform public health and veterinary programs for the sustainable control of ticks and tick-borne diseases.

  7. Cyclic Di-GMP Regulates Type IV Pilus-Dependent Motility in Myxococcus xanthus

    PubMed Central

    Skotnicka, Dorota; Petters, Tobias; Heering, Jan; Hoppert, Michael; Kaever, Volkhard

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT The nucleotide-based second messenger bis-(3′-5′)-cyclic dimeric GMP (c-di-GMP) is involved in regulating a plethora of processes in bacteria that are typically associated with lifestyle changes. Myxococcus xanthus undergoes major lifestyle changes in response to nutrient availability, with the formation of spreading colonies in the presence of nutrients and spore-filled fruiting bodies in the absence of nutrients. Here, we investigated the function of c-di-GMP in M. xanthus and show that this bacterium synthesizes c-di-GMP during growth. Manipulation of the c-di-GMP level by expression of either an active, heterologous diguanylate cyclase or an active, heterologous phosphodiesterase correlated with defects in type IV pilus (T4P)-dependent motility, whereas gliding motility was unaffected. An increased level of c-di-GMP correlated with reduced transcription of the pilA gene (which encodes the major pilin of T4P), reduced the assembly of T4P, and altered cell agglutination, whereas a decreased c-di-GMP level correlated with altered cell agglutination. The systematic inactivation of the 24 genes in M. xanthus encoding proteins containing GGDEF, EAL, or HD-GYP domains, which are associated with c-di-GMP synthesis, degradation, or binding, identified three genes encoding proteins important for T4P-dependent motility, whereas all mutants had normal gliding motility. Purified DmxA had diguanylate cyclase activity, whereas the hybrid histidine protein kinases TmoK and SgmT, each of which contains a GGDEF domain, did not have diguanylate cyclase activity. These results demonstrate that c-di-GMP is important for T4P-dependent motility in M. xanthus. IMPORTANCE We provide the first direct evidence that M. xanthus synthesizes c-di-GMP and demonstrate that c-di-GMP is important for T4P-dependent motility, whereas we did not obtain evidence that c-di-GMP regulates gliding motility. The data presented uncovered a novel mechanism for regulation of T4P

  8. Leukemia patient-derived lymphoblastoid cell lines exhibit increased induction of leukemia-associated transcripts following high-dose irradiation.

    PubMed

    Spencer, A; Granter, N

    1999-09-01

    Improvement in diagnostic cytogenetic techniques has led to the recognition of an increasing number of leukemia-associated chromosomal translocations and inversions. These genetic lesions frequently are associated with the disruption of putative transcription factors and the production of hybrid transcripts that are implicated in leukemogenesis. Epidemiologic evidence suggests that some, but not all, individuals with a history of gamma-irradiation exposure are at increased risk of developing chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). CML is characterized by the Philadelphia chromosome and transcription of the resulting hybrid BCR-ABL gene. Utilizing the leukemia-associated BCR-ABL p210 transcript as a marker, we sought differences in the induction of illegitimate genetic recombination following high-dose gamma-irradiation of karyotypically normal lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCL) derived from individuals with and without a history of myeloid leukemias. Six LCL [4 leukemia patient derived [2 acute myeloid leukemia and 2 CML] and 2 from normal individuals were analyzed with reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction for BCR-ABL under stringent conditions following exposure to 0, 50, or 100 Gy of LET gamma-irradiation delivered via a Varian linear accelerator at 4 MV. Transcripts identical to disease-associated b2a2 and b3a2 transcripts were detected both spontaneously (background illegitimate genetic recombination) and following gamma-irradiation. Background BCR-ABL positivity was demonstrable in 4 of the 6 LCL, with no significant difference in detection between leukemic- and nonleukemic-derived LCL. Overall, increasing gamma-irradiation dose resulted in an increased frequency of BCR-ABL transcript detection (0 Gy vs 50 Gy vs 100 Gy,p = 0.0023, Chi-square test). Within the leukemic- but not the nonleukemic-derived LCL there was significantly greater BCR-ABL positivity after gamma-irradiation compared to unirradiated equivalents. Furthermore, the BCR-ABL positivity of both

  9. Flavobacterium kyungheensis sp. nov., isolated from soil of a ginseng field.

    PubMed

    Son, Heung-Min; Kook, Moochang; Park, Sang-Yong; Mavlonov, Gafurjon T; Yi, Tae-Hoo

    2013-12-01

    A Gram-staining negative, strictly aerobic, motile by gliding, non-spore-forming, pale yellow pigmented and rod-shaped bacterium designated strain THG-107(T) was isolated from soil of a ginseng field on Ganghwa Island in the Republic of Korea and its taxonomic position was investigated by using a polyphasic study. Growth of strain THG-107(T) was found to occur at 4-37 °C (optimum, 20-30 °C), at pH 5.5-10 (optimum, pH 7.0) and in the presence of 0-1 % (w/v) NaCl (optimum, absence) on R2A agar. On the basis of 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity, strain THG-107(T) was shown to belong to the family Flavobacteriaceae and was related to Flavobacterium denitrificans ED5(T) (99.1 % similarity). The G+C content of the genomic DNA was determined to be 34.2 mol%. These results are consistent with characteristics of members of the genus Flavobacterium. The only isoprenoid quinone detected in strain THG-107(T) was menaquinone-6 (MK-6) and the major polyamine was identified as homospermidine (82.9 %). The major polar lipid detected was phosphatidylethanolamine and the major cellular fatty acids were identified as iso-C15:0 (26.3 %), iso-C17:0 3OH (12.6 %) and summed feature 3 (comprising C16:1 ω7c and/or C16:1 ω6c; 11.6 %). Flexirubin-type pigments were found to be present. Strain THG-107(T) has β-glucosidase activity to convert ginsenosides Rb1 and Rd into Gyp17 and F2. DNA-DNA hybridization with F. denitrificans ED5(T) was 52 %. Strain THG-107(T) could be distinguished from F. denitrificans ED5(T) and the other species of the genus Flavobacterium by its phylogenetic and genetic distinctiveness and by several phenotypic properties. Therefore, strain THG-107(T) is considered to represent a novel species in the genus Flavobacterium, for which the name Flavobacterium kyungheensis sp. nov. is proposed (type strain THG-107(T) = KACC 16219(T) = LMG 26575(T)).

  10. Polyphyly of the hawk genera Leucopternis and Buteogallus (Aves, Accipitridae): multiple habitat shifts during the Neotropical buteonine diversification

    PubMed Central

    do Amaral, Fabio S Raposo; Miller, Matthew J; Silveira, Luís Fábio; Bermingham, Eldredge; Wajntal, Anita

    2006-01-01

    Background The family Accipitridae (hawks, eagles and Old World vultures) represents a large radiation of predatory birds with an almost global distribution, although most species of this family occur in the Neotropics. Despite great morphological and ecological diversity, the evolutionary relationships in the family have been poorly explored at all taxonomic levels. Using sequences from four mitochondrial genes (12S, ATP8, ATP6, and ND6), we reconstructed the phylogeny of the Neotropical forest hawk genus Leucopternis and most of the allied genera of Neotropical buteonines. Our goals were to infer the evolutionary relationships among species of Leucopternis, estimate their relationships to other buteonine genera, evaluate the phylogenetic significance of the white and black plumage patterns common to most Leucopternis species, and assess general patterns of diversification of the group with respect to species' affiliations with Neotropical regions and habitats. Results Our molecular phylogeny for the genus Leucopternis and its allies disagrees sharply with traditional taxonomic arrangements for the group, and we present new hypotheses of relationships for a number of species. The mtDNA phylogenetic trees derived from analysis of the combined data posit a polyphyletic relationship among species of Leucopternis, Buteogallus and Buteo. Three highly supported clades containing Leucopternis species were recovered in our phylogenetic reconstructions. The first clade consisted of the sister pairs L. lacernulatus and Buteogallus meridionalis, and Buteogallus urubitinga and Harpyhaliaetus coronatus, in addition to L. schistaceus and L. plumbeus. The second clade included the sister pair Leucopternis albicollis and L. occidentalis as well as L. polionotus. The third lineage comprised the sister pair L. melanops and L. kuhli, in addition to L. semiplumbeus and Buteo buteo. According to our results, the white and black plumage patterns have evolved at least twice in the group

  11. The value of avian genomics to the conservation of wildlife

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Background Genomic studies in non-domestic avian models, such as the California condor and white-throated sparrow, can lead to more comprehensive conservation plans and provide clues for understanding mechanisms affecting genetic variation, adaptation and evolution. Developing genomic tools and resources including genomic libraries and a genetic map of the California condor is a prerequisite for identification of candidate loci for a heritable embryonic lethal condition. The white-throated sparrow exhibits a stable genetic polymorphism (i.e. chromosomal rearrangements) associated with variation in morphology, physiology, and behavior (e.g., aggression, social behavior, sexual behavior, parental care). In this paper we outline the utility of these species as well as report on recent advances in the study of their genomes. Results Genotyping of the condor resource population at 17 microsatellite loci provided a better assessment of the current population's genetic variation. Specific New World vulture repeats were found in the condor genome. Using condor BAC library and clones, chicken-condor comparative maps were generated. A condor fibroblast cell line transcriptome was characterized using the 454 sequencing technology. Our karyotypic analyses of the sparrow in combination with other studies indicate that the rearrangements in both chromosomes 2m and 3a are complex and likely involve multiple inversions, interchromosomal linkage, and pleiotropy. At least a portion of the rearrangement in chromosome 2m existed in the common ancestor of the four North American species of Zonotrichia, but not in the one South American species, and that the 2m form, originally thought to be the derived condition, might actually be the ancestral one. Conclusion Mining and characterization of candidate loci in the California condor using molecular genetic and genomic techniques as well as linkage and comparative genomic mapping will eventually enable the identification of carriers of the

  12. Climate change and animals in Saudi Arabia.

    PubMed

    Williams, Joseph B; Shobrak, Mohammed; Wilms, Thomas M; Arif, Ibrahim A; Khan, Haseeb A

    2012-04-01

    Global warming is occurring at an alarming rate and predictions are that air temperature (T a) will continue to increase during this century. Increases in T a as a result of unabated production of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere pose a threat to the distribution and abundance of wildlife populations worldwide. Although all the animals worldwide will likely be affected by global warming, diurnal animals in the deserts will be particularly threatened in the future because T as are already high, and animals have limited access to water. It is expected that Saudi Arabia will experience a 3-5 °C in T a over the next century. For predicting the consequences of global warming for animals, it is important to understand how individual species will respond to higher air temperatures. We think that populations will not have sufficient time to make evolutionary adjustments to higher T a, and therefore they will be forced to alter their distribution patterns, or make phenotypic adjustments in their ability to cope with high T a. This report examines how increases in T a might affect body temperature (T b) in the animals of arid regions. We chose three taxonomic groups, mammals, birds, and reptiles (Arabian oryx, Arabian spiny-tailed lizard, vultures, and hoopoe larks) from Saudi Arabia, an area in which T a often reaches 45 °C during midday in summer. When T a exceeds T b, animals must resort to behavioral and physiological methods to control their T b; failure to do so results in death. The observations of this study show that in many cases T b is already close to the upper lethal limit of around 47° C in these species and therefore allowing their T b to increase as T a increases are not an option. We conclude that global warming will have a detrimental impact on a wide range of desert animals, but in reality we know little about the ability of most animals to cope with change in T a. The data presented should serve as base-line information on T b of animals in the

  13. Climate change and animals in Saudi Arabia

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Joseph B.; Shobrak, Mohammed; Wilms, Thomas M.; Arif, Ibrahim A.; Khan, Haseeb A.

    2011-01-01

    Global warming is occurring at an alarming rate and predictions are that air temperature (Ta) will continue to increase during this century. Increases in Ta as a result of unabated production of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere pose a threat to the distribution and abundance of wildlife populations worldwide. Although all the animals worldwide will likely be affected by global warming, diurnal animals in the deserts will be particularly threatened in the future because Tas are already high, and animals have limited access to water. It is expected that Saudi Arabia will experience a 3–5 °C in Ta over the next century. For predicting the consequences of global warming for animals, it is important to understand how individual species will respond to higher air temperatures. We think that populations will not have sufficient time to make evolutionary adjustments to higher Ta, and therefore they will be forced to alter their distribution patterns, or make phenotypic adjustments in their ability to cope with high Ta. This report examines how increases in Ta might affect body temperature (Tb) in the animals of arid regions. We chose three taxonomic groups, mammals, birds, and reptiles (Arabian oryx, Arabian spiny-tailed lizard, vultures, and hoopoe larks) from Saudi Arabia, an area in which Ta often reaches 45 °C during midday in summer. When Ta exceeds Tb, animals must resort to behavioral and physiological methods to control their Tb; failure to do so results in death. The observations of this study show that in many cases Tb is already close to the upper lethal limit of around 47° C in these species and therefore allowing their Tb to increase as Ta increases are not an option. We conclude that global warming will have a detrimental impact on a wide range of desert animals, but in reality we know little about the ability of most animals to cope with change in Ta. The data presented should serve as base-line information on Tb of animals in the Kingdom for

  14. Fossil bird eggs from the Pliocene of Laetoli, Tanzania: Their taxonomic and paleoecological relationships

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harrison, Terry

    2005-04-01

    Recent paleontological investigations at the Pliocene site of Laetoli and at neighboring localities on the Eyasi Plateau of northern Tanzania have led to the recovery of a sizable collection of fossil bird eggs. The material comes from the Upper Laetolil Beds, dated at ˜3.6-3.8 Ma, and the Lower Laetolil Beds, dated at 3.8 Ma to older than 4.3 Ma. The preservation of relatively complete eggs (other than those of ratites) is an extremely rare occurrence in the fossil record, and Laetoli is the only locality in Africa that has produced such well-preserved eggs. Deposition of carbonatite air-fall tuffs led to the rapid burial of the eggs sub-aerially, and they were then preserved in paleosols that were geochemically conducive to their preservation. The collection of fossil eggs from Laetoli can be assigned to at least five different species of ground-nesting birds, including two or three species of francolins, a species of guineafowl, and a larger bird of uncertain taxonomic status about the size of a bustard. Most of the eggs can be assigned to a large species of Francolinus, similar in size to the extant F. afer and F. leucoscepus. A smaller species of francolin, about the size of Francolinus coqui or F. sephaena, is also represented, but is less common. A single egg may represent an even smaller species of francolin, about the size of Francolinus lathami or F. nahani, but its attribution to Francolinus is less certain. The evidence of at least two species of Francolinus at Laetoli indicates that francolins were already taxonomically diverse in East Africa by the mid-Pliocene. Three eggs are similar in their overall dimensions and morphology to the living Numida meleagris, the helmeted guineafowl. An avian community including at least one small species of francolin, a larger francolin, and a guineafowl (as well as ostriches and a vulture) implies that the paleoecology at Laetoli was likely to have been open woodland, bushland, savanna or grassland. However

  15. Genome-Based Comparison of Cyclic Di-GMP Signaling in Pathogenic and Commensal Escherichia coli Strains

    PubMed Central

    Povolotsky, Tatyana L.

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT The ubiquitous bacterial second messenger cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP) has recently become prominent as a trigger for biofilm formation in many bacteria. It is generated by diguanylate cyclases (DGCs; with GGDEF domains) and degraded by specific phosphodiesterases (PDEs; containing either EAL or HD-GYP domains). Most bacterial species contain multiples of these proteins with some having specific functions that are based on direct molecular interactions in addition to their enzymatic activities. Escherichia coli K-12 laboratory strains feature 29 genes encoding GGDEF and/or EAL domains, resulting in a set of 12 DGCs, 13 PDEs, and four enzymatically inactive “degenerate” proteins that act by direct macromolecular interactions. We present here a comparative analysis of GGDEF/EAL domain-encoding genes in 61 genomes of pathogenic, commensal, and probiotic E. coli strains (including enteric pathogens such as enteroaggregative, enterohemorrhagic, enteropathogenic, enterotoxigenic, and adherent and invasive Escherichia coli and the 2011 German outbreak O104:H4 strain, as well as extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli, such as uropathogenic and meningitis-associated E. coli). We describe additional genes for two membrane-associated DGCs (DgcX and DgcY) and four PDEs (the membrane-associated PdeT, as well as the EAL domain-only proteins PdeW, PdeX, and PdeY), thus showing the pangenome of E. coli to contain at least 35 GGDEF/EAL domain proteins. A core set of only eight proteins is absolutely conserved in all 61 strains: DgcC (YaiC), DgcI (YliF), PdeB (YlaB), PdeH (YhjH), PdeK (YhjK), PdeN (Rtn), and the degenerate proteins CsrD and CdgI (YeaI). In all other GGDEF/EAL domain genes, diverse point and frameshift mutations, as well as small or large deletions, were discovered in various strains. IMPORTANCE Our analysis reveals interesting trends in pathogenic Escherichia coli that could reflect different host cell adherence mechanisms. These may either benefit from or be

  16. GEMAS: Geochemical Distribution of Thallium in European Soil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Demetriades, Alecos; Birke, Manfred; Reimann, Clemens; Mann, Alan; Kaminari, Maria

    2014-05-01

    Thallium concentrations are reported for the <2 mm fraction of soil samples from agricultural (Ap horizon, 0-20 cm; N=2108) and grazing land (Gr, 0-10 cm; N=2024), covering 33 European countries and 5.6 million km2 at a sample density of 1 site/2500 km2. The median concentration of Tl in an aqua regia extraction is 0.116 mg/kg in the Ap and 0.115 mg/kg in the Gr samples. The maps of Tl in the aqua regia extraction show the southern limit of the last glaciation as a distinct concentration break; Tl concentrations are generally somewhat higher in southern (median Ap & Gr 0.14 mg/kg; ) than in northern (median Ap 0.086 mg/kg; Gr 0.082 mg/kg) European soil. A well-defined anomaly marks the Central Scandinavian Clay Belt, and highlights the tendency of Tl to accumulate in clay-rich soil. In Sweden, the high Tl concentrations may be correlated with sulphide mineralisation (e.g., Bergslagen mining district), and also in the Balkans (e.g., Allchar, Krstov Dol, Bujanovac). The principal Tl anomalies are spatially associated with the alkaline igneous rocks in Italy, and terra rossa soil developed on karst in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. The latter may actually also be influenced by ash input from former eruptions of the Italian volcanoes (Vesuvius, Campi Felgrei and Mount Vulture); similar anomalous patterns are shown by Be, Pd and Pt. Most granitic intrusions are also marked by high Tl values (e.g., northern Portugal, Massif Central in France, and Bohemian Massif in Czechia). The median Tl concentration of Ap soil samples in the mobile metal ion (MMI®) partial extraction is 0.0006 mg/kg, and almost 50% of all samples report concentrations below detection. There is no pronounced difference between northern and southern Europe anymore, and the ice age limit of the last glaciation remains invisible. The main anomaly is related to the alkaline volcanic rocks in Italy. Many granitic intrusions are indicated by somewhat enhanced Tl concentrations (e

  17. Fault and fluid interaction in the Bradano Trough, southern Italy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sinisi, Rosa; Vita Petrullo, Angela; Agosta, Fabrizio; Paternoster, Michele; Belviso, Claudia; Grassa, Fausto

    2015-04-01

    We report the preliminary results of a multidisciplinary study directed toward a better understanding of the fault and fluid interaction in the Bradano Trough, the foredeep basin of the southern Apennines fold-and-thrust belt, Italy. The work focuses on fresh tuff deposits located along high-angle faults, which crosscut the foredeep basin infill and the Middle Pleistocene Vulture pyroclastic rocks. Two sites have been studied in detail by mean of integrated field and laboratory analyses. The field survey aimed at deciphering both fault architecture (nature, distribution, and relative timing of formation of the various structural elements) and stratigraphy of the fresh tuff deposits. Laboratory investigation of representative samples of both fresh tuff deposits and mineralized fault-related structural elements (e.g, veins and fluid pipe conduits) targeted their textural, mineralogical and stable isotope compositions. The fresh tuff deposits consist of a few m-thick, either well-layered or massive, carbonates that include fossils and syn-depositional calcite veins. These deposits grew primarily by lateral progradation. Optical microscopy analysis is consistent with seven main fresh tuff lithofacies, which all show the following similarities: (i) cement-supported textures; (ii) presence of peloids, phyto- and bio-clasts, imprints of gastropods, bivalves, and plants; (iii) occurrence of shrinkage pores, micropores, and fenestrae that are either partially or totally filled by secondary calcite. XRPD analysis of representative powders showed that calcite is the sole mineral phase except for quartz and feldspar, which are detected in trace in a few samples. Similarly, the mineralogical composition of the fault-related structural elements also shows minor amounts of quartz. Both nature and origin of the quartz mineral will be investigated in a future work. 13C and 18O signatures of representative fresh tuff powders are consistent with a pronounced different isotope

  18. 'Tool' use by the red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ellis, David H.; Brunson, Shawn

    1993-01-01

    Perhaps the best documented example of regular tool use for a falconiform is the Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) striking an Ostrich (Struthio camelus) egg with a stone (J. van Lawick-Goodall and H. van Lawick-Goodall 1966, Nature 212:1468-1469; R.K. Brooke 1979, Ostrich 50:257-258). Another species, the Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus), routinely drops bones on stone slabs to gain access to the marrow within (L. Brown and D Amadon 1968, Eagles, hawks and falcons of the world, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY U.S.A.). Some, however, would argue that, because the stone is not manipulated, the bone-dropping Lammergeier is not actually using a tool. Another reported example of tool use is the Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis) that allegedly cast a stone at a human intruder near its nest (C.L. Blair 1981, Raptor Research 15:120).]The following may be yet another example of tool use by a raptor. On 5 June 1985, we observed an adult Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) soaring low (ca 15 m) over the grass-covered slopes of the Galiuro Mountains in southern Arizona. The bird had, probably just moments before, captured a ca I m snake (probably a glossy snake, Arizona elegans, judging by size, shape and color). When the hawk passed near us, it was holding the snake by both feet near the snake's midpoint. With head elevated and mouth open, the snake appeared intent upon biting the hawk. When the hawk was ca 100 m distant from us, it made several shallow stoops over a scattered group of large boulders. On some (and perhaps all) passes, the bird swept sharply upward as it passed over and nearly collided with a boulder. The centrifugal force associated with this change in direction caused the snake to pendulate below the hawk's talons and strike the boulder. During one pass, we observed the snake's head and tail flipping up behind the hawk after slapping the boulder. Not all swoops were over the same boulder, but one particularly obtrusive (ca 1 m tall) boulder was used at least

  19. Occurrence and origin of Escherichia coli in water and sediments at two public swimming beaches at Lake of the Ozarks State Park, Camden County, Missouri, 2011-13

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wilson, Jordan L.; Schumacher, John G.; Burken, Joel G.

    2014-01-01

    (samples collected above the shoreline) than in samples collected in ankle-deep water below the shoreline, significantly larger in the left and middle areas of the beach than the right area, and substantially larger than similar studies at E. coli- contaminated beaches on Lake Erie in Ohio. Concentrations of E. coli in the water column also were significantly larger after resuspension of sediments. Results of MST indicate a predominance of waterfowl-associated markers in nearshore sediments at Grand Glaize Beach consistent with frequent observations of goose and vulture fecal matter in sediment, especially on the left and middle areas of the beach. The combination of spatial and temporal sampling and MST indicate that an important source of E. coli contamination at Grand Glaize Beach during 2012 was E. coli released into the water column by bathers resuspending E. coli-contaminated sediments, especially during high-use days early in the recreational season.

  20. Sediment-palaeosol successions in Calabria and Sardinia suggest spatially differentiated palaeo-vegetation patterns in southern Italy during the Last Glacial period

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sauer, Daniela; Zucca, Claudio; Al-Sharif, Riyad; Zwanzig, Lisa; Madrau, Salvatore; Andreucci, Stefano; Pascucci, Vincenzo; Kadereit, Annette; Scarciglia, Fabio; Brückner, Helmut

    2016-04-01

    Several lakes on the southern Italian peninsula provide valuable palaeoenvironmental archives of the Last Glacial period. These archives include, e.g., the long high-resolution record from varved lake sediments of Lago Grande di Monticchio, the bigger one of two maar lakes situated on top of Mt. Vulture. Its pollen record indicates (1) temperate deciduous forest during MIS5.2-MIS5.1 (St. Germain 2); (2) frequent vegetation fluctuations, then Artemisia steppe during MIS5.1-MIS4; (3) alternations between open steppe (stadials) and wooded steppe (interstadials) during MIS3; and (4) open steppe during MIS2 (Last Glacial Maximum). However, only few palaeosol records of this period have been reported from southern Italy in the literature so far. Such records would allow for gaining insight also into spatial patterns of the vegetation cover during this period that should have formed, e.g., according to relief, elevation, and continentality gradient (related to the much lower coastline during the last glacial period). So far, we have studied three sediment-palaeosol successions in southern Italy, two in the Calabria region, and one in north-western Sardinia. All of them have developed in alluvial fan deposits resting on littoral sediments of the Last Interglacial period (MIS 5). The southernmost succession studied is located near Lazzaro (south of Reggio di Calabria). It is exposed in an alluvial fan overlying the MIS5.5 terrace. Due to strong tectonic uplift (1.3 m ka-1) the alluvial fan has been dissected by the same creek which previously had built it up. Therefore, its internal structure is exposed, exhibiting a detailed sediment-palaeosol sequence. The palaeosols are mainly characterized by accumulation of soil organic matter (SOM), bioturbation and secondary carbonates. They represent Chernozem- and Phaeozem-like soils that most likely formed under steppe to forest steppe. SOM of the two uppermost Lazzaro palaeosols was 14C-dated to 26.8-28.8 ka cal BP and 28

  1. Geophysical and petrological modelling of the structure and composition of the crust and upper mantle in complex geodynamic settings: The Tyrrhenian Sea and surroundings

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Panza, G. F.; Peccerillo, A.; Aoudia, A.; Farina, B.

    2007-01-01

    Information on the physical and chemical properties of the lithosphere-asthenosphere system (LAS) can be obtained by geophysical investigation and by studies of petrology-geochemistry of magmatic rocks and entrained xenoliths. Integration of petrological and geophysical studies is particularly useful in geodynamically complex areas characterised by abundant and compositionally variable young magmatism, such as in the Tyrrhenian Sea and surroundings. A thin crust, less than 10 km, overlying a soft mantle (where partial melting can reach about 10%) is observed for Magnaghi, Vavilov and Marsili, which belong to the Central Tyrrhenian Sea backarc volcanism where subalkaline rocks dominate. Similar characteristics are seen for the uppermost crust of Ischia. A crust about 20 km thick is observed for the majority of the continental volcanoes, including Amiata-Vulsini, Roccamonfina, Phlegraean Fields-Vesuvius, Vulture, Stromboli, Vulcano-Lipari, Etna and Ustica. A thicker crust is present at Albani - about 25 km - and at Cimino-Vico-Sabatini — about 30 km. The structure of the upper mantle, in contrast, shows striking differences among various volcanic provinces. Volcanoes of the Roman region (Vulsini-Sabatini-Alban Hills) sit over an upper mantle characterised by Vs mostly ranging from about 4.2 to 4.4 km/s. At the Alban Hills, however, slightly lower Vs values of about 4.1 km/s are detected between 60 and 120 km of depth. This parallels the similar and rather homogeneous compositional features of the Roman volcanoes, whereas the lower Vs values detected at the Alban Hills may reflect the occurrence of small amounts of melts within the mantle, in agreement with the younger age of this volcano. The axial zone of the Apennines, where ultrapotassic kamafugitic volcanoes are present, has a mantle structure with high-velocity lid ( Vs ˜ 4.5 km/s) occurring at the base of a 40-km-thick crust. Beneath the Campanian volcanoes of Vesuvius and Phlegraean Fields, the mantle

  2. GRASSLAND BIRD DISTRIBUTION AND RAPTOR FLIGHT PATTERNS IN THE COMPETITIVE RENEWABLE ENERGY ZONES OF THE TEXAS PANHANDLE

    SciTech Connect

    Jansen, Erik

    2013-08-10

    fewer detections (MacKenzie and Nichols 2004). I used occupancy models that allow for the possibility of imperfect detection and species abundance to improve estimates of occurrence probability (Royal 2004). I focused species-specific analyses on grassland birds with few detections: Cassin’s sparrow (Peucaea cassinii), eastern meadowlark (Sturnella magna), and upland sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda). Chapter III uses a multi-season dynamic site occupancy model that incorporates bird abundance to better estimate occurrence probability. 3) When I considered the topographic relief of the study sites, the proposed design of the wind facility and its location within the central U.S. migratory corridor, I expanded the study to investigate raptor abundance and flight behavior (Hoover 2002, Miller 2008). I developed a new survey technique that improved the accuracy of raptor flight height estimates and compared seasonal counts and flight heights at the plateau rim and areas further inland. I used counts and flight behaviors to calculate species-specific collision risk indices for raptors based on topographic features. I focused species-specific analyses on raptors with the highest counts: American kestrel (Falco sparverius), northern harrier (Circus cyaneus), red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), Swainson’s hawk (Buteo swainsoni), and turkey vulture (Cathartes aura). Chapter IV describes patterns of seasonal raptor abundance and flight behavior and how topography modulates collision risk with proposed wind energy turbines. 4) Finally, for completeness, in Chapter V I summarize morning point count data for all species and provide estimates of relative composition and species diversity with the Shannon-Wiener Diversity Index (Shannon and Weaver 1949).