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Sample records for lagopus lagopus scoticus

  1. Ornamental comb colour predicts T-cell-mediated immunity in male red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mougeot, Francois

    2008-02-01

    Sexual ornaments might reliably indicate the ability to cope with parasites and diseases, and a better ability to mount a primary inflammatory response to a novel challenge. Carotenoid-based ornaments are amongst the commonest sexual signals of birds and often influence mate choice. Because carotenoids are immuno-stimulants, signallers may trade-off allocating these to ornamental colouration or using them for immune responses, so carotenoid-based ornaments might be particularly useful as honest indicators of immuno-compentence. Tetraonid birds, such as the red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus, exhibit supra-orbital yellow red combs, a conspicuous ornament which functions in intra- and inter-sexual selection. The colour of combs is due to epidermal pigmentation by carotenoids, while their size is testosterone-dependent. In this study, I investigated whether comb characteristics, and in particular, comb colour, indicated immuno-competence in free-living male red grouse. I assessed T-cell-mediated immunity using a standardised challenge with phytohaemagglutinin. Red grouse combs reflect in the red and in the ultraviolet spectrum of light, which is not visible to humans but that grouse most likely see, so I measured comb colour across the whole bird visible spectrum (300 700 nm) using a reflectance spectrometer. I found that males with bigger and redder combs, but with less ultraviolet reflectance, had greater T-cell-mediated immune response. Comb colour predicted T-cell-mediated immune response better than comb size, indicating that the carotenoid-based colouration of this ornament might reliably signal this aspect of male quality.

  2. Bioindicators of the health of arctic foxes. [Alopex lagopus

    SciTech Connect

    Penman, J.A.; Garrott, R.A.; Eberhardt, L.E.; Anthony, A.; Rothenbacher, H.; Storm, G.L.; Tzilkowski, W.M.

    1980-12-30

    Analyses were made of blood chemistry profiles and liver cytochemical components (ribonucleic acid, protein and glycogen) of captive arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) maintained on either a protein-sufficient or deficient diet. Protein-deficient foxes exhibited a marked decrease in serum urea nitrogen (UN) levels and in hepatocyte ribonucleic acid (RNA) and protein contents. Comparison of blood profiles between free-ranging and pre-treatment captive foxes yielded several differences. A number of blood components, notably those used as tests of liver function, were negatively correlated with hepatocyte RNA levels. Results support the utility of using both blood chemical and tissue histochemical analyses to ascertain the health of animals.

  3. The role of parasite-driven selection in shaping landscape genomic structure in red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica).

    PubMed

    Wenzel, Marius A; Douglas, Alex; James, Marianne C; Redpath, Steve M; Piertney, Stuart B

    2016-01-01

    Landscape genomics promises to provide novel insights into how neutral and adaptive processes shape genome-wide variation within and among populations. However, there has been little emphasis on examining whether individual-based phenotype-genotype relationships derived from approaches such as genome-wide association (GWAS) manifest themselves as a population-level signature of selection in a landscape context. The two may prove irreconcilable as individual-level patterns become diluted by high levels of gene flow and complex phenotypic or environmental heterogeneity. We illustrate this issue with a case study that examines the role of the highly prevalent gastrointestinal nematode Trichostrongylus tenuis in shaping genomic signatures of selection in red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica). Individual-level GWAS involving 384 SNPs has previously identified five SNPs that explain variation in T. tenuis burden. Here, we examine whether these same SNPs display population-level relationships between T. tenuis burden and genetic structure across a small-scale landscape of 21 sites with heterogeneous parasite pressure. Moreover, we identify adaptive SNPs showing signatures of directional selection using F(ST) outlier analysis and relate population- and individual-level patterns of multilocus neutral and adaptive genetic structure to T. tenuis burden. The five candidate SNPs for parasite-driven selection were neither associated with T. tenuis burden on a population level, nor under directional selection. Similarly, there was no evidence of parasite-driven selection in SNPs identified as candidates for directional selection. We discuss these results in the context of red grouse ecology and highlight the broader consequences for the utility of landscape genomics approaches for identifying signatures of selection.

  4. Fine-scale population epigenetic structure in relation to gastrointestinal parasite load in red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica)

    PubMed Central

    WENZEL, MARIUS A; PIERTNEY, STUART B

    2014-01-01

    Epigenetic modification of cytosine methylation states can be elicited by environmental stresses and may be a key process affecting phenotypic plasticity and adaptation. Parasites are potent stressors with profound physiological and ecological effects on their host, but there is little understanding in how parasites may influence host methylation states. Here, we estimate epigenetic diversity and differentiation among 21 populations of red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica) in north-east Scotland and test for association of gastrointestinal parasite load (caecal nematode Trichostrongylus tenuis) with hepatic genome-wide and locus-specific methylation states. Following methylation-sensitive AFLP (MSAP), 129 bands, representing 73 methylation-susceptible and 56 nonmethylated epiloci, were scored across 234 individuals. The populations differed significantly in genome-wide methylation levels and were also significantly epigenetically (FSC = 0.0227; P < 0.001) and genetically (FSC = 0.0058; P < 0.001) differentiated. Parasite load was not associated with either genome-wide methylation levels or epigenetic differentiation. Instead, we found eight disproportionately differentiated epilocus-specific methylation states (FST outliers) using bayescan software and significant positive and negative association of 35 methylation states with parasite load from bespoke generalized estimating equations (GEE), simple logistic regression (sam) and Bayesian environmental analysis (bayenv2). Following Sanger sequencing, genome mapping and geneontology (go) annotation, some of these epiloci were linked to genes involved in regulation of cell cycle, signalling, metabolism, immune system and notably rRNA methylation, histone acetylation and small RNAs. These findings demonstrate an epigenetic signature of parasite load in populations of a wild bird and suggest intriguing physiological effects of parasite-associated cytosine methylation. PMID:24943398

  5. Spontaneous rickets in the wild arctic fox Alopex lagopus

    SciTech Connect

    Ogden, J.A.; Conlogue, G.J.

    1981-10-01

    Normal and rachitic, skeletally immature arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) were subjected to physical examination, roentgenographic studies, and in some cases histologic studies. The involved animals had active rickets coupled with antecedent normal diaphyseal bone formation. Evaluation of all the long bones showed highly variable manifestations of the disease, which undoubtedly reflect different rates of physeal endochondral transformation and metaphyseal remodeling. Histologic examination showed distinct patterns of widening of the physes and variable osteodystrophy in the trabecular and cortical bone of the metaphyses and epiphyseal ossification centers. These aforementioned factors certainly would necessitate different regional calcium needs and, therefore, different regional responses to an overall calcium deficiency. The physes involved in the most rapid growth rates in this period showed the most widening of the growth plate, and the most dystrophic changes in the metaphysis. Skeletal injuries, including metaphyseal fractures and slow-down of longitudinal growth (particularly in the ulna) were also evident. Because of apparent dietary differences in the affected and normal fox kits, this juvenile-onset disease was presumed due to calcium-deficient intake following weaning. To the best of our knowledge this is the first report of spontaneously occurring rickets in a wild animal in its natural habitat. There are several possible mechanisms for the variable widening of the physis and the loss of bone mineralization in these fox kits: calcium-deficient diet, binding of calcium in the bowel by high phosphorus intake, secondary hyperparathyroidism, and vitamin A toxicity.

  6. The Mitochondrial Genomes of Aquila fasciata and Buteo lagopus (Aves, Accipitriformes): Sequence, Structure and Phylogenetic Analyses

    PubMed Central

    Jiang, Lan; Chen, Juan; Wang, Ping; Ren, Qiongqiong; Yuan, Jian; Qian, Chaoju; Hua, Xinghong; Guo, Zhichun; Zhang, Lei; Yang, Jianke; Wang, Ying; Zhang, Qin; Ding, Hengwu; Bi, De; Zhang, Zongmeng; Wang, Qingqing; Chen, Dongsheng; Kan, Xianzhao

    2015-01-01

    The family Accipitridae is one of the largest groups of non-passerine birds, including 68 genera and 243 species globally distributed. In the present study, we determined the complete mitochondrial sequences of two species of accipitrid, namely Aquila fasciata and Buteo lagopus, and conducted a comparative mitogenome analysis across the family. The mitogenome length of A. fasciata and B. lagopus are 18,513 and 18,559 bp with an A + T content of 54.2% and 55.0%, respectively. For both the two accipitrid birds mtDNAs, obvious positive AT-skew and negative GC-skew biases were detected for all 12 PCGs encoded by the H strand, whereas the reverse was found in MT-ND6 encoded by the L strand. One extra nucleotide‘C’is present at the position 174 of MT-ND3 gene of A. fasciata, which is not observed at that of B. lagopus. Six conserved sequence boxes in the Domain II, named boxes F, E, D, C, CSBa, and CSBb, respectively, were recognized in the CRs of A. fasciata and B. lagopus. Rates and patterns of mitochondrial gene evolution within Accipitridae were also estimated. The highest dN/dS was detected for the MT-ATP8 gene (0.32493) among Accipitridae, while the lowest for the MT-CO1 gene (0.01415). Mitophylogenetic analysis supported the robust monophyly of Accipitriformes, and Cathartidae was basal to the balance of the order. Moreover, we performed phylogenetic analyses using two other data sets (two mitochondrial loci, and combined nuclear and mitochondrial loci). Our results indicate that the subfamily Aquilinae and all currently polytypic genera of this subfamily are monophyletic. These two novel mtDNA data will be useful in refining the phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary processes of Accipitriformes. PMID:26295156

  7. Description of the life stages of quill mite Mironovia lagopus sp. nov. (Acari: Syringophilidae) parasitizing the rock ptarmigan Lagopus muta (Phasianidae) from Iceland.

    PubMed

    Bochkov, Andre V; Skirnisson, Karl

    2011-03-01

    A new species of syringophilid mites, Mironovia lagopus sp. nov. (Acari: Syringophilidae) is described from feather quills of the rock ptarigman Lagopus muta (Montin) (Phasianidae) from Iceland. Females of this new species differ from the closely related Mironovia rouloul Skoracki and Sikora by setae d2, which are subequal or 1.1-1.2 times shorter than setae e2 (vs. d2 1.4-1.5 times longer than e2 in Mironovia rouloul) and by setae ag1, which are 1.3-1.5 times shorter than ag2 (vs. ag1 1.7-1.8 times shorter than ag2). The postembryonic stages of this new species are figured and described in details. In ontogeny of Mironovia spp., the observed pattern of setal appearance is not different from the pattern in other galliform-associated genera such as Syringophilus and Colinophilus, with exception for tarsal setae p'I, II which are absent in protonymphs. The key to all four species of the genus Mironovia is also provided.

  8. Population genetic structure of rock ptarmigan Lagopus mutus in Northern and Western Europe.

    PubMed

    Caizergues, A; Bernard-Laurent, A; Brenot, J-F; Ellison, L; Rasplus, J Y

    2003-08-01

    Alpine species may be losing habitat because of global warming. Setting management priorities for such species is thus urgent and cannot be achieved without data on population structure. We studied the structure of rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) populations in the Pyrenees, Alps and Norway, using six microsatellites. We found that rock ptarmigan in the Pyrenees were genetically impoverished compared with those in the Alps and Norway, and displayed a greater divergence (Pyrenees vs. Alps or Norway: theta(ST) = 0.16, Alps vs. Norway, theta(ST) = 0.04). In the Alps, despite a weak genetic differentiation between localities up to 200 km apart (theta(ST) = 0.011), a significant isolation-by-distance (IBD) effect was detected. When computed for each sex separately this IBD effect was significant for males but not for females, suggesting that males are highly philopatric.

  9. Plantago lagopus B Chromosome Is Enriched in 5S rDNA-Derived Satellite DNA.

    PubMed

    Kumke, Katrin; Macas, Jiří; Fuchs, Jörg; Altschmied, Lothar; Kour, Jasmeet; Dhar, Manoj K; Houben, Andreas

    2016-01-01

    B chromosomes are supernumerary dispensable parts of the karyotype which appear in some individuals of some populations in some species. Using advanced sequencing technology, we in silico characterized the high-copy DNA composition of Plantago lagopus with and without B chromosomes. The nuclear genome (2.46 pg/2C) was found to be relatively rich in repetitive sequences, with highly and moderately repeated elements making up 68% of the genome. Besides a centromere-specific marker, we identified a B-specific satellite and a repeat enriched in polymorphic A chromosome segments. The B-specific tandem repeat PLsatB originated from sequence amplification including 5S rDNA fragments. PMID:27173804

  10. Vector-borne pathogens in arctic foxes, Vulpes lagopus, from Canada.

    PubMed

    Mascarelli, Patricia E; Elmore, Stacey A; Jenkins, Emily J; Alisauskas, Ray T; Walsh, Mary; Breitschwerdt, Edward B; Maggi, Ricardo G

    2015-04-01

    Because of the relatively low biodiversity within arctic ecosystems, arctic foxes, Vulpes lagopus, could serve as sentinels for the study of changes in the ecology of vector-borne zoonotic pathogens. The objective of this study was to determine the molecular prevalence of 5 different genera of vector borne pathogens (Anaplasma, Babesia, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, and Hemotropic Mycoplasma spp.) using blood collected from 28 live-trapped arctic foxes from the region of Karrak Lake, Nunavut, Canada. Bartonella henselae (n = 3), Mycoplasma haemocanis (n = 1), Ehrlichia canis (n = 1), and an Anaplasma sp. (n = 1) DNA were PCR amplified and subsequently identified by sequencing. This study provides preliminary evidence that vector borne pathogens, not typically associated with the arctic ecosystem, exist at low levels in this arctic fox population, and that vector exposure, pathogen transmission dynamics, and changes in the geographic distribution of pathogens over time should be investigated in future studies. PMID:25596149

  11. Morphological characteristics of Mesocestoides canislagopodis (Krabbe 1865) tetrathyridia found in rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) in Iceland.

    PubMed

    Skirnisson, Karl; Sigurðardóttir, Ólöf G; Nielsen, Ólafur K

    2016-08-01

    Necropsies of 1010 rock ptarmigans (Lagopus muta) sampled in autumn 2006-2015 in northeast Iceland revealed Mesocestoides canislagopodis tetrathyridia infections in six birds (0.6 %), two juvenile birds (3 month old), and four adult birds (15 months or older). Four birds had tetrathyridia in the body cavity, one bird in the liver, and one bird both in the body cavity and the liver. There were more tetrathyridia in the body cavity of the two juveniles (c. 50 in each) than in three adults (10-40), possibly indicating a host-age-related tetrathyridia mortality. Approximately, half of tetrathyridia in the body cavity were free or loosely attached to the serosa, the other half were encapsulated in a thin, loose connective tissue stroma, frequently attached to the lungs and the liver. Tetrathyridia in the liver parenchyma incited variably intense inflammation. Tetrathyridia from the juvenile hosts were whitish, heart-shaped, and flattened, with unsegmented bodies with a slightly pointed posterior end. In the adult hosts, tetrathyridia were sometimes almost rectangular-shaped, slightly wider compared to those in the juveniles, but more than twice as long as the younger-aged tetrathyridia. Tetrathyridia infections are most likely acquired during the brief insectivorous feeding phase of ptarmigan chicks, and the tetrathyridia persist throughout the lifespan of the birds. PMID:27117162

  12. Relative importance of male and territory quality in pairing success of male rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bart, Jonathan; Earnst, Susan L.

    1999-01-01

    We studied pairing success in male rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) in northern Alaska to learn whether males obtaining more females possessed phenotypic traits that influenced female choice directly, whether these traits permitted males to obtain territories favored by females, or whether both processes occurred. The number of females per male varied from zero to three. Several male and territory traits were significantly correlated with number of females per male. We used multiple regression to obtain a single measure of male quality and a single measure of territory quality. These measures of male and territory quality correlated with each other and with male pairing success. We used path analysis to separate direct effects of male quality on pairing success from indirect effects due to high-quality males obtaining high-quality territories. Both direct and indirect pathways had significant effects on pairing success, and direct and indirect effects of male traits on pairing success were about equal. This study illustrates an analytical approach for estimating the relative importance of direct and indirect causal relationships in natural systems.

  13. Reduced Metabolic Cost of Locomotion in Svalbard Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta hyperborea) during Winter

    PubMed Central

    Lees, John; Nudds, Robert; Stokkan, Karl-Arne; Folkow, Lars; Codd, Jonathan

    2010-01-01

    The Svalbard rock ptarmigan, Lagopus muta hyperborea experiences extreme photoperiodic and climatic conditions on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. This species, however, is highly adapted to live in this harsh environment. One of the most striking adaptations found in these birds is the deposition, prior to onset of winter, of fat stores which may comprise up to 32% of body mass and are located primarily around the sternum and abdominal region. This fat, while crucial to the birds' survival, also presents a challenge in that the bird must maintain normal physiological function with this additional mass. In particular these stores are likely to constrain the respiratory system, as the sternum and pelvic region must be moved during ventilation and carrying this extra load may also impact upon the energetic cost of locomotion. Here we demonstrate that winter birds have a reduced cost of locomotion when compared to summer birds. A remarkable finding given that during winter these birds have almost twice the body mass of those in summer. These results suggest that Svalbard ptarmigan are able to carry the additional winter fat without incurring any energetic cost. As energy conservation is paramount to these birds, minimising the costs of moving around when resources are limited would appear to be a key adaptation crucial for their survival in the barren Arctic environment. PMID:21125015

  14. Morphological characteristics of Mesocestoides canislagopodis (Krabbe 1865) tetrathyridia found in rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) in Iceland.

    PubMed

    Skirnisson, Karl; Sigurðardóttir, Ólöf G; Nielsen, Ólafur K

    2016-08-01

    Necropsies of 1010 rock ptarmigans (Lagopus muta) sampled in autumn 2006-2015 in northeast Iceland revealed Mesocestoides canislagopodis tetrathyridia infections in six birds (0.6 %), two juvenile birds (3 month old), and four adult birds (15 months or older). Four birds had tetrathyridia in the body cavity, one bird in the liver, and one bird both in the body cavity and the liver. There were more tetrathyridia in the body cavity of the two juveniles (c. 50 in each) than in three adults (10-40), possibly indicating a host-age-related tetrathyridia mortality. Approximately, half of tetrathyridia in the body cavity were free or loosely attached to the serosa, the other half were encapsulated in a thin, loose connective tissue stroma, frequently attached to the lungs and the liver. Tetrathyridia in the liver parenchyma incited variably intense inflammation. Tetrathyridia from the juvenile hosts were whitish, heart-shaped, and flattened, with unsegmented bodies with a slightly pointed posterior end. In the adult hosts, tetrathyridia were sometimes almost rectangular-shaped, slightly wider compared to those in the juveniles, but more than twice as long as the younger-aged tetrathyridia. Tetrathyridia infections are most likely acquired during the brief insectivorous feeding phase of ptarmigan chicks, and the tetrathyridia persist throughout the lifespan of the birds.

  15. Foods of arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) during winter and spring in western Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anthony, M.; Barten, N.K.; Seiser, P.E.

    2000-01-01

    During 1986-1991, carcasses of 619 arctic fares (Alopex lagopus) collected from local trappers and at biological field camps on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in western Alaska from November through May were analyzed to determine gastrointestinal contents, age, sex, and body condition. Prey in declining order of importance were small mammals (95% tundra voles, Microtus oeconomus), birds, marine mammals, and fishes. Foxes with small mammal remains in their stomachs were captured farther from the Bering Sea coast ((X) over bar = 5.2 km) than those without small-mammal remains (2.8 km); foxes consuming remains of marine mammals were closer to the coast (1.9 km) than others (4.9 km). Although eggshells had a poor likelihood of occurrence in stomachs, they were found in all months and years. In 1986 and 1987, foxes consumed fewer small mammals than in other years. Mean ages of foxes captured in 1986 (3.7 years) and 1987 (3.2) were greater than in all ether years (1.5). Capture of adults was more common as winter progressed. Indexes of subcutaneous fat decreased annually in April-May and were highest in 1991, when occurrence of carrion of marine mammals was highest.

  16. Organochlorine-induced histopathology in kidney and liver tissue from Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus).

    PubMed

    Sonne, Christian; Wolkers, Hans; Leifsson, Pall S; Jenssen, Bjørn Munro; Fuglei, Eva; Ahlstrøm, Oystein; Dietz, Rune; Kirkegaard, Maja; Muir, Derek C G; Jørgensen, Even

    2008-04-01

    The effects of persistent organic pollutants on renal and liver morphology in farmed arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) were studied under experimental conditions. Control animals received a diet containing pork (Sus scrofa) fat with low amounts of persistent organic pollutants, while the diet of the exposed animals contained whale blubber, 'naturally' contaminated with persistent organic pollutants. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and organochlorine pesticide (OCP) concentrations in the whale blubber were 488 and 395 ng/g wet weight, respectively. Animals were sacrificed and sampled when they were at their fattest (winter) as well as their lowest body weight (summer). The results show that PCB and OCP exposure causes renal (and probably also liver) lesions in arctic foxes. The prevalence of glomerular, tubular and interstitial lesions was significantly highest in the exposed group (chi-square: all p<0.05). The frequency of liver lesions (steatosis, intravascular granulocyte accumulations, interstitial cell infiltrations, lipid granulomas, portal fibrosis and bile duct hyperplasia) were also highest in the exposed group, although not significantly (chi-square: all p>0.05). The prevalence of lesions was not significantly different between lean (winter) and fat (summer) foxes for any of the lesions (chi-square: all p>0.05). We suggest that wild arctic foxes exposed to an environmental cocktail of persistent organic pollutants, such as PCBs and OCPs, in their natural diet are at risk for developing chronic kidney and liver damage. Whether such lesions may have an impact on age and health of the animals remains uncertain.

  17. Quantifying fenbendazole and its metabolites in self-medicating wild red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus using an HPLC-MS-MS approach.

    PubMed

    Adam, Aileen; Webster, Lucy M I; Mullen, William; Keller, Lukas F; Johnson, Paul C D

    2011-05-11

    On red grouse estates in the UK the nematode parasite Trichostrongylus tenuis is often controlled by application of grit medicated with the anthelmintic fenbendazole (FBZ). To date, assessment of the efficacy has been inhibited by the inability to quantify uptake of FBZ by the birds. We have developed a simple and sensitive HPLC-MS-MS method for detecting and quantifying FBZ and its metabolites from a 300 mg sample of red grouse liver. This method could be used to improve the efficacy of medicated grit treatment by allowing the identification of conditions and application methods that optimize the uptake of FBZ. With the necessary modifications, our method will also be applicable to other wildlife species where self-medication is used for parasite control.

  18. Factors Affecting Diet Variation in the Pyrenean Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta pyrenaica): Conservation Implications

    PubMed Central

    García-González, Ricardo; Aldezabal, Arantza; Laskurain, Nere Amaia; Margalida, Antoni; Novoa, Claude

    2016-01-01

    The Pyrenean rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta pyrenaica) lives at one of the southernmost limits of the ptarmigan range. Their small population sizes and the impacts of global changes are limiting factors in the conservation of this threatened subspecies. An effective conservation policy requires precise basic knowledge of a species' food and habitat requirements, information that is practically non-existent for this Pyrenean population. Here, we describe the diet of a ptarmigan population in the Eastern Pyrenees, the environmental factors influencing its variability and the relationship between diet floristic composition and quality. Diet composition was determined by microhistological analysis of faeces and diet quality was estimated from free-urate faecal N content. Our results show that grouse diet is based mainly on arctic-alpine shrubs of the Ericaceae family, as well as dwarf willows (Salix spp.) and Dryas octopetala. The most frequently consumed plant species was Rhododendron ferrugineum, but its abundance in the diet was negatively related to the diet nitrogen content. Conversely, the abundance of Salix spp., grass leaves and arthropods increased the nitrogen content of the diet. Seasonality associated with snow-melting contributed the most to variability in the Pyrenean ptarmigan diet, differentiating winter from spring/summer diets. The latter was characterised by a high consumption of dwarf willows, flowers, arthropods and tender forb leaves. Geographic area and sex-age class influenced diet variability to a lesser extent. Current temperature increases in the Pyrenees due to global warming may reduce the persistence and surface area of snow-packs where preferred plants for rock ptarmigan usually grow, thus reducing food availability. The high consumption of Rh. ferrugineum characterised the diet of the Pyrenean population. Given the toxicity of this plant for most herbivores, its potential negative effect on Pyrenean ptarmigan populations should be

  19. Factors Affecting Diet Variation in the Pyrenean Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta pyrenaica): Conservation Implications.

    PubMed

    García-González, Ricardo; Aldezabal, Arantza; Laskurain, Nere Amaia; Margalida, Antoni; Novoa, Claude

    2016-01-01

    The Pyrenean rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta pyrenaica) lives at one of the southernmost limits of the ptarmigan range. Their small population sizes and the impacts of global changes are limiting factors in the conservation of this threatened subspecies. An effective conservation policy requires precise basic knowledge of a species' food and habitat requirements, information that is practically non-existent for this Pyrenean population. Here, we describe the diet of a ptarmigan population in the Eastern Pyrenees, the environmental factors influencing its variability and the relationship between diet floristic composition and quality. Diet composition was determined by microhistological analysis of faeces and diet quality was estimated from free-urate faecal N content. Our results show that grouse diet is based mainly on arctic-alpine shrubs of the Ericaceae family, as well as dwarf willows (Salix spp.) and Dryas octopetala. The most frequently consumed plant species was Rhododendron ferrugineum, but its abundance in the diet was negatively related to the diet nitrogen content. Conversely, the abundance of Salix spp., grass leaves and arthropods increased the nitrogen content of the diet. Seasonality associated with snow-melting contributed the most to variability in the Pyrenean ptarmigan diet, differentiating winter from spring/summer diets. The latter was characterised by a high consumption of dwarf willows, flowers, arthropods and tender forb leaves. Geographic area and sex-age class influenced diet variability to a lesser extent. Current temperature increases in the Pyrenees due to global warming may reduce the persistence and surface area of snow-packs where preferred plants for rock ptarmigan usually grow, thus reducing food availability. The high consumption of Rh. ferrugineum characterised the diet of the Pyrenean population. Given the toxicity of this plant for most herbivores, its potential negative effect on Pyrenean ptarmigan populations should be

  20. Correlates between Feeding Ecology and Mercury Levels in Historical and Modern Arctic Foxes (Vulpes lagopus)

    PubMed Central

    Krone, Oliver; Stefanski, Volker; Wibbelt, Gudrun; Unnsteinsdóttir, Ester Rut; Hersteinsson, Páll; Schares, Gereon; Doronina, Lilia; Goltsman, Mikhail; Greenwood, Alex D.

    2013-01-01

    Changes in concentration of pollutants and pathogen distribution can vary among ecotypes (e.g. marine versus terrestrial food resources). This may have important implications for the animals that reside within them. We examined 1) canid pathogen presence in an endangered arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) population and 2) relative total mercury (THg) level as a function of ecotype (‘coastal’ or ‘inland’) for arctic foxes to test whether the presence of pathogens or heavy metal concentration correlate with population health. The Bering Sea populations on Bering and Mednyi Islands were compared to Icelandic arctic fox populations with respect to inland and coastal ecotypes. Serological and DNA based pathogen screening techniques were used to examine arctic foxes for pathogens. THg was measured by atomic absorption spectrometry from hair samples of historical and modern collected arctic foxes and samples from their prey species (hair and internal organs). Presence of pathogens did not correlate with population decline from Mednyi Island. However, THg concentration correlated strongly with ecotype and was reflected in the THg concentrations detected in available food sources in each ecotype. The highest concentration of THg was found in ecotypes where foxes depended on marine vertebrates for food. Exclusively inland ecotypes had low THg concentrations. The results suggest that absolute exposure to heavy metals may be less important than the feeding ecology and feeding opportunities of top predators such as arctic foxes which may in turn influence population health and stability. A higher risk to wildlife of heavy metal exposure correlates with feeding strategies that rely primarily on a marine based diet. PMID:23671561

  1. Concentrations and patterns of hydroxylated polybrominated diphenyl ethers and polychlorinated biphenyls in arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) from Svalbard.

    PubMed

    Routti, Heli; Andersen, Martin S; Fuglei, Eva; Polder, Anuschka; Yoccoz, Nigel G

    2016-09-01

    Concentrations and patterns of hydroxylated (OH) polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were investigated in liver from arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) sampled from Svalbard 1997-2011 (n = 100). The most important OH-PBDE in the arctic foxes was 6-OH-BDE47 detected in 24% of the samples. Relationships between 6-OH-BDE47, δ(13)C and BDE47 suggest that 6-OH-BDE47 residues in arctic foxes are related to marine dietary input, while the relative importance of the metabolic/natural origin of this compound remains unclear. 4-OH-CB187 and 4-OH-CB146 were the main OH-PCBs among the analyzed compounds. The OH-PCB pattern in the present arctic foxes indicates that arctic foxes have a capacity to biotransform a wide range of PCBs of different structures. Formation and retention of OH-PCBs was tightly related to PCB exposure. Furthermore, ΣOH-PCB concentrations were four times higher in the leanest compared to the fattest foxes. Concentrations of 4-OH-CB187 and 4-OH-CB146 among the highest contaminated arctic foxes were similar to the previously reported concentrations for polar bears. Given the high endocrine disruptive potential of OH-PCBs, we suggest that endocrine system may be affected by the relatively high OH-PCB residues in the Svalbard arctic fox population. PMID:27267742

  2. Impact of historical founder effects and a recent bottleneck on MHC variability in Commander Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus)

    PubMed Central

    Ploshnitsa, Anna I; Goltsman, Mikhail E; Macdonald, David W; Kennedy, Lorna J; Sommer, Simone

    2012-01-01

    Populations of Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) have been isolated on two of the Commander Islands (Bering and Mednyi) from the circumpolar distributed mainland population since the Pleistocene. In 1970–1980, an epizootic outbreak of mange caused a severe population decline on Mednyi Island. Genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) play a primary role in infectious disease resistance. The main objectives of our study were to compare contemporary variation of MHC class II in mainland and island Arctic foxes, and to document the effects of the isolation and the recent bottleneck on MHC polymorphism by analyzing samples from historical and contemporary Arctic foxes. In 184 individuals, we found 25 unique MHC class II DRB and DQB alleles, and identified evidence of balancing selection maintaining allelic lineages over time at both loci. Twenty different MHC alleles were observed in mainland foxes and eight in Bering Island foxes. The historical Mednyi population contained five alleles and all contemporary individuals were monomorphic at both DRB and DQB. Our data indicate that despite positive and diversifying selection leading to elevated rates of amino acid replacement in functionally important antigen-binding sites, below a certain population size, balancing selection may not be strong enough to maintain genetic diversity in functionally important genes. This may have important fitness consequences and might explain the high pathogen susceptibility in some island populations. This is the first study that compares MHC diversity before and after a bottleneck in a wild canid population using DNA from museum samples. PMID:22408734

  3. Influence of Snowmelt Timing on the Diet Quality of Pyrenean Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta pyrenaica): Implications for Reproductive Success

    PubMed Central

    García-González, Ricardo; Aldezabal, Arantza; Laskurain, Nere Amaia; Margalida, Antoni; Novoa, Claude

    2016-01-01

    The Pyrenean rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta pyrenaica) is the southernmost subspecies of the species in Europe and is considered threatened as a consequence of changes in landscape, human pressure, climate change, and low genetic diversity. Previous studies have shown a relationship between the date of snowmelt and reproductive success in the Pyrenean ptarmigan. It is well established that birds laying early in the breeding season have higher reproductive success, but the specific mechanism for this relationship is debated. We present an explicative model of the relationship between snowmelt date and breeding success mediated by food quality for grouse in alpine environments. From microhistological analyses of 121 faecal samples collected during three years in the Canigou Massif (Eastern Pyrenees), and the assessment of the chemical composition of the main dietary components, we estimated the potential quality of individual diets. Potential dietary quality was correlated with free-urate faecal N, a proxy of the digestible protein content ingested by ptarmigan, and both were correlated with phenological stage of consumed plants, which in turn depends on snowmelt date. Our findings suggest that the average snowmelt date is subject to a strong interannual variability influencing laying date. In years of early snowmelt, hens benefit from a longer period of high quality food resources potentially leading to a higher breeding success. On the contrary, in years of late snowmelt, hens begin their breeding period in poorer nutrient condition because the peaks of protein content of their main food items are delayed with respect to laying date, hence reducing breeding performance. We discuss the possible mismatch between breeding and snowmelt timing. PMID:26849356

  4. Influence of Snowmelt Timing on the Diet Quality of Pyrenean Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta pyrenaica): Implications for Reproductive Success.

    PubMed

    García-González, Ricardo; Aldezabal, Arantza; Laskurain, Nere Amaia; Margalida, Antoni; Novoa, Claude

    2016-01-01

    The Pyrenean rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta pyrenaica) is the southernmost subspecies of the species in Europe and is considered threatened as a consequence of changes in landscape, human pressure, climate change, and low genetic diversity. Previous studies have shown a relationship between the date of snowmelt and reproductive success in the Pyrenean ptarmigan. It is well established that birds laying early in the breeding season have higher reproductive success, but the specific mechanism for this relationship is debated. We present an explicative model of the relationship between snowmelt date and breeding success mediated by food quality for grouse in alpine environments. From microhistological analyses of 121 faecal samples collected during three years in the Canigou Massif (Eastern Pyrenees), and the assessment of the chemical composition of the main dietary components, we estimated the potential quality of individual diets. Potential dietary quality was correlated with free-urate faecal N, a proxy of the digestible protein content ingested by ptarmigan, and both were correlated with phenological stage of consumed plants, which in turn depends on snowmelt date. Our findings suggest that the average snowmelt date is subject to a strong interannual variability influencing laying date. In years of early snowmelt, hens benefit from a longer period of high quality food resources potentially leading to a higher breeding success. On the contrary, in years of late snowmelt, hens begin their breeding period in poorer nutrient condition because the peaks of protein content of their main food items are delayed with respect to laying date, hence reducing breeding performance. We discuss the possible mismatch between breeding and snowmelt timing. PMID:26849356

  5. Re-colonization by common eiders Somateria mollissima in the Aleutian Archipelago following removal of introduced arctic foxes Vulpes lagopus

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Petersen, Margaret R.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Sexson, Matthew G.

    2015-01-01

    Islands provide refuges for populations of many species where they find safety from predators, but the introduction of predators frequently results in elimination or dramatic reductions in island-dwelling organisms. When predators are removed, re-colonization for some species occurs naturally, and inter-island phylogeographic relationships and current movement patterns can illuminate processes of colonization. We studied a case of re-colonization of common eiders Somateria mollissima following removal of introduced arctic foxes Vulpes lagopus in the Aleutian Archipelago, Alaska. We expected common eiders to resume nesting on islands cleared of foxes and to re-colonize from nearby islets, islands, and island groups. We thus expected common eiders to show limited genetic structure indicative of extensive mixing among island populations. Satellite telemetry was used to record current movement patterns of female common eiders from six islands across three island groups. We collected genetic data from these and other nesting common eiders at 14 microsatellite loci and the mitochondrial DNA control region to examine population genetic structure, historical fluctuations in population demography, and gene flow. Our results suggest recent interchange among islands. Analysis of microsatellite data supports satellite telemetry data of increased dispersal of common eiders to nearby areas and little between island groups. Although evidence from mtDNA is suggestive of female dispersal among island groups, gene flow is insufficient to account for recolonization and rapid population growth. Instead, near-by remnant populations of common eiders contributed substantially to population expansion, without which re-colonization would have likely occurred at a much lower rate. Genetic and morphometric data of common eiders within one island group two and three decades after re-colonization suggests reduced movement of eiders among islands and little movement between island groups after

  6. Influence of Snowmelt Timing on the Diet Quality of Pyrenean Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta pyrenaica): Implications for Reproductive Success.

    PubMed

    García-González, Ricardo; Aldezabal, Arantza; Laskurain, Nere Amaia; Margalida, Antoni; Novoa, Claude

    2016-01-01

    The Pyrenean rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta pyrenaica) is the southernmost subspecies of the species in Europe and is considered threatened as a consequence of changes in landscape, human pressure, climate change, and low genetic diversity. Previous studies have shown a relationship between the date of snowmelt and reproductive success in the Pyrenean ptarmigan. It is well established that birds laying early in the breeding season have higher reproductive success, but the specific mechanism for this relationship is debated. We present an explicative model of the relationship between snowmelt date and breeding success mediated by food quality for grouse in alpine environments. From microhistological analyses of 121 faecal samples collected during three years in the Canigou Massif (Eastern Pyrenees), and the assessment of the chemical composition of the main dietary components, we estimated the potential quality of individual diets. Potential dietary quality was correlated with free-urate faecal N, a proxy of the digestible protein content ingested by ptarmigan, and both were correlated with phenological stage of consumed plants, which in turn depends on snowmelt date. Our findings suggest that the average snowmelt date is subject to a strong interannual variability influencing laying date. In years of early snowmelt, hens benefit from a longer period of high quality food resources potentially leading to a higher breeding success. On the contrary, in years of late snowmelt, hens begin their breeding period in poorer nutrient condition because the peaks of protein content of their main food items are delayed with respect to laying date, hence reducing breeding performance. We discuss the possible mismatch between breeding and snowmelt timing.

  7. Mineral density and biomechanical properties of bone tissue from male Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) exposed to organochlorine contaminants and emaciation.

    PubMed

    Sonne, Christian; Wolkers, Hans; Rigét, Frank F; Jensen, Jens-Erik Beck; Teilmann, Jenni; Jenssen, Bjørn Munro; Fuglei, Eva; Ahlstrøm, Øystein; Dietz, Rune; Muir, Derek C G; Jørgensen, Even H

    2009-01-01

    We investigated the impact from dietary OC (organochlorine) exposure and restricted feeding (emaciation) on bone mineral density (BMD; g hydroxy-apatite cm(-2)) in femoral, vertebrate, skull and baculum osteoid tissue from farmed Arctic blue foxes (Vulpes lagopus). For femur, also biomechanical properties during bending (displacement [mm], load [N], energy absorption [J] and stiffness [N/mm]) were measured. Sixteen foxes (EXP) were fed a wet food containing 7.7% OC-polluted minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) blubber in two periods of body fat deposition (Aug-Dec) and two periods of body fat mobilisation (Jan-July) in which the food contained less energy and only 2% blubber. SigmaOC food concentration in the food containing 7.7% whale blubber was 309 ng/g wet mass. This corresponded to a SigmaOC exposure of ca. 17 microg/kg body mass/d and a responding SigmaOC residue in subcutaneous adipose tissue of ca. 1700 ng/g live mass in the 8 EXP fat foxes euthanized after 16 months. A control group (CON) composed of 15 foxes were fed equal daily caloric amounts of clean pork (Sus scrofa) fat. After 16 months, 8 EXP and 7 CON foxes were euthanized (mean body mass=9.25 kg) while the remaining 8 EXP and 8 CON foxes were given restricted food rations for 6 months resulting in a body weight reduction (mean body mass=5.46 kg). The results showed that only BMD(skull) vs. BMD(vertebrae) were significantly correlated (R=0.68; p=0.03; n=10) probably due to a similar composition of trabecular and cortical osteoid tissue. No difference in any of the BMD measurements or femoral biomechanical properties was found between EXP and CON foxes although BMD baculum was 1.6-folds lower in the EXP group. However, lean summer foxes had significantly lower femoral biomechanical properties measured as displacement (mm), energy absorption (J) and time (s) biomechanical properties than fat winter foxes (all p<0.004). This indicates lower stiffness and softer bones from fasting which is in

  8. Dietary contaminant exposure affects plasma testosterone, but not thyroid hormones, vitamin A, and vitamin E, in male juvenile arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus).

    PubMed

    Hallanger, Ingeborg G; Jørgensen, Even H; Fuglei, Eva; Ahlstrøm, Øystein; Muir, Derek C G; Jenssen, Bjørn Munro

    2012-01-01

    Levels of persistent organic pollutants (POP), such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), are high in many Arctic top predators, including the Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus). The aim of this study was to examine possible endocrine-disruptive effects of dietary POP exposure in male juvenile Arctic foxes in a controlled exposure experiment. The study was conducted using domesticated farmed blue foxes (Vulpes lagopus) as a model species. Two groups of newly weaned male foxes received a diet supplemented with either minke whale (Baleneoptera acutorostrata) blubber that was naturally contaminated with POP (exposed group, n = 5 or 21), or pork (Sus scrofa) fat (control group, n = 5 or 21). When the foxes were 6 mo old and had received the 2 diets for approximately 4 mo (147 d), effects of the dietary exposure to POP on plasma concentrations of testosterone (T), thyroid hormones (TH), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), retinol (vitamin A), and tocopherol (viramin E) were examined. At sampling, the total body concentrations of 104 PCB congeners were 0.1 ± 0.03 μg/g lipid weight (l.w.; n = 5 [mean ± standard deviation]) and 1.5 ± 0.17 μg/g l.w. (n = 5) in the control and exposed groups, respectively. Plasma testosterone concentrations in the exposed male foxes were significantly lower than in the control males, being approximately 25% of that in the exposed foxes. There were no between-treatment differences for TH, TSH, retinol, or tocopherol. The results suggest that the high POP levels experienced by costal populations of Arctic foxes, such as in Svalbard and Iceland, may result in delayed masculine maturation during adolescence. Sex hormone disruption during puberty may thus have lifetime consequences on all aspects of reproductive function in adult male foxes. PMID:23030655

  9. The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and the arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) are definitive hosts of Sarcocystis alces and Sarcocystis hjorti from moose (Alces alces).

    PubMed

    Dahlgren, Stina S; Gjerde, Bjørn

    2010-09-01

    The aim of this study was to determine whether foxes might act as definitive hosts of Sarcocystis alces in moose. In 2 experiments, 6 silver foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and 6 blue foxes (Vulpes lagopus) were fed muscle tissue from moose containing numerous sarcocysts of S. alces, and euthanazed 7-28 days post-infection (p.i.). Intestinal mucosal scrapings and faecal samples were screened microscopically for Sarcocystis oocysts/sporocysts, which were identified to species by means of species-specific primers and sequence analysis targeting the ssu rRNA gene. All foxes in both experiments became infected with Sarcocystis; the oocysts were fully sporulated by 14 days p.i., containing sporocysts measuring 14-15 x 10 microm. Molecular identification revealed that the oocysts/sporocysts belonged to 2 species, S. alces and Sarcocystis hjorti, although sarcocysts of S. hjorti were only identified in moose subsequent to the infection of foxes. In the first experiment, all 8 foxes also became infected with a Hammondia sp. derived from moose, shedding unsporulated, subspherical oocysts, measuring 10-12 microm in diameter, from 6-7 days p.i. onwards. The study proved that canids (the red fox and arctic fox) are definitive hosts for S. alces and S. hjorti, as had been inferred from the phylogenetic position of these species.

  10. The fall and rise of the Icelandic Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus): a 50-year demographic study on a non-cyclic Arctic fox population.

    PubMed

    Unnsteinsdottir, E R; Hersteinsson, P; Pálsson, S; Angerbjörn, A

    2016-08-01

    In territorial species, observed density dependence is often manifest in lowered reproductive output at high population density where individuals have fewer resources or are forced to inhabit low-quality territories. The Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) in Iceland is territorial throughout the year and feeds mostly on birds, since lemmings are absent from the country. Thus, the population does not exhibit short-term population cycles that are evident in most of the species' geographical range. The population has, however, gone through a major long-term fluctuation in population size. Because of the stability in hunting effort and reliable hunting records since 1958, the total number of adult foxes killed annually can be used as an index of population size (N t ). An index of carrying capacity (K) from population growth data for five separate time blocks during 1958-2007 revealed considerable variation in K and allowed a novel definition of population density in terms of K, or N t /K. Correlation analysis suggested that the reproductive rate was largely determined by the proportion of territorial foxes in the population. Variation in litter size and cub mortality was, on the other hand, related to climatic variation. Thus, Arctic foxes in Iceland engage in typical contest competition but can adapt their territory sizes in response to both temporal and spatial variation in carrying capacity, resulting in surprisingly little variation in litter size. PMID:27126366

  11. Levels and temporal trends of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) from Svalbard in relation to dietary habits and food availability.

    PubMed

    Andersen, Martin S; Fuglei, Eva; König, Max; Lipasti, Inka; Pedersen, Åshild Ø; Polder, Anuschka; Yoccoz, Nigel G; Routti, Heli

    2015-04-01

    Temporal trends of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) from Svalbard, Norway, were investigated in relation to feeding habits and seasonal food availability. Arctic foxes from Svalbard forage in both marine and terrestrial ecosystems and the availability of their food items are impacted by climatic variability. Concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorinated pesticides (OCPs) and brominated flame retardants (polybrominated diphenyl ethers [PBDEs] and hexabromocyclododecane [HBCDD]) were analyzed in the liver of 141 arctic foxes collected between 1997 and 2013. Stable carbon isotope values (δ13C) were used as a proxy for feeding on marine versus terrestrial prey. The annual number of recovered reindeer carcasses and sea ice cover were used as proxies for climate influenced food availability (reindeers, seals). Linear models revealed that concentrations of PCBs, chlordanes, p,p'-DDE, mirex and PBDEs decreased 4-11% per year, while no trends were observed for hexachlorobenzene (HCB) or β-hexachlorocyclohexane (β-HCH). Positive relationships between POP concentrations and δ13C indicate that concentrations of all compounds increase with increasing marine dietary input. Increasing reindeer mortality was related to lower HCB concentrations in the foxes based on the linear models. This suggests that concentrations of HCB in arctic foxes may be influenced by high mortality levels of Svalbard reindeer. Further, β-HCH concentrations showed a positive association with sea ice cover. These results in addition to the strong effect of δ13C on all POP concentrations suggest that climate-related changes in arctic fox diet are likely to influence contaminant concentrations in arctic foxes from Svalbard. PMID:25536177

  12. Levels and temporal trends of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) from Svalbard in relation to dietary habits and food availability.

    PubMed

    Andersen, Martin S; Fuglei, Eva; König, Max; Lipasti, Inka; Pedersen, Åshild Ø; Polder, Anuschka; Yoccoz, Nigel G; Routti, Heli

    2015-04-01

    Temporal trends of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) from Svalbard, Norway, were investigated in relation to feeding habits and seasonal food availability. Arctic foxes from Svalbard forage in both marine and terrestrial ecosystems and the availability of their food items are impacted by climatic variability. Concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorinated pesticides (OCPs) and brominated flame retardants (polybrominated diphenyl ethers [PBDEs] and hexabromocyclododecane [HBCDD]) were analyzed in the liver of 141 arctic foxes collected between 1997 and 2013. Stable carbon isotope values (δ13C) were used as a proxy for feeding on marine versus terrestrial prey. The annual number of recovered reindeer carcasses and sea ice cover were used as proxies for climate influenced food availability (reindeers, seals). Linear models revealed that concentrations of PCBs, chlordanes, p,p'-DDE, mirex and PBDEs decreased 4-11% per year, while no trends were observed for hexachlorobenzene (HCB) or β-hexachlorocyclohexane (β-HCH). Positive relationships between POP concentrations and δ13C indicate that concentrations of all compounds increase with increasing marine dietary input. Increasing reindeer mortality was related to lower HCB concentrations in the foxes based on the linear models. This suggests that concentrations of HCB in arctic foxes may be influenced by high mortality levels of Svalbard reindeer. Further, β-HCH concentrations showed a positive association with sea ice cover. These results in addition to the strong effect of δ13C on all POP concentrations suggest that climate-related changes in arctic fox diet are likely to influence contaminant concentrations in arctic foxes from Svalbard.

  13. Caecal decomposition of uric acid in captive and free ranging willow ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus lagopus).

    PubMed

    Mortensen, A; Tindall, A R

    1981-02-01

    Urine entering the caeca of birds contains significant amounts of uric acid. The discovery of great numbers of bacteria utilizing uric acid in the caeca has encouraged the discussion about nitrogen recycling in birds. In this work caecal decomposition of uric acid in wild and captive willow ptarmigan has been investigated using radioactively labelled uric acid injected directly into one of the caeca. The appearance of radioactive CO2 in the expired air was taken as an indication of uric acid breakdown. The decomposition occurred at a rate corresponding to a half-life of 26 min (11-36 min). The results are in accordance with the previously reported observations of huge numbers of uric acid utilizing bacteria in the caeca of a variety of birds, and also with the nitrogen recycling theory. However, no conclusion concerning the nitrogen recycling can be drawn. PMID:7282388

  14. Characteristics of selected peripheral blood parameters in polar fox (Alopex lagopus L.) fed diets with inulin.

    PubMed

    Szymeczko, Roman; Głowińska, Beata; Burlikowska, Katarzyna; Piotrowska, Anna; Bogusławska-Tryk, Monika; Kozłowska, Izabela; Brudnicki, Adam; Pietruszyńska, Dominika

    2013-01-01

    This study aimed at investigating changes in selected peripheral blood parameters in male polar foxes fed diets with different supplementation of inulin: 0.25% (group El), 0.5% (E2) and 1% (E3). The blood for analysis was sampled from the brachial vein. The study showed that adding 0.25 and 0.5% of inulin to fox feed resulted in a lower content of haemoglobin (Hb) as well as mean mass of Hb in red blood cells in the 0.5% inulin group. The total count of thrombocytes decreased significantly with a higher level of prebiotic, while the total number of white blood cells and the percentage of different leukocytes tested remained invariable. The lowest supplementation of inulin affected the partial pressure of carbon dioxide, however, the remaining acid-base parameters did not change. The present study provides the first preliminary information about the effect of dietary inulin on some haematological indices and acid-base parameters in adult polar foxes. The results may be helpful in practice to improve the health condition of farmed polar foxes.

  15. Den use by arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) in a subarctic region of western Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anthony, R.M.

    1996-01-01

    Distribution, abundance, and use of arctic fox dens located in coastal tundra communities of the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta were determined in studies from 1985 to 1990. Dens were denser and less complex than those described in studies conducted above the Arctic Circle. Eighty-three dens of varying complexity were found in the 52-km2 study area. Nineteen dens were used by arctic foxes for whelping or rearing pups. Three females relocated litters to multiple dens; a maximum of four dens were used concurrently by pups from one litter. Although red foxes were common in the region, their use of dens in the study area was minimal. Differences in vegetation at den sites and nearby unoccupied sites were minimal. Furthermore, den sites could not be distinguished from non-den sites during aerial surveys.

  16. Kinematics and subpopulations' structure definition of blue fox (Alopex lagopus) sperm motility using the ISAS® V1 CASA system.

    PubMed

    Soler, C; García, A; Contell, J; Segervall, J; Sancho, M

    2014-08-01

    Over recent years, technological advances have brought innovation in assisted reproduction to the agriculture. Fox species are of great economical interest in some countries, but their semen characteristics have not been studied enough. To advance the knowledge of function of fox spermatozoa, five samples were obtained by masturbation, in the breeding season. Kinetic analysis was performed using ISAS® v1 system. Usual kinematic parameters (VCL, VSL, VAP, LIN, STR, WOB, ALH and BCF) were considered. To establish the standardization for the analysis of samples, the minimum number of cells to analyse and the minimum number of fields to capture were defined. In the second step, the presence of subpopulations in blue fox semen was analysed. The minimum number of cells to test was 30, because kinematic parameters remained constant along the groups of analysis. Also, the effectiveness of ISAS® D4C20 counting chamber was studied, showing that the first five squares presented equivalent results, while in the squares six and seven, the kinematic parameters showed a reduction in all of them, but not in the concentration or motility percentage. Kinematic variables were grouped into two principal components (PC). A linear movement characterized PC1, while PC2 showed an oscillatory movement. Three subpopulations were found, varying in structure among different animals.

  17. Genotyping of Enterocytozoon bieneusi in Farmed Blue Foxes (Alopex lagopus) and Raccoon Dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) in China.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Wei; Zhang, Weizhe; Yang, Ziyin; Liu, Aiqin; Zhang, Longxian; Yang, Fengkun; Wang, Rongjun; Ling, Hong

    2015-01-01

    Enterocytozoon bieneusi is the most common species of microsporidia found both in humans and animals. Farmed animals, particularly closely associated to humans, may play an important role of zoonotic reservoir in transmitting this disease to humans. The fur industry is a major economic component in some parts of China. To understand the prevalence, genotype variety and zoonotic risk of E. bieneusi in farmed foxes and raccoon dogs, two species of fur animals, fecal specimens of 110 blue foxes and 49 raccoon dogs from Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces in China were examined by internal transcribed spacer (ITS)-based PCR. E. bieneusi was detected in 16.4% (18/110) blue foxes and 4.1% (2/49) raccoon dogs. Altogether, four genotypes of E. bieneusi were identified, including two known genotypes D (n = 13) and EbpC (n = 5), and two novel genotypes named as CHN-F1 (n = 1) in a fox and CHN-R1 (n = 1) in a raccoon dog. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that all the four genotypes were the members of zoonotic group 1. Genotypes D and EbpC were found in humans previously. The findings of zoonotic genotypes of E. bieneusi in the foxes and raccoon dogs suggest these animals infected with E. bieneusi may pose a threat to human health. PMID:26544711

  18. Genotyping of Enterocytozoon bieneusi in Farmed Blue Foxes (Alopex lagopus) and Raccoon Dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) in China

    PubMed Central

    Zhao, Wei; Zhang, Weizhe; Yang, Ziyin; Liu, Aiqin; Zhang, Longxian; Yang, Fengkun; Wang, Rongjun; Ling, Hong

    2015-01-01

    Enterocytozoon bieneusi is the most common species of microsporidia found both in humans and animals. Farmed animals, particularly closely associated to humans, may play an important role of zoonotic reservoir in transmitting this disease to humans. The fur industry is a major economic component in some parts of China. To understand the prevalence, genotype variety and zoonotic risk of E. bieneusi in farmed foxes and raccoon dogs, two species of fur animals, fecal specimens of 110 blue foxes and 49 raccoon dogs from Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces in China were examined by internal transcribed spacer (ITS)-based PCR. E. bieneusi was detected in 16.4% (18/110) blue foxes and 4.1% (2/49) raccoon dogs. Altogether, four genotypes of E. bieneusi were identified, including two known genotypes D (n = 13) and EbpC (n = 5), and two novel genotypes named as CHN-F1 (n = 1) in a fox and CHN-R1 (n = 1) in a raccoon dog. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that all the four genotypes were the members of zoonotic group 1. Genotypes D and EbpC were found in humans previously. The findings of zoonotic genotypes of E. bieneusi in the foxes and raccoon dogs suggest these animals infected with E. bieneusi may pose a threat to human health. PMID:26544711

  19. The ornament-condition relationship varies with parasite abundance at population level in a female bird

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vergara, Pablo; Martínez-Padilla, Jesús; Redpath, Stephen M.; Mougeot, Francois

    2011-10-01

    Environmental heterogeneity is expected to create variation in the ornament-condition relationship. This topic has been studied in males with less attention being given to females. Here, we explore inter-population variation in the relationship between the size of a male-like trait, supra-orbital combs, and body mass in female red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus. We used the abundance of the nematode Trichostrongylus tenuis, a parasite with strong negative effects on this species, as a proxy of environmental conditions. We studied six populations over 5 years and showed that the comb size-body mass relationship varied with mean parasite abundance, with stronger ornament-condition relationships in populations with higher parasite infection levels. Our study supports the idea that environmental conditions, and in particular parasite infection levels, may affect the reliability of female ornaments as condition indicators.

  20. Effects of Dietary Copper and Zinc Supplementation on Growth Performance, Tissue Mineral Retention, Antioxidant Status, and Fur Quality in Growing-Furring Blue Foxes (Alopex lagopus).

    PubMed

    Liu, Zhi; Wu, Xuezhuang; Zhang, Tietao; Guo, Jungang; Gao, Xiuhua; Yang, Fuhe; Xing, Xiumei

    2015-12-01

    A 4×2 factorial experiment with four supplemental levels of copper (0, 20, 40, or 60 mg copper per kg dry matter) from copper sulfate and two supplemental levels of zinc (40 or 200 mg zinc per kg dry matter) from zinc sulfate was conducted to investigate the effects of dietary copper and zinc supplementation on growth performance, tissue mineral retention, antioxidant status, and fur quality in growing-furring blue foxes. One hundred and twenty healthy 15-week-old male blue foxes were randomly allocated to eight dietary treatments with 15 replicates per treatment for a 70-day trial from mid-September to pelting in December. The average daily gain and feed conversion ratio were increased with copper supplementation in the first 35 days as well as the overall period (P<0.05). In addition, copper supplementation tended to increase feed intake during the first 35 days (P<0.10). Diets supplemented with 200 mg/kg zinc did not affect body gain (P>0.10) and feed intake (P>0.10) but improved feed conversion (P<0.05) compared with those supplemented 40 mg/kg zinc throughout the experiment. No copper×zinc interaction was observed for growth performance except that a tendency (P=0.09) was found for feed intake in the first 35 days. Supplementation of copper or zinc improved crude fat digestibility (P<0.01) but had no effects on the digestibility of other nutrients. Fecal copper was increased with both copper (P<0.01) and zinc addition (P<0.05). However, fecal zinc was affected only by dietary zinc addition (P<0.01). Mineral contents in serum and kidney were not affected by dietary treatments (P>0.05). However, the level of copper in the liver was increased with copper supplementation (P<0.05) and tended to decrease with zinc supplementation (P=0.08). Dietary zinc addition tended to increase the activity of alkaline phosphatase (P=0.07). The activities of copper-zinc superoxide dismutase and catalase tended to increase by copper (P=0.08) and zinc addition (P=0.05). Moreover, a copper×zinc interaction was observed for catalase in the experiment (P<0.05). Serum malondialdehyde concentration decreased with the increasing of dietary copper and zinc levels (P<0.05). The activity of glutathione peroxidase tended to increase by copper addition (P=0.09). For fur quality, foxes fed diets supplemented with high copper had larger skin length and darker pelts than those fed the basal diet without copper addition (P<0.05). In conclusion, this study demonstrated that dietary copper and zinc supplementation can improve growth by increasing feed intake and improving fat digestibility. Additionally, copper and zinc can enhance the antioxidant capacity of blue foxes. This study also indicates that additional zinc up to 200 mg/kg did not exert significant adverse effects on the copper metabolism of growing-furring blue foxes. PMID:26032444

  1. Calcium concrements in the pineal gland of the Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) and their relationship to pinealocytes, glial cells and type I and III collagen fibers.

    PubMed

    Bulc, M; Lewczuk, B; Prusik, M; Gugołek, A; Przybylska-Gornowicz, B

    2010-01-01

    The aim of the present study was to analyze the presence and morphology of the pineal concretions in the Arctic fox and their relationship to pinealocytes, glial cells and collagen fibers. Pineals collected from 7-8 month-old and 3-4 year-old foxes (6 in each age-group) were investigated. Sections of the glands were stained with HE, Mallory's method and alizarin red S as well as subjected to a combined procedure involving immunofluorescent staining with antibodies against antigen S, glial fibril acid protein (GFAP), type I and III collagen and histochemical staining with alizarin red S. The pineal concretions were found in 2 of 6 investigated Arctic foxes aged 3 years and they were not observed in animals aged 7-8 months. The acervuli were present in the parenchyma and the connective tissue septa. They were more numerous in the distal part than in the proximal part of the gland. The acervuli stained with alizarin red S revealed an intensive red fluorescence, what enabled the use of this compound in a combined histochemical-immunofluorescent procedure. A majority of cells in the fox pineal showed positive staining with antibodies against antigen S, a marker of pinealocytes. GFAP-positive cells were especially numerous in the proximal part of the gland. Both antigen S- and GFAP-positive cells were frequently observed close to the concrements. Collagen fibers of type I and III were found in the capsule, connective tissue septa and vessels. Immunoreactive fibers did not form any capsules or basket-like structures surrounding the concrements. PMID:20731181

  2. Influence of dietary copper concentrations on growth performance, serum lipid profiles, antioxidant defenses, and fur quality in growing-furring male blue foxes (Vulpes lagopus).

    PubMed

    Liu, Z; Wu, X; Zhang, T; Cui, H; Guo, J; Guo, Q; Gao, X; Yang, F

    2016-03-01

    A 75-d experiment was conducted to evaluate the influence of dietary Cu concentrations on growth performance, serum lipid profiles, antioxidant defenses, and fur quality in growing-furring male blue foxes. Seventy-five male blue foxes (5.78 ± 0.09 kg BW) were selected and randomly allocated to 1 of the following 5 dietary treatments: 1) control (basal diet without supplemental Cu; 7.78 mg Cu/kg), 2) 12.22 mg/kg supplemental Cu (Cu20), 3) 32.22 mg/kg supplemental Cu, 4) 72.22 mg/kg supplemental Cu (Cu80), and 5) 152.22 mg/kg supplemental Cu (Cu160). A dry feed that consisted of animal meals, soybean meal, extruded corn, and soybean oil was used as the basal diet and Cu was supplemented as reagent grade CuSO∙5HO. The results showed that Cu supplementation increased the ADG ( < 0.05) and fat digestibility ( < 0.01) and tended to improve G:F ( = 0.09). The ADFI, however, was not affected by dietary Cu ( > 0.10). Additionally, Cu supplementation linearly increased the concentration of fecal Cu, liver Cu, serum total protein, and albumin ( < 0.01). Foxes in the Cu160 group had higher serum Cu concentration than those in the control and Cu20 groups ( < 0.05). The concentration of serum cholesterol decreased with dietary Cu supplementation ( < 0.05). Serum high-density lipoprotein, on the contrary, tended to increase with Cu supplementation ( = 0.09). Copper supplementation increased the activity of glutathione peroxidase ( < 0.05) and tended to increase the activity of serum ceruloplasmin ( = 0.07). For fur quality, skin length in the Cu80 group was greater than that in the control and Cu20 groups. In addition, hair color tended to deepen with the increasing of dietary Cu concentrations ( = 0.08). In conclusion, this study demonstrates that Cu supplementation can promote growth and increase fat digestibility and fur length. Additionally, dietary Cu supplementation can enhance antioxidant capacity and reduce serum cholesterol in growing-furring blue foxes.

  3. Effects of Dietary Copper and Zinc Supplementation on Growth Performance, Tissue Mineral Retention, Antioxidant Status, and Fur Quality in Growing-Furring Blue Foxes (Alopex lagopus).

    PubMed

    Liu, Zhi; Wu, Xuezhuang; Zhang, Tietao; Guo, Jungang; Gao, Xiuhua; Yang, Fuhe; Xing, Xiumei

    2015-12-01

    A 4×2 factorial experiment with four supplemental levels of copper (0, 20, 40, or 60 mg copper per kg dry matter) from copper sulfate and two supplemental levels of zinc (40 or 200 mg zinc per kg dry matter) from zinc sulfate was conducted to investigate the effects of dietary copper and zinc supplementation on growth performance, tissue mineral retention, antioxidant status, and fur quality in growing-furring blue foxes. One hundred and twenty healthy 15-week-old male blue foxes were randomly allocated to eight dietary treatments with 15 replicates per treatment for a 70-day trial from mid-September to pelting in December. The average daily gain and feed conversion ratio were increased with copper supplementation in the first 35 days as well as the overall period (P<0.05). In addition, copper supplementation tended to increase feed intake during the first 35 days (P<0.10). Diets supplemented with 200 mg/kg zinc did not affect body gain (P>0.10) and feed intake (P>0.10) but improved feed conversion (P<0.05) compared with those supplemented 40 mg/kg zinc throughout the experiment. No copper×zinc interaction was observed for growth performance except that a tendency (P=0.09) was found for feed intake in the first 35 days. Supplementation of copper or zinc improved crude fat digestibility (P<0.01) but had no effects on the digestibility of other nutrients. Fecal copper was increased with both copper (P<0.01) and zinc addition (P<0.05). However, fecal zinc was affected only by dietary zinc addition (P<0.01). Mineral contents in serum and kidney were not affected by dietary treatments (P>0.05). However, the level of copper in the liver was increased with copper supplementation (P<0.05) and tended to decrease with zinc supplementation (P=0.08). Dietary zinc addition tended to increase the activity of alkaline phosphatase (P=0.07). The activities of copper-zinc superoxide dismutase and catalase tended to increase by copper (P=0.08) and zinc addition (P=0.05). Moreover, a copper×zinc interaction was observed for catalase in the experiment (P<0.05). Serum malondialdehyde concentration decreased with the increasing of dietary copper and zinc levels (P<0.05). The activity of glutathione peroxidase tended to increase by copper addition (P=0.09). For fur quality, foxes fed diets supplemented with high copper had larger skin length and darker pelts than those fed the basal diet without copper addition (P<0.05). In conclusion, this study demonstrated that dietary copper and zinc supplementation can improve growth by increasing feed intake and improving fat digestibility. Additionally, copper and zinc can enhance the antioxidant capacity of blue foxes. This study also indicates that additional zinc up to 200 mg/kg did not exert significant adverse effects on the copper metabolism of growing-furring blue foxes.

  4. Effects of melatonin implantation on spermatogenesis, the moulting cycle and plasma concentrations of melatonin, LH, prolactin and testosterone in the male blue fox (Alopex lagopus).

    PubMed

    Smith, A J; Mondain-Monval, M; Andersen Berg, K; Simon, P; Forsberg, M; Clausen, O P; Hansen, T; Møller, O M; Scholler, R

    1987-03-01

    Melatonin administration to male blue foxes from August for 1 year resulted in profound changes in the testicular and furring cycles. The control animals underwent 5-fold seasonal changes in testicular volume, with maximal values in March and lowest volumes in August. In contrast, melatonin treatment allowed normal redevelopment of the testes and growth of the winter coat during the autumn but prevented testicular regression and the moult to a summer coat the following spring. At castration in August, 88% of the tubular sections in the testes of the controls contained spermatogonia as the only germinal cell type, whereas in the treated animals 56-79% of sections contained spermatids or even spermatozoa. Semen collection from a treated male in early August produced spermatozoa with normal density and motility. Measurement of plasma prolactin concentrations revealed that the spring rise in plasma prolactin values (from basal levels of 1.6-5.4 ng/ml to peak values of 4.1-18.3 ng/ml) was prevented; values in the treated animals ranged during the year from 1.8 to 6.3 ng/ml. Individual variations in plasma LH concentrations masked any seasonal variations in LH release in response to LHRH stimulation, but the testosterone response to LH release after LHRH stimulation was significantly higher after the mating season in the treated animals, indicating that testicular testosterone production was maintained longer than in the controls. The treated animals retained a winter coat, of varied quality and maturity, until the end of the study in August. PMID:3572874

  5. Influence of dietary copper concentrations on growth performance, serum lipid profiles, antioxidant defenses, and fur quality in growing-furring male blue foxes (Vulpes lagopus).

    PubMed

    Liu, Z; Wu, X; Zhang, T; Cui, H; Guo, J; Guo, Q; Gao, X; Yang, F

    2016-03-01

    A 75-d experiment was conducted to evaluate the influence of dietary Cu concentrations on growth performance, serum lipid profiles, antioxidant defenses, and fur quality in growing-furring male blue foxes. Seventy-five male blue foxes (5.78 ± 0.09 kg BW) were selected and randomly allocated to 1 of the following 5 dietary treatments: 1) control (basal diet without supplemental Cu; 7.78 mg Cu/kg), 2) 12.22 mg/kg supplemental Cu (Cu20), 3) 32.22 mg/kg supplemental Cu, 4) 72.22 mg/kg supplemental Cu (Cu80), and 5) 152.22 mg/kg supplemental Cu (Cu160). A dry feed that consisted of animal meals, soybean meal, extruded corn, and soybean oil was used as the basal diet and Cu was supplemented as reagent grade CuSO∙5HO. The results showed that Cu supplementation increased the ADG ( < 0.05) and fat digestibility ( < 0.01) and tended to improve G:F ( = 0.09). The ADFI, however, was not affected by dietary Cu ( > 0.10). Additionally, Cu supplementation linearly increased the concentration of fecal Cu, liver Cu, serum total protein, and albumin ( < 0.01). Foxes in the Cu160 group had higher serum Cu concentration than those in the control and Cu20 groups ( < 0.05). The concentration of serum cholesterol decreased with dietary Cu supplementation ( < 0.05). Serum high-density lipoprotein, on the contrary, tended to increase with Cu supplementation ( = 0.09). Copper supplementation increased the activity of glutathione peroxidase ( < 0.05) and tended to increase the activity of serum ceruloplasmin ( = 0.07). For fur quality, skin length in the Cu80 group was greater than that in the control and Cu20 groups. In addition, hair color tended to deepen with the increasing of dietary Cu concentrations ( = 0.08). In conclusion, this study demonstrates that Cu supplementation can promote growth and increase fat digestibility and fur length. Additionally, dietary Cu supplementation can enhance antioxidant capacity and reduce serum cholesterol in growing-furring blue foxes. PMID:27065271

  6. Chemical composition of silage residues sustaining the larval development of the Culicoides obsoletus/Culicoides scoticus species (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae).

    PubMed

    Zimmer, Jean-Yves; Saegerman, Claude; Losson, Bertrand; Beckers, Yves; Haubruge, Eric; Francis, Frédéric

    2013-01-16

    Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) are biological vectors of bluetongue virus (BTV). Bluetongue is a viral disease that affects domestic and wild ruminants. Since its recent emergence in northern Europe, this disease has caused considerable economic losses to the sheep and cattle industry. The biotopes, and more particularly the chemical characteristics which are suitable for larval development of the main vector species, are still relatively unknown. This study shows that the larvae of biting midges belonging to the species Culicoides obsoletus and Culicoides scoticus are able to breed in different types of silage residue (maize, grass, sugar beet pulp and their combinations). The chemical composition of substrates strongly influences the presence of the immature stages of these biting midges. Higher lignin and insoluble fibre contents seem to favour their presence and could play the role of a physical support for semi-aquatic larvae. In contrast, higher concentrations of magnesium and calcium are negatively correlated with the presence of these two species. These data will help to locate and monitor the breeding sites of these species and could contribute to the control of these insects on farms.

  7. Chemical composition of silage residues sustaining the larval development of the Culicoides obsoletus/Culicoides scoticus species (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae).

    PubMed

    Zimmer, Jean-Yves; Saegerman, Claude; Losson, Bertrand; Beckers, Yves; Haubruge, Eric; Francis, Frédéric

    2013-01-16

    Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) are biological vectors of bluetongue virus (BTV). Bluetongue is a viral disease that affects domestic and wild ruminants. Since its recent emergence in northern Europe, this disease has caused considerable economic losses to the sheep and cattle industry. The biotopes, and more particularly the chemical characteristics which are suitable for larval development of the main vector species, are still relatively unknown. This study shows that the larvae of biting midges belonging to the species Culicoides obsoletus and Culicoides scoticus are able to breed in different types of silage residue (maize, grass, sugar beet pulp and their combinations). The chemical composition of substrates strongly influences the presence of the immature stages of these biting midges. Higher lignin and insoluble fibre contents seem to favour their presence and could play the role of a physical support for semi-aquatic larvae. In contrast, higher concentrations of magnesium and calcium are negatively correlated with the presence of these two species. These data will help to locate and monitor the breeding sites of these species and could contribute to the control of these insects on farms. PMID:22963713

  8. Testing the interactive effects of testosterone and parasites on carotenoid-based ornamentation in a wild bird.

    PubMed

    Martínez-Padilla, J; Mougeot, F; Webster, L M I; Pérez-Rodríguez, L; Piertney, S B

    2010-05-01

    Testosterone underlies the expression of most secondary sexual traits, playing a key role in sexual selection. However, high levels might be associated with physiological costs, such as immunosuppression. Immunostimulant carotenoids underpin the expression of many red-yellow ornaments, but are regulated by testosterone and constrained by parasites. We manipulated testosterone and nematode burdens in red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) in two populations to tease apart their effects on carotenoid levels, ornament size and colouration in three time-step periods. We found no evidence for interactive effects of testosterone and parasites on ornament size and colouration. We showed that ornament colouration was testosterone-driven. However, parasites decreased comb size with a time delay and testosterone increased carotenoid levels in one of the populations. This suggests that environmental context plays a key role in determining how individuals resolve the trade-off between allocating carotenoids for ornamental coloration or for self-maintenance needs. Our study advocates that adequately testing the mechanisms behind the production or maintenance of secondary sexual characters has to take into account the dynamics of sexual trait expression and their environmental context. PMID:20536879

  9. Environmental heterogeneity influences the reliability of secondary sexual traits as condition indicators.

    PubMed

    Vergara, Pablo; Martinez-Padilla, J; Mougeot, F; Leckie, F; Redpath, S M

    2012-01-01

    Numerous studies have shown positive associations between ornaments and condition, as predicted by indicator models of sexual selection. However, this idea is continuously challenged by opposite results, which reveal our lack of full understanding of how sexual selection works. Environmental heterogeneity may explain such inconsistencies, but valid field tests of this idea are currently lacking. We first analysed the relationship between condition and ornament expression from nine populations over 7 years in a wild bird, the red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus. We then manipulated male aggressiveness at the population level by means of testosterone implants in a replicated field experiment. We found that the relationship between condition and ornamentation varied greatly between environments and became stronger when environmental conditions (ECs) were worse or when aggressiveness in the population was experimentally increased. Some ornaments may therefore reliably advertise a better condition only in adverse ECs. Considering environmental heterogeneity can help reconcile conflicting findings regarding the reliability of ornaments as indicators of condition and will help our understanding of sexual selection processes. PMID:22022806

  10. Louping ill virus in the UK: a review of the hosts, transmission and ecological consequences of control.

    PubMed

    Gilbert, Lucy

    2016-03-01

    Louping ill virus (LIV) is a tick-borne flavivirus that is part of the tick-borne encephalitis complex of viruses (TBEV) and has economic and welfare importance by causing illness and death in livestock, especially sheep, Ovies aries, and red grouse, Lagopus lagopus scoticus, an economically valuable gamebird. Unlike Western TBEV which is found primarily in woodlands and is reservoired by small rodents, LIV is not generally transmitted by small rodents but instead by sheep, red grouse and mountain hares and, therefore, is associated with upland heather moorland and rough grazing land. Red grouse are a particularly interesting transmission host because they may acquire most of their LIV infections through eating ticks rather than being bitten by ticks. Furthermore, the main incentive for the application of LIV control methods is not to protect sheep, but to protect red grouse, which is an economically important gamebird. The widespread intensive culling of mountain hares which has been adopted in several areas of Scotland to try to control ticks and LIV has become an important issue in Scotland in recent years. This review outlines the reservoir hosts and transmission cycles of LIV in the UK, then describes the various control methods that have been tried or modelled, with far-reaching implications for conservation and public opinion.

  11. An alternative to killing? Treatment of reservoir hosts to control a vector and pathogen in a susceptible species.

    PubMed

    Porter, R; Norman, R A; Gilbert, L

    2013-02-01

    Parasite-mediated apparent competition occurs when one species affects another through the action of a shared parasite. One way of controlling the parasite in the more susceptible host is to manage the reservoir host. Culling can cause issues in terms of ethics and biodiversity impacts, therefore we ask: can treating, as compared to culling, a wildlife host protect a target species from the shared parasite? We used Susceptible Infected Recovered (SIR) models parameterized for the tick-borne louping ill virus (LIV) system. Deer are the key hosts of the vector (Ixodes ricinus) that transmits LIV to red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus, causing high mortality. The model was run under scenarios of varying acaricide efficacy and deer densities. The model predicted that treating deer can increase grouse density through controlling ticks and LIV, if acaricide efficacies are high and deer densities low. Comparing deer treated with 70% acaricide efficacy with a 70% cull rate suggested that treatment may be more effective than culling if initial deer densities are high. Our results will help inform tick control policies, optimize the targeting of control methods and identify conditions where host management is most likely to succeed. Our approach is applicable to other host-vector-pathogen systems. PMID:22939093

  12. Bone lead levels and lead isotope ratios in red grouse from Scottish and Yorkshire moors.

    PubMed

    Thomas, Vernon G; Scheuhammer, Anton M; Bond, Della E

    2009-05-15

    Leg and foot bones of adult and juvenile red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) were collected from hunter-shot birds on two Scottish estates (Glendye and Invermark) and one Yorkshire estate in September, 2003. The lead content of bones was measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry, and corresponding stable lead isotopes (Pb(204, 206, 207, 208)) by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. At the Glendye (N=111) and Invermark (N=85) estates, relatively few birds (5.4% and 3.5%, respectively) had highly elevated bone lead concentrations (>20 microg/g dry weight). In bones of these highly exposed birds, a combination of Pb(206):Pb(207) and Pb(208):Pb(207)ratios was consistent with ingestion of lead gunshot available in Europe. By contrast, Yorkshire grouse experienced a high incidence (65.8%) of bone lead >20 microg/g. The Pb(206):Pb(207) and Pb(208):Pb(207)ratios in bones of these highly exposed birds were consistent with a combined exposure to ingested lead gunshot and lead from galena mining in the region. Lead isotope ratios also indicated that lead from UK gasoline combustion and fallout from atmospheric particles was not a likely source of elevated lead in bones of either Scottish or Yorkshire grouse. Suggested management options for the three moors include adopting nontoxic shot for all game shooting on the estates, allowing heather (Calluna vulgaris) vegetation to grow tall in lead shot fall-out zones to reduce physical access to high densities of lead shot already present, and provision of calcareous grit across moors to reduce lead assimilation from all ingested sources of lead.

  13. Habitat loss and raptor predation: disentangling long- and short-term causes of red grouse declines.

    PubMed

    Thirgood, S J; Redpath, S M; Haydon, D T; Rothery, P; Newton, I; Hudson, P J

    2000-04-01

    The number of red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) shot in the UK has declined by 50% during the 20th century This decline has coincided with reductions in the area of suitable habitat and recoveries in the populations of some avian predators. Here we use long-term records of shooting bags and a large-scale manipulation of raptor density to disentangle the effects of habitat loss and raptor predation on grouse populations. The numbers of grouse harvested on the Eskdale half of Langholm Moor in southern Scotland declined significantly during 1913-1990 and grouse bags from the whole moor from 1950 to 1990 exhibited an almost identical but non-significant trend. Hen harriers (Circus cyaneus) and peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) were absent or bred at low densities on this moor throughout this period but heather-dominant vegetation declined by 48% between 1948 and 1988. Harrier and peregrine breeding numbers on Langholm Moor increased to high levels following protection in 1990 whilst grouse density and grouse bags declined year after year until shooting was abandoned in 1998. The prediction of a peak in grouse bags on Langholm Moor in 1996 based on the patterns of bags during 1950-1990 was supported by the observed peaks in 1997 on two nearby moors with few raptors which formerly cycled in synchrony with Langholm Moor. This study demonstrates that, whilst long-term declines in grouse bags were most probably due to habitat loss, high levels of raptor predation subsequently limited the grouse population and suppressed a cycle. This study thus offers support to theoretical models which predict that generalist predators may suppress cycles in prey populations.

  14. Multilocus DNA fingerprints in gallinaceous birds: general approach and problems.

    PubMed

    Hanotte, O; Bruford, M W; Burke, T

    1992-06-01

    Multilocus profiles were investigated in five different species of Galliformes (ring-necked pheasant Phasianus colchicus, Indian peafowl Pavo cristatus, Japanese quail Coturnix coturnix japonica, domestic chicken Gallus gallus, and red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus) using two human multilocus probes (33.6 and 33.15) in combination with each of four restriction enzymes (AluI, DdeI, HaeIII or HinfI). All the species show a DNA fingerprint-like pattern using at least one restriction enzyme in combination with each multilocus probe. The number of bands detected and the value of the index of similarity for each species differ significantly between the profiles obtained with each multilocus probe. Some enzyme/probe combinations reveal strong cross-hybridization of the multilocus probes with satellite or satellite-like DNA sequences in pheasant, peacock, quail and chicken, which partially or completely prevented scoring of the profile. The choice of restriction enzyme was found to influence the number of bands, the value of the index of similarity and the probability of obtaining an identical fingerprint between unrelated individuals. The Mendelian inheritance and independent segregation of the fragments detected using AluI was investigated in three species (ring-necked pheasant, Indian peafowl and red grouse). Some bands were shown to be tightly linked. An extreme case was encountered in the red grouse, where 12 of the 15 bands scored in one parent represented only two, apparently allelic, haplotypes and so derived from a single locus. However, fingerprint patterns will often be adequate for use in paternity analyses, such as in behavioural studies, despite the occurrence of haplotypic sets of bands. Identical DNA multilocus profiles were sometimes observed between captive-bred siblings in one species. These results emphasize the desirability of determining, in each new species, the optimal experimental conditions as a preliminary to any behavioural or population

  15. Multilocus DNA fingerprints in gallinaceous birds: general approach and problems.

    PubMed

    Hanotte, O; Bruford, M W; Burke, T

    1992-06-01

    Multilocus profiles were investigated in five different species of Galliformes (ring-necked pheasant Phasianus colchicus, Indian peafowl Pavo cristatus, Japanese quail Coturnix coturnix japonica, domestic chicken Gallus gallus, and red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus) using two human multilocus probes (33.6 and 33.15) in combination with each of four restriction enzymes (AluI, DdeI, HaeIII or HinfI). All the species show a DNA fingerprint-like pattern using at least one restriction enzyme in combination with each multilocus probe. The number of bands detected and the value of the index of similarity for each species differ significantly between the profiles obtained with each multilocus probe. Some enzyme/probe combinations reveal strong cross-hybridization of the multilocus probes with satellite or satellite-like DNA sequences in pheasant, peacock, quail and chicken, which partially or completely prevented scoring of the profile. The choice of restriction enzyme was found to influence the number of bands, the value of the index of similarity and the probability of obtaining an identical fingerprint between unrelated individuals. The Mendelian inheritance and independent segregation of the fragments detected using AluI was investigated in three species (ring-necked pheasant, Indian peafowl and red grouse). Some bands were shown to be tightly linked. An extreme case was encountered in the red grouse, where 12 of the 15 bands scored in one parent represented only two, apparently allelic, haplotypes and so derived from a single locus. However, fingerprint patterns will often be adequate for use in paternity analyses, such as in behavioural studies, despite the occurrence of haplotypic sets of bands. Identical DNA multilocus profiles were sometimes observed between captive-bred siblings in one species. These results emphasize the desirability of determining, in each new species, the optimal experimental conditions as a preliminary to any behavioural or population

  16. Factors affecting unintentional harvesting selectivity in a monomorphic species.

    PubMed

    Bunnefeld, Nils; Baines, David; Newborn, David; Milner-Gulland, E J

    2009-03-01

    1. Changes in the abundance of populations have always perplexed ecologists but long-term studies are revealing new insights into population dynamic processes. Long-term data are often derived from harvest records although many wild populations face high harvesting pressures leading to overharvesting and extinction. Additionally, harvest records used to describe population processes such as fluctuations in abundance and reproductive success often assume a random off-take. 2. Selective harvesting based on phenotypic characteristics occurs in many species (e.g. trophy hunting, fisheries) and has important implications for population dynamics, conservation and management. 3. In species with no marked morphological differences between the age and sex classes, such as the red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus during the shooting season, hunters cannot consciously select for a specific sex or age class during the shooting process but harvest records could still give a biased reflection of the population structure because of differences in behaviour between age and sex classes. 4. This study compared age and sex ratios in the bag with those in the population before shooting for red grouse at different points in the shooting season and different densities, which has rarely been tested before. 5. More young than old grouse were shot at large bag sizes and vice versa for small bag sizes than would be expected from the population composition before shooting. The susceptibility of old males to shooting compared to females increased with bag size and was high at the first time the area was shot but decreased with the number of times an area was harvested. 6. These findings stress that the assumption made in many studies that harvest records reflect the age and sex ratio of the population and therefore reflect productivity can be misleading. 7. In this paper, as in the literature, it is also shown that number of grouse shot reflects grouse density and therefore that hunting

  17. Offshore marine observation of Willow Ptarmigan, including water landings, Kuskokwim Bay, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zimmerman, C.E.; Hillgruber, N.; Burril, S.E.; St., Peters; Wetzel, J.D.

    2005-01-01

    We report an observation of Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) encountered 8 to 17 km from the nearest shoreline on Kuskokwim Bay, Alaska, on 30 August 2003. The ptarmigan were observed flying, landing on our research vessel, and landing and taking off from the water surface. We also report on one other observation of ptarmigan sitting on the water surface and other marine observations of ptarmigan from the North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database. These observations provide evidence that Willow Ptarmigan are capable of dispersing across large bodies of water and landing and taking off from the water surface.

  18. Molecular instability induced by aluminum stress in Plantago species.

    PubMed

    Correia, Sofia; Matos, Manuela; Ferreira, Vanessa; Martins, Neusa; Gonçalves, Sandra; Romano, Anabela; Pinto-Carnide, Olinda

    2014-08-01

    Aluminum (Al) is one of the most abundant metals on earth's crust and Al toxicity represents one of the major factors that limit plant growth and productivity in acid soils (with a pH≤5.0). In this study the mutagenic/genotoxic effects of Al were evaluated in roots and leaves of two Plantago, species, Plantago almogravensis and Plantago lagopus, using ISSRs markers. Both species were exposed to 400 μM Al during 7 and 21 days. Ten ISSR primers produced polymorphic bands. In P. almogravensis, a total of 257 and 258 bands in roots and 255 and 265 bands in leaves were produced in the presence and absence of Al, respectively. In P. lagopus were produced 279 and 278 a total bands in roots and 275 and 274 bands in leaves, under the same conditions. The changes in ISSR profiles after Al treatment were considered as gain and/or loss of bands compared with the controls. The results suggest that changes in genomic template stability (GTS) could be detected with ISSR profiles. This molecular marker proved to be a good tool to detect the effects of Al on DNA profiles. It seems that Al did not interfere significantly with DNA integrity in both species but generated less ISSR stability in P. almogravensis than in P. lagopus. The results confirm the tolerance of P. almogravensis and suggest the same behavior of P. lagopus. Although further studies are required for confirmation the Al tolerance behavior of P. lagopus, a potential application for phytoremediation can be also considered due its wide distribution.

  19. Molecular instability induced by aluminum stress in Plantago species.

    PubMed

    Correia, Sofia; Matos, Manuela; Ferreira, Vanessa; Martins, Neusa; Gonçalves, Sandra; Romano, Anabela; Pinto-Carnide, Olinda

    2014-08-01

    Aluminum (Al) is one of the most abundant metals on earth's crust and Al toxicity represents one of the major factors that limit plant growth and productivity in acid soils (with a pH≤5.0). In this study the mutagenic/genotoxic effects of Al were evaluated in roots and leaves of two Plantago, species, Plantago almogravensis and Plantago lagopus, using ISSRs markers. Both species were exposed to 400 μM Al during 7 and 21 days. Ten ISSR primers produced polymorphic bands. In P. almogravensis, a total of 257 and 258 bands in roots and 255 and 265 bands in leaves were produced in the presence and absence of Al, respectively. In P. lagopus were produced 279 and 278 a total bands in roots and 275 and 274 bands in leaves, under the same conditions. The changes in ISSR profiles after Al treatment were considered as gain and/or loss of bands compared with the controls. The results suggest that changes in genomic template stability (GTS) could be detected with ISSR profiles. This molecular marker proved to be a good tool to detect the effects of Al on DNA profiles. It seems that Al did not interfere significantly with DNA integrity in both species but generated less ISSR stability in P. almogravensis than in P. lagopus. The results confirm the tolerance of P. almogravensis and suggest the same behavior of P. lagopus. Although further studies are required for confirmation the Al tolerance behavior of P. lagopus, a potential application for phytoremediation can be also considered due its wide distribution. PMID:25344171

  20. Elemental characterization of wild edible plants from countryside and urban areas.

    PubMed

    Renna, Massimiliano; Cocozza, Claudio; Gonnella, Maria; Abdelrahman, Hamada; Santamaria, Pietro

    2015-06-15

    Thirteen elements (Na, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, Cr, Co, Cd, Ni and Pb) in 11 different wild edible plants (WEP) (Amaranthus retroflexus, Foeniculum vulgare, Cichorium intybus, Glebionis coronaria, Sonchus spp., Borago officinalis, Diplotaxis tenuifolia, Sinapis arvensis, Papaver rhoeas, Plantago lagopus and Portulaca oleracea) collected from countryside and urban areas of Bari (Italy) were determined. B.officinalis and P.rhoeas could represent good nutritional sources of Mn and Fe, respectively, as well as A.retroflexus and S.arvensis for Ca. High intake of Pb and Cd could come from P.lagopus and A.retroflexus (1.40 and 0.13 mg kg(-1) FW, respectively). WEP may give a substantial contribution to the elements intake for consumers, but in some cases they may supply high level of elements potentially toxic for human health. Anyway, both ANOVA and PCA analyses have highlighted the low influence of the harvesting site on the elements content. PMID:25660854

  1. Fatal pox infection in a rough-legged hawk.

    PubMed

    Pearson, G L; Pass, D A; Beggs, E C

    1975-04-01

    Natural pox infection occurred in a free-living rough-legged hawk (Buteo lagopus) in northeastern North Dakota. Gross, histological and electron microscopic findings were typical of pox infection, and characteristic lesions developed in red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) but not in great horned owls (Bubo virginianus) following inoculation with case material. Death of the rough-legged hawk was attributed to starvation rsulting from inability to capture prey and to blood loss from foot lesions. PMID:167207

  2. New host records for parasitic mites of the family Syringophilidae from accipitriform birds (Aves: Accipitriformes).

    PubMed

    Zmudzinski, Mateusz; Unsoeld, Markus; Knee, Wayne; Skoracki, Maciej

    2015-01-01

    Four accipitriform bird species of the family Accipitridae are reported as new hosts for quill mites (Acari: Cheyletoidea: Syringophilidae): Megasyringophilus aquilus Skoracki, Lontkowski and Stawarczyk, 2010 was collected from Hieraaetus pennatus Gmelin, 1788 in France and Spain, and Buteo jamaicensis Gmelin, 1788 in Canada; Peristerophila accipitridicus Skoracki, Lontkowski and Stawarczyk, 2010 was collected from Circaetus gallicus Gmelin, 1788 in France, and Buteo lagopus Pontoppidan, 1763 in Germany. PMID:26878628

  3. Fatal pox infection in a rough-legged hawk

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pearson, G.L.; Pass, D.A.; Beggs, E.C.

    1975-01-01

    Natural pox infection occurred in a free-living rough-legged hawk (Buteo lagopus) in northeastern North Dakota. Gross, histological and electron microscopic findings were typical of pox infection, and characteristic lesions developed in red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) but not in great horned owls (Bubo virginianus) following inoculation with case material. Death of the rough-legged hawk was attributed to starvation resulting from inability to capture prey and to blood loss from foot lesions.

  4. Adoption in rock and white-tailed ptarmigan

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wong, M.M.L.; Fedy, B.C.; Wilson, S.; Martin, K.M.

    2009-01-01

    Reports of adoption in birds are widespread, but few studies report rates of adoption or possible mechanisms for this phenomenon, particularly in the Order Galliformes. We report incidents of adoption in Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) and White-tailed Ptarmigan (L. leucura) from two sites in western Canada. Adoption rates for White-tailed Ptarmigan on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and the Ruby Ranges, Yukon Territory were 13% (n = 16 broods) and 4% (n = 27), respectively, while rates for Rock Ptarmigan were 14% (n = 29) in the Ruby Ranges. Low brood densities may result in lower rates of adoption for ptarmigan. ?? 2009 The Wilson Ornithological Society.

  5. Introduced predators transform subarctic islands from grassland to tundra

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Croll, D.A.; Maron, J.L.; Estes, J.A.; Danner, E.M.; Byrd, G.V.

    2005-01-01

    Top predators often have powerful direct effects on prey populations, but whether these direct effects propagate to the base of terrestrial food webs is debated. There are few examples of trophic cascades strong enough to alter the abundance and composition of entire plant communities. We show that the introduction of arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) to the Aleutian archipelago induced strong shifts in plant productivity and community structure via a previously unknown pathway. By preying on seabirds, foxes reduced nutrient transport from ocean to land, affecting soil fertility and transforming grasslands to dwarf shrub/forb-dominated ecosystems.

  6. Introduced predators transform subarctic islands from grassland to tundra.

    PubMed

    Croll, D A; Maron, J L; Estes, J A; Danner, E M; Byrd, G V

    2005-03-25

    Top predators often have powerful direct effects on prey populations, but whether these direct effects propagate to the base of terrestrial food webs is debated. There are few examples of trophic cascades strong enough to alter the abundance and composition of entire plant communities. We show that the introduction of arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) to the Aleutian archipelago induced strong shifts in plant productivity and community structure via a previously unknown pathway. By preying on seabirds, foxes reduced nutrient transport from ocean to land, affecting soil fertility and transforming grasslands to dwarf shrub/forb-dominated ecosystems.

  7. Human-behavioral and paleoecological implications of terminal Pleistocene fox remains at the Marmes Site (45FR50), eastern Washington state, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lyman, R. Lee

    2012-05-01

    Examination of terminal Pleistocene-age fox remains from the Marmes archaeological site in southeastern Washington State (USA) reveals that a previous identification of one specimen as arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) was incorrect. Of nearly four-dozen associated specimens, eleven, including the one originally identified as arctic fox, represent red fox (Vulpes vulpes). Cut-marked fox bones and associated stone artifacts and eyed bone needles suggest several foxes were butchered and perhaps hides sewn together. The modern environmental setting of the Marmes site is too warm for modern red fox; the prehistoric red fox remains suggest (summer) climate was cooler when those remains were deposited.

  8. Introduced predator removal from islands. Exxon Valdez oil spill restoration project final report

    SciTech Connect

    Byrd, G.V.; Bailey, E.P.; Stahl, W.

    1996-05-01

    In order to restore black oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani) and pigeon guillemots (Cepphus columba), 2 species injured by the T/V Exxon Valdez oil spill, the introduced predator, artic fox (Alopex lagopus), was removed from 2 islands near the western edge of the trajectory of the oil. Surveys indicated that although adequate nesting habitat was available at Simeonof and Chernabura, oystercatcher and guillemot population densities were much lower than at nearby fox-free islands. Elimination of foxes is expected to dramatically increase populations of these injured species as well as other native birds.

  9. Iridoid patterns of genus Plantago L. and their systematic significance.

    PubMed

    Taskova, Rilka; Evstatieva, Ljubka; Handjieva, Nedjalka; Popov, Simeon

    2002-01-01

    The distribution of 14 iridoid glucosides in 14 Plantago L. species (44 samples corresponding to 18 taxa) was shown. P. tenuiflora and P. gentianoides were studied for iridoids for the first time. The iridoid patterns showed a good correlation with morphological and other chemical features of the representatives of genus Plantago. The studied species are grouped together according to the iridoid patterns: species containing mainly aucubin (P. major, P. cornuti, P. gentianoides); species containing aucubin and aucubin derivatives (P. subulata, P. media); species containing aucubin and catalpol (P. lanceolata, P. altissima, P. argentea, P. lagopus, P. atrata); species containing aucubin and plantarenaloside (P. afra, P. scabra).

  10. From 'third pole' to north pole: a Himalayan origin for the arctic fox.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xiaoming; Tseng, Zhijie Jack; Li, Qiang; Takeuchi, Gary T; Xie, Guangpu

    2014-07-22

    The 'third pole' of the world is a fitting metaphor for the Himalayan-Tibetan Plateau, in allusion to its vast frozen terrain, rivalling the Arctic and Antarctic, at high altitude but low latitude. Living Tibetan and arctic mammals share adaptations to freezing temperatures such as long and thick winter fur in arctic muskox and Tibetan yak, and for carnivorans, a more predatory niche. Here, we report, to our knowledge, the first evolutionary link between an Early Pliocene (3.60-5.08 Myr ago) fox, Vulpes qiuzhudingi new species, from the Himalaya (Zanda Basin) and Kunlun Mountain (Kunlun Pass Basin) and the modern arctic fox Vulpes lagopus in the polar region. A highly hypercarnivorous dentition of the new fox bears a striking resemblance to that of V. lagopus and substantially predates the previous oldest records of the arctic fox by 3-4 Myr. The low latitude, high-altitude Tibetan Plateau is separated from the nearest modern arctic fox geographical range by at least 2000 km. The apparent connection between an ancestral high-elevation species and its modern polar descendant is consistent with our 'Out-of-Tibet' hypothesis postulating that high-altitude Tibet was a training ground for cold-environment adaptations well before the start of the Ice Age.

  11. Gyrfalcon diet in central west Greenland during the nesting period

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Booms, T.L.; Fuller, M.R.

    2003-01-01

    We studied food habits of Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus) nesting in central west Greenland in 2000 and 2001 using three sources of data: time-lapse video (3 nests), prey remains (22 nests), and regurgitated pellets (19 nests). These sources provided different information describing the diet during the nesting period. Gyrfalcons relied heavily on Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) and arctic hares (Lepus arcticus). Combined, these species contributed 79-91% of the total diet, depending on the data used. Passerines were the third most important group. Prey less common in the diet included waterfowl, arctic fox pups (Alopex lagopus), shorebirds, gulls, alcids, and falcons. All Rock Ptarmigan were adults, and all but one arctic hare were young of the year. Most passerines were fledglings. We observed two diet shifts, first from a preponderance of ptarmigan to hares in mid-June, and second to passerines in late June. The video-monitored Gyrfalcons consumed 94-110 kg of food per nest during the nestling period, higher than previously estimated. Using a combination of video, prey remains, and pellets was important to accurately document Gyrfalcon diet, and we strongly recommend using time-lapse video in future diet studies to identify biases in prey remains and pellet data.

  12. Gyrfalcon diet in central west Greenland during the nestling period

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Booms, Travis; Fuller, Mark R.

    2003-01-01

    We studied food habits of Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus) nesting in central west Greenland in 2000 and 2001 using three sources of data: time-lapse video (3 nests), prey remains (22 nests), and regurgitated pellets (19 nests). These sources provided different information describing the diet during the nesting period. Gyrfalcons relied heavily on Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) and arctic hares (Lepus arcticus). Combined, these species contributed 79-91% of the total diet, depending on the data used. Passerines were the third most important group. Prey less common in the diet included waterfowl, arctic fox pups (Alopex lagopus), shorebirds, gulls, alcids, and falcons. All Rock Ptarmigan were adults, and all but one arctic hare were young of the year. Most passerines were fledglings. We observed two diet shifts, first from a preponderance of ptarmigan to hares in mid-June, and second to passerines in late June. The video-monitored Gyrfalcons consumed 94-110 kg of food per nest during the nestling period, higher than previously estimated. Using a combination of video, prey remains, and pellets was important to accurately document Gyrfalcon diet, and we strongly recommend using time-lapse video in future diet studies to identify biases in prey remains and pellet data.

  13. From ‘third pole’ to north pole: a Himalayan origin for the arctic fox

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Xiaoming; Tseng, Zhijie Jack; Li, Qiang; Takeuchi, Gary T.; Xie, Guangpu

    2014-01-01

    The ‘third pole’ of the world is a fitting metaphor for the Himalayan–Tibetan Plateau, in allusion to its vast frozen terrain, rivalling the Arctic and Antarctic, at high altitude but low latitude. Living Tibetan and arctic mammals share adaptations to freezing temperatures such as long and thick winter fur in arctic muskox and Tibetan yak, and for carnivorans, a more predatory niche. Here, we report, to our knowledge, the first evolutionary link between an Early Pliocene (3.60–5.08 Myr ago) fox, Vulpes qiuzhudingi new species, from the Himalaya (Zanda Basin) and Kunlun Mountain (Kunlun Pass Basin) and the modern arctic fox Vulpes lagopus in the polar region. A highly hypercarnivorous dentition of the new fox bears a striking resemblance to that of V. lagopus and substantially predates the previous oldest records of the arctic fox by 3–4 Myr. The low latitude, high-altitude Tibetan Plateau is separated from the nearest modern arctic fox geographical range by at least 2000 km. The apparent connection between an ancestral high-elevation species and its modern polar descendant is consistent with our ‘Out-of-Tibet’ hypothesis postulating that high-altitude Tibet was a training ground for cold-environment adaptations well before the start of the Ice Age. PMID:24920475

  14. Sarcocystis sp. from white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons): cyst morphology and life cycle studies.

    PubMed

    Kutkiene, L; Sruoga, A; Butkauskas, D

    2006-10-01

    An experiment was carried out using three cubs of the arctic fox (Alopex lagopus). Twenty-five-day-old cubs were infected by feeding them with the leg muscles of the white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons) containing Sarcocystis sp. (cyst type III) cysts. Under the light microscope, the cysts were ribbon-shaped up to 4 mm long and up to 750 microm wide. On the surface of the wall (up to 2.4 microm), they had teat- or finger-like villar protrusions. Ultrastructurally, the cyst wall was a type-9 with villar protrusions (up to 2.3 microm long) different in size. The 11.4x1.7 (10.0-13.5x1.5-2.5)microm cystozoites were almost straight and shuttle-shaped. The fox cubs started shedding typical 12.0x8.0 (10.0-12.8x6.8-8.6)microm Sarcocystis sp. sporocysts on the 13th-14th days post-infection. The patent period lasted 19 days. The conclusion drawn was that the arctic fox (A. lagopus) can be one of the definitive hosts of Sarcocystis sp. (cyst type III) from the white-fronted goose. PMID:16649036

  15. Use of large-scale, multi-species surveys to monitor gyrfalcon and ptarmigan populations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bart, Jonathan; Fuller, Mark; Smith, Paul; Dunn, Leah; Watson, Richard T.; Cade, Tom J.; Fuller, Mark; Hunt, Grainger; Potapov, Eugene

    2011-01-01

    We evaluated the ability of three large-scale, multi-species surveys in the Arctic to provide information on abundance and habitat relationships of Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus) and ptarmigan. The Program for Regional and International Shorebird Monitoring (PRISM) has surveyed birds widely across the arctic regions of Canada and Alaska since 2001. The Arctic Coastal Plain survey has collected abundance information on the North Slope of Alaska using fixed-wing aircraft since 1992. The Northwest Territories-Nunavut Bird Checklist has collected presenceabsence information from little-known locations in northern Canada since 1995. All three surveys provide extensive information on Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) and Rock Ptarmigan (L. muta). For example, they show that ptarmigan are most abundant in western Alaska, next most abundant in northern Alaska and northwest Canada, and least abundant in the Canadian Archipelago. PRISM surveys were less successful in detecting Gyrfalcons, and the Arctic Coastal Plain Survey is largely outside the Gyrfalcon?s breeding range. The Checklist Survey, however, reflects the expansive Gyrfalcon range in Canada. We suggest that collaboration by Gyrfalcon and ptarmigan biologists with the organizers of large scale surveys like the ones we investigated provides an opportunity for obtaining useful information on these species and their environment across large areas.

  16. From 'third pole' to north pole: a Himalayan origin for the arctic fox.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xiaoming; Tseng, Zhijie Jack; Li, Qiang; Takeuchi, Gary T; Xie, Guangpu

    2014-07-22

    The 'third pole' of the world is a fitting metaphor for the Himalayan-Tibetan Plateau, in allusion to its vast frozen terrain, rivalling the Arctic and Antarctic, at high altitude but low latitude. Living Tibetan and arctic mammals share adaptations to freezing temperatures such as long and thick winter fur in arctic muskox and Tibetan yak, and for carnivorans, a more predatory niche. Here, we report, to our knowledge, the first evolutionary link between an Early Pliocene (3.60-5.08 Myr ago) fox, Vulpes qiuzhudingi new species, from the Himalaya (Zanda Basin) and Kunlun Mountain (Kunlun Pass Basin) and the modern arctic fox Vulpes lagopus in the polar region. A highly hypercarnivorous dentition of the new fox bears a striking resemblance to that of V. lagopus and substantially predates the previous oldest records of the arctic fox by 3-4 Myr. The low latitude, high-altitude Tibetan Plateau is separated from the nearest modern arctic fox geographical range by at least 2000 km. The apparent connection between an ancestral high-elevation species and its modern polar descendant is consistent with our 'Out-of-Tibet' hypothesis postulating that high-altitude Tibet was a training ground for cold-environment adaptations well before the start of the Ice Age. PMID:24920475

  17. Reproductive characteristics of migratory golden eagles in Denali National Park, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McIntyre, C.L.; Adams, L.G.

    1999-01-01

    We describe reproductive characteristics of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) breeding in Denali National Park, Alaska during an entire snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) cycle, 1988-1997. Data on nesting eagles were collected at 58 to 72 nesting areas annually using two aerial surveys. Surveys were conducted during the incubation period to determine occupancy and nesting activities and late in the nestling period to count nestlings and determine nesting success. Annual occupancy rates of nesting areas did not vary significantly, whereas laying rates, success rates, and mean brood size varied significantly over the study period. Fledgling production for the study population varied sevenfold during the ten-year period. Laying rates, mean brood size, and overall population productivity were significantly correlated with abundance of cyclic snowshoe hare and Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) populations. Reproductive rates of Golden Eagles in Denali were similar to those of Golden Eagles from other high latitude study areas in North America, but lower than for Golden Eagles from temperate zone study areas in North America.

  18. Cospeciation and Horizontal Transmission of Avian Sarcoma and Leukosis Virus gag Genes in Galliform Birds

    PubMed Central

    Dimcheff, Derek E.; Drovetski, Sergei V.; Krishnan, Mallika; Mindell, David P.

    2000-01-01

    In a study of the evolution and distribution of avian retroviruses, we found avian sarcoma and leukosis virus (ASLV) gag genes in 26 species of galliform birds from North America, Central America, eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa. Nineteen of the 26 host species from whom ASLVs were sequenced were not previously known to contain ASLVs. We assessed congruence between ASLV phylogenies based on a total of 110 gag gene sequences and ASLV-host phylogenies based on mitochondrial 12S ribosomal DNA and ND2 sequences to infer coevolutionary history for ASLVs and their hosts. Widespread distribution of ASLVs among diverse, endemic galliform host species suggests an ancient association. Congruent ASLV and host phylogenies for two species of Perdix, two species of Gallus, and Lagopus lagopus and L. mutus also indicate an old association with vertical transmission and cospeciation for these ASLVs and hosts. An inference of horizontal transmission of ASLVs among some members of the Tetraoninae subfamily (grouse and ptarmigan) is supported by ASLV monophyletic groups reflecting geographic distribution and proximity of hosts rather than host species phylogeny. We provide a preliminary phylogenetic taxonomy for the new ASLVs, in which named taxa denote monophyletic groups. PMID:10756010

  19. Understanding sex differences in the cost of terrestrial locomotion

    PubMed Central

    Lees, John J.; Nudds, Robert L.; Folkow, Lars P.; Stokkan, Karl-Arne; Codd, Jonathan R.

    2012-01-01

    Little is known regarding the physiological consequences of the behavioural and morphological differences that result from sexual selection in birds. Male and female Svalbard rock ptarmigans (Lagopus muta hyperborea) exhibit distinctive behavioural differences during the breeding season. In particular, males continuously compete for and defend territories in order to breed successfully, placing large demands on their locomotor system. Here, we demonstrate that male birds have improved locomotor performance compared with females, showing both a lower cost of locomotion (CoL) and a higher top speed. We propose that the observed sex differences in locomotor capability may be due to sexual selection for improved male performance. While the mechanisms underlying these energetic differences are unclear, future studies should be wary when pooling male and female data. PMID:21849317

  20. Capturing migration phenology of terrestrial wildlife using camera traps

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tape, Ken D.; Gustine, David D.

    2014-01-01

    Remote photography, using camera traps, can be an effective and noninvasive tool for capturing the migration phenology of terrestrial wildlife. We deployed 14 digital cameras along a 104-kilometer longitudinal transect to record the spring migrations of caribou (Rangifer tarandus) and ptarmigan (Lagopus spp.) in the Alaskan Arctic. The cameras recorded images at 15-minute intervals, producing approximately 40,000 images, including 6685 caribou observations and 5329 ptarmigan observations. The northward caribou migration was evident because the median caribou observation (i.e., herd median) occurred later with increasing latitude; average caribou migration speed also increased with latitude (r2 = .91). Except at the northernmost latitude, a northward ptarmigan migration was similarly evident (r2 = .93). Future applications of this method could be used to examine the conditions proximate to animal movement, such as habitat or snow cover, that may influence migration phenology.

  1. Cadmium toxicity among wildlife in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

    PubMed

    Larison, J R; Likens, G E; Fitzpatrick, J W; Crock, J G

    2000-07-13

    Cadmium is known to be both extremely toxic and ubiquitous in natural environments. It occurs in almost all soils, surface waters and plants, and it is readily mobilized by human activities such as mining. As a result, cadmium has been named as a potential health threat to wildlife species; however, because it exists most commonly in the environment as a trace constituent, reported incidences of cadmium toxicity are rare. Here we have measured trace metals in the food web and tissues of white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucurus) in Colorado. Our results suggest that cadmium toxicity may be more common among natural populations of vertebrates than has been appreciated to date and that cadmium toxicity may often go undetected or unrecognized. In addition, our research shows that ingestion of even trace quantities of cadmium can influence not only the physiology and health of individual organisms, but also the demographics and the distribution of species. PMID:10910356

  2. Sea ice occurrence predicts genetic isolation in the Arctic fox.

    PubMed

    Geffen, Eli; Waidyaratne, Sitara; Dalén, Love; Angerbjörn, Anders; Vila, Carles; Hersteinsson, Pall; Fuglei, Eva; White, Paula A; Goltsman, Michael; Kapel, Christian M O; Wayne, Robert K

    2007-10-01

    Unlike Oceanic islands, the islands of the Arctic Sea are not completely isolated from migration by terrestrial vertebrates. The pack ice connects many Arctic Sea islands to the mainland during winter months. The Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), which has a circumpolar distribution, populates numerous islands in the Arctic Sea. In this study, we used genetic data from 20 different populations, spanning the entire distribution of the Arctic fox, to identify barriers to dispersal. Specifically, we considered geographical distance, occurrence of sea ice, winter temperature, ecotype, and the presence of red fox and polar bear as nonexclusive factors that influence the dispersal behaviour of individuals. Using distance-based redundancy analysis and the BIOENV procedure, we showed that occurrence of sea ice is the key predictor and explained 40-60% of the genetic distance among populations. In addition, our analysis identified the Commander and Pribilof Islands Arctic populations as genetically unique suggesting they deserve special attention from a conservation perspective.

  3. Prevalence of Rabies Virus in Foxes Trapped in the Canadian Arctic

    PubMed Central

    Secord, D. C.; Bradley, J. A.; Eaton, R. D.; Mitchell, D.

    1980-01-01

    Brains and salivary glands of 521 trapped arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) submitted from four different settlement areas in the Northwest Territories were examined for rabies by the standard fluorescent antibody and mouse inoculation tests. Rabies antigen was present in 44 of 201 (21.9%) brains from foxes trapped in the Sachs Harbour area, but submissions from Cambridge Bay (127), Spence Bay (93) and Gjoa Haven (100) were negative. Virus was also present in salivary glands from 43 (97.7%) of these 44 positive foxes. The arctic fox continues to be the main wildlife reservoir of rabies in the Canadian Arctic and foxes in the prodromal stage of the disease pose a particular threat to the trapper. Preexposure vaccination should always be a consideration in this occupational group. PMID:7459793

  4. Kleptoparasitism by bald eagles wintering in south-central Nebraska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jorde, D.G.; Lingle, G.R.

    1988-01-01

    Kleptoparasitism on other raptors was one means by which Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) secured food along the North Platte and Platte rivers during the winters of 1978-1980. Species kelptoparasitized were Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis), Red-tailed Hawk (B. jamaicensis), Rough-legged Hawk (B. lagopus), Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), and Bald Eagle. Stealing of prey occurred more often during the severe winter of 1978-1979 when ice cover restricted eagles from feeding on fish than during the milder winter of 1979-1980. Kleptoparasitism occurred principally in agricultural habitats where large numbers of Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) were foraging. Subadults watched adults steal food and participated in food-stealing with adults, which indicated interspecific kleptoparasitism may be a learned behavior. We suggest factors that may favor interspecific kleptoparasitism as a foraging strategy of Bald Eagles in obtaining waterfowl during severe winters.

  5. Pathogenesis of blue fox parvovirus on blue fox kits and pregnant vixens.

    PubMed

    Veijalainen, P M; Smeds, E

    1988-11-01

    To study the pathogenicity of a newly isolated parvovirus of blue fox (Alopex lagopus), pregnant vixens and 43 kits of different ages were experimentally infected with the agent. The kits had no clinical signs of disease, even though most of them excreted virus in their feces, and they responded immunologically to viral exposure. Infection during pregnancy appeared to affect the fetuses. A group of 15 blue fox vixens inoculated with the virus produced a statistically smaller number of kits (78) than did 15 untreated controls (131). Vaccination with a homologous inactivated virus preparation appeared to afford protection against reproductive losses. After infection, 15 vaccinated vixens gave birth to 97 kits, compared with 54 kits born to a similar, non-vaccinated experimental group.

  6. Pronounced variation in tarsal and foot feathering in the upland buzzard (Buteo hemilasius) in Mongolia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ellis, D.H.; Woffinden, N.; Whitlock, P.L.; Tsengeg, P.

    1999-01-01

    During 1994, 1995, 1997, and 1998 expeditions across Mongolia, we located over 250 upland buzzard (Buteo hemilasius) nests. At these, we noted considerable morphological variation in plumage coloration and in leg pterylosis. In 1997 and 1998, we examined 131 nests scattered across eastern and central Mongolia and report here the tarsal condition of 119 nestlings from 59 broods where young were at least 2 weeks of age. Of 119 birds carefully examined, 50 (42%) had less than fully feathered tarsi and 4 of the 69 with fully feathered tarsi had scattered feathers on their toes. Thus, 54 of 119 birds (45%) in some way deviated from the feathered tarsibare toes condition. This extraordinary degree of variability in feather patterns may be best explained as the result of extensive and relatively recent hybridization between the longlegged (Buteo rufinus) and roughlegged (B. lagopus) buzzards and/or between long-legged and upland buzzards.

  7. Sea ice occurrence predicts genetic isolation in the Arctic fox.

    PubMed

    Geffen, Eli; Waidyaratne, Sitara; Dalén, Love; Angerbjörn, Anders; Vila, Carles; Hersteinsson, Pall; Fuglei, Eva; White, Paula A; Goltsman, Michael; Kapel, Christian M O; Wayne, Robert K

    2007-10-01

    Unlike Oceanic islands, the islands of the Arctic Sea are not completely isolated from migration by terrestrial vertebrates. The pack ice connects many Arctic Sea islands to the mainland during winter months. The Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), which has a circumpolar distribution, populates numerous islands in the Arctic Sea. In this study, we used genetic data from 20 different populations, spanning the entire distribution of the Arctic fox, to identify barriers to dispersal. Specifically, we considered geographical distance, occurrence of sea ice, winter temperature, ecotype, and the presence of red fox and polar bear as nonexclusive factors that influence the dispersal behaviour of individuals. Using distance-based redundancy analysis and the BIOENV procedure, we showed that occurrence of sea ice is the key predictor and explained 40-60% of the genetic distance among populations. In addition, our analysis identified the Commander and Pribilof Islands Arctic populations as genetically unique suggesting they deserve special attention from a conservation perspective. PMID:17868292

  8. Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection diagnosed by PCR in farmed red foxes, arctic foxes and raccoon dogs.

    PubMed

    Górecki, Marcin Tadeusz; Galbas, Mariola; Szwed, Katarzyna; Przysiecki, Piotr; Dullin, Piotr; Nowicki, Sławomir

    2012-01-01

    The aim of this study was to compare Toxoplasma gondii infection in three canid species: red fox Vulpes vulpes, arctic fox Vulpes lagopus and raccoon dog Nyctereutesprocyonoides kept at the same farm. Anal swabs were taken from 24 adult and 10 juvenile red foxes, 12 adult arctic foxes, three adult and seven juvenile raccoon dogs. Additionally, muscle samples were taken from 10 juvenile red foxes. PCR was used to detect T. gondii DNA. T. gondii infection was not detected in any of the arctic foxes; 60% ofraccoon dogs were infected; the prevalence of the parasite in material from red fox swabs was intermediate between the prevalence observed in arctic foxes and raccoon dogs. It is possible that susceptibility and immune response to the parasite differ between the three investigated canid species. T. gondii DNA was detected in muscle tissue of five young foxes. The results of this study suggest that T. gondii infection is not rare in farmed canids.

  9. Cadmium toxicity among wildlife in the Colorado Rocky Mountains

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Larison, J.R.; Likens, G.E.; Fitzpatrick, J.W.; Crock, J.G.

    2000-01-01

    Cadmium is known to be both extremely toxic and ubiquitous in natural environments. It occurs in almost all soils, surface waters and plants, and it is readily mobilized by human activities such as mining. As a result, cadmium has been named as a potential health threat to wildlife species; however, because it exists most commonly in the environment as a trace constituent, reported incidences of cadmium toxicity are rare. Here we have measured trace metals in the food web and tissues of white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucurus) in Colorado. Our results suggest that cadmium toxicity may be more common among natural populations of vertebrates than has been appreciated to date and that cadmium toxicity may often go undetected or unrecognized. In addition, our research shows that ingestion of even trace quantities of cadmium can influence not only the physiology and health of individual organisms, but also the demographics and the distribution of species.

  10. Herbivores Influence the Growth, Reproduction, and Morphology of a Widespread Arctic Willow

    PubMed Central

    Christie, Katie S.; Ruess, Roger W.; Lindberg, Mark S.; Mulder, Christa P.

    2014-01-01

    Shrubs have expanded in Arctic ecosystems over the past century, resulting in significant changes to albedo, ecosystem function, and plant community composition. Willow and rock ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus, L. muta) and moose (Alces alces) extensively browse Arctic shrubs, and may influence their architecture, growth, and reproduction. Furthermore, these herbivores may alter forage plants in such a way as to increase the quantity and accessibility of their own food source. We estimated the effect of winter browsing by ptarmigan and moose on an abundant, early-successional willow (Salix alaxensis) in northern Alaska by comparing browsed to unbrowsed branches. Ptarmigan browsed 82–89% of willows and removed 30–39% of buds, depending on study area and year. Moose browsed 17–44% of willows and browsed 39–55% of shoots. Browsing inhibited apical dominance and activated axillary and adventitious buds to produce new vegetative shoots. Ptarmigan- and moose-browsed willow branches produced twice the volume of shoot growth but significantly fewer catkins the following summer compared with unbrowsed willow branches. Shoots on browsed willows were larger and produced 40–60% more buds compared to unbrowsed shoots. This process of shoot production at basal parts of the branch is the mechanism by which willows develop a highly complex “broomed” architecture after several years of browsing. Broomed willows were shorter and more likely to be re-browsed by ptarmigan, but not moose. Ptarmigan likely benefit from the greater quantity and accessibility of buds on previously browsed willows and may increase the carrying capacity of their own habitat. Despite the observed tolerance of willows to browsing, their vertical growth and reproduction were strongly inhibited by moose and ptarmigan. Browsing by these herbivores therefore needs to be considered in future models of shrub expansion in the Arctic. PMID:25047582

  11. Occurrence of Mesocestoides canislagopodis (Rudolphi, 1810) (Krabbe, 1865) in mammals and birds in Iceland and its molecular discrimination within the Mesocestoides species complex.

    PubMed

    Skirnisson, Karl; Jouet, Damien; Ferté, Hubert; Nielsen, Ólafur K

    2016-07-01

    The life cycle of Mesocestoides tapeworms (Cestoda: Cyclophyllidea: Mesocestoididae) requires three hosts. The first intermediate host is unknown but believed to be an arthropod. The second intermediate host is a vertebrate. The primary definitive host is a carnivore mammal, or a bird of prey, that eats the tetrathyridium-infected second intermediate host. One representative of the genus, Mesocestoides canislagopodis, has been reported from Iceland. It is common in the arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) and has also been detected in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) and cats (Felis domestica). Recently, scolices of a non-maturing Mesocestoides sp. have also been detected in gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) intestines, and tetrathyridia in the body cavity of rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta). We examined the taxonomic relationship of Mesocestoides from arctic fox, gyrfalcon, and rock ptarmigan using molecular methods, both at the generic level (D1 domain LSU ribosomal DNA) and at the specific level (cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) and 12S mitochondrial DNA). All stages belonged to Mesocestoides canislagopodis. Phylogenetic analysis of the combined 12S-COI at the specific level confirmed that M. canislagopodis forms a distinct clade, well separated from three other recognized representatives of the genus, M. litteratus, M. lineatus, and M. corti/vogae. This is the first molecular description of this species. The rock ptarmigan is a new second intermediate host record, and the gyrfalcon a new primary definitive host record. However, the adult stage seemed not to be able to mature in the gyrfalcon, and successful development is probably restricted to mammalian hosts. PMID:26984208

  12. Distribution of Ground-Nesting Marine Birds Along Shorelines in Glacier Bay, Southeastern Alaska: An Assessment Related to Potential Disturbance by Back-Country Users

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Arimitsu, M.L.; Piatt, J.F.; Romano, Marc D.

    2007-01-01

    With the exception of a few large colonies, the distribution of ground-nesting marine birds in Glacier Bay National Park in southeastern Alaska is largely unknown. As visitor use increases in back-country areas of the park, there is growing concern over the potential impact of human activities on breeding birds. During the 2003i??05 breeding seasons, the shoreline of Glacier Bay was surveyed to locate ground-nesting marine birds and their nesting areas, including wildlife closures and historical sites for egg collection by Alaska Native peoples. The nesting distribution of four common ground-nesting marine bird species was determined: Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea), Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani), Mew Gull (Larus canus), and Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens). Observations of less abundant species also were recorded, including Herring Gull (Larus argentatus), Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata), Canada Goose (Branta canadensis), Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus), Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus), Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia), Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla), Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus), and Aleutian Tern (Sterna aleutica). Nesting distribution for Arctic Terns was largely restricted to the upper arms of the bay and a few treeless islets in the lower bay, whereas Black Oystercatchers were more widely distributed along shorelines in the park. Mew Gulls nested throughout the upper bay in Geikie Inlet and in Fingers and Berg Bays, and most Glaucous-winged Gull nests were found at wildlife closures in the central and lower bays. Several areas were identified where human disturbance could affect breeding birds. This study comprises the first bay-wide survey for the breeding distribution of ground-nesting marine birds in Glacier Bay National Park, providing a minimum estimate of their numbers and distribution within the park. This information can be used to assess future human disturbance and track natural

  13. Vegetation management with fire modifies peatland soil thermal regime.

    PubMed

    Brown, Lee E; Palmer, Sheila M; Johnston, Kerrylyn; Holden, Joseph

    2015-05-01

    Vegetation removal with fire can alter the thermal regime of the land surface, leading to significant changes in biogeochemistry (e.g. carbon cycling) and soil hydrology. In the UK, large expanses of carbon-rich upland environments are managed to encourage increased abundance of red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica) by rotational burning of shrub vegetation. To date, though, there has not been any consideration of whether prescribed vegetation burning on peatlands modifies the thermal regime of the soil mass in the years after fire. In this study thermal regime was monitored across 12 burned peatland soil plots over an 18-month period, with the aim of (i) quantifying thermal dynamics between burned plots of different ages (from <2 to 15 + years post burning), and (ii) developing statistical models to determine the magnitude of thermal change caused by vegetation management. Compared to plots burned 15 + years previously, plots recently burned (<2-4 years) showed higher mean, maximum and range of soil temperatures, and lower minima. Statistical models (generalised least square regression) were developed to predict daily mean and maximum soil temperature in plots burned 15 + years prior to the study. These models were then applied to predict temperatures of plots burned 2, 4 and 7 years previously, with significant deviations from predicted temperatures illustrating the magnitude of burn management effects. Temperatures measured in soil plots burned <2 years previously showed significant statistical disturbances from model predictions, reaching +6.2 °C for daily mean temperatures and +19.6 °C for daily maxima. Soil temperatures in plots burnt 7 years previously were most similar to plots burned 15 + years ago indicating the potential for soil temperatures to recover as vegetation regrows. Our findings that prescribed peatland vegetation burning alters soil thermal regime should provide an impetus for further research to understand the consequences of thermal regime

  14. Genome-wide association and genome partitioning reveal novel genomic regions underlying variation in gastrointestinal nematode burden in a wild bird.

    PubMed

    Wenzel, Marius A; James, Marianne C; Douglas, Alex; Piertney, Stuart B

    2015-08-01

    Identifying the genetic architecture underlying complex phenotypes is a notoriously difficult problem that often impedes progress in understanding adaptive eco-evolutionary processes in natural populations. Host-parasite interactions are fundamentally important drivers of evolutionary processes, but a lack of understanding of the genes involved in the host's response to chronic parasite insult makes it particularly difficult to understand the mechanisms of host life history trade-offs and the adaptive dynamics involved. Here, we examine the genetic basis of gastrointestinal nematode (Trichostrongylus tenuis) burden in 695 red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica) individuals genotyped at 384 genome-wide SNPs. We first use genome-wide association to identify individual SNPs associated with nematode burden. We then partition genome-wide heritability to identify chromosomes with greater heritability than expected from gene content, due to harbouring a multitude of additive SNPs with individually undetectable effects. We identified five SNPs on five chromosomes that accounted for differences of up to 556 worms per bird, but together explained at best 4.9% of the phenotypic variance. These SNPs were closely linked to genes representing a range of physiological processes including the immune system, protein degradation and energy metabolism. Genome partitioning indicated genome-wide heritability of up to 29% and three chromosomes with excess heritability of up to 4.3% (total 8.9%). These results implicate SNPs and novel genomic regions underlying nematode burden in this system and suggest that this phenotype is somewhere between being based on few large-effect genes (oligogenic) and based on a large number of genes with small individual but large combined effects (polygenic). PMID:26179597

  15. Inferring the nature of anthropogenic threats from long-term abundance records.

    PubMed

    Shoemaker, Kevin T; Akçakaya, H Resit

    2015-02-01

    Diagnosing the processes that threaten species persistence is critical for recovery planning and risk forecasting. Dominant threats are typically inferred by experts on the basis of a patchwork of informal methods. Transparent, quantitative diagnostic tools would contribute much-needed consistency, objectivity, and rigor to the process of diagnosing anthropogenic threats. Long-term census records, available for an increasingly large and diverse set of taxa, may exhibit characteristic signatures of specific threatening processes and thereby provide information for threat diagnosis. We developed a flexible Bayesian framework for diagnosing threats on the basis of long-term census records and diverse ancillary sources of information. We tested this framework with simulated data from artificial populations subjected to varying degrees of exploitation and habitat loss and several real-world abundance time series for which threatening processes are relatively well understood: bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) and Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) (exploitation) and Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica) and Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis) (habitat loss). Our method correctly identified the process driving population decline for over 90% of time series simulated under moderate to severe threat scenarios. Successful identification of threats approached 100% for severe exploitation and habitat loss scenarios. Our method identified threats less successfully when threatening processes were weak and when populations were simultaneously affected by multiple threats. Our method selected the presumed true threat model for all real-world case studies, although results were somewhat ambiguous in the case of the Eurasian Skylark. In the latter case, incorporation of an ancillary source of information (records of land-use change) increased the weight assigned to the presumed true model from 70% to 92%, illustrating the value of the proposed framework in bringing diverse sources of

  16. Inferring the nature of anthropogenic threats from long-term abundance records.

    PubMed

    Shoemaker, Kevin T; Akçakaya, H Resit

    2015-02-01

    Diagnosing the processes that threaten species persistence is critical for recovery planning and risk forecasting. Dominant threats are typically inferred by experts on the basis of a patchwork of informal methods. Transparent, quantitative diagnostic tools would contribute much-needed consistency, objectivity, and rigor to the process of diagnosing anthropogenic threats. Long-term census records, available for an increasingly large and diverse set of taxa, may exhibit characteristic signatures of specific threatening processes and thereby provide information for threat diagnosis. We developed a flexible Bayesian framework for diagnosing threats on the basis of long-term census records and diverse ancillary sources of information. We tested this framework with simulated data from artificial populations subjected to varying degrees of exploitation and habitat loss and several real-world abundance time series for which threatening processes are relatively well understood: bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) and Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) (exploitation) and Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica) and Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis) (habitat loss). Our method correctly identified the process driving population decline for over 90% of time series simulated under moderate to severe threat scenarios. Successful identification of threats approached 100% for severe exploitation and habitat loss scenarios. Our method identified threats less successfully when threatening processes were weak and when populations were simultaneously affected by multiple threats. Our method selected the presumed true threat model for all real-world case studies, although results were somewhat ambiguous in the case of the Eurasian Skylark. In the latter case, incorporation of an ancillary source of information (records of land-use change) increased the weight assigned to the presumed true model from 70% to 92%, illustrating the value of the proposed framework in bringing diverse sources of

  17. Occurrence of Mesocestoides canislagopodis (Rudolphi, 1810) (Krabbe, 1865) in mammals and birds in Iceland and its molecular discrimination within the Mesocestoides species complex.

    PubMed

    Skirnisson, Karl; Jouet, Damien; Ferté, Hubert; Nielsen, Ólafur K

    2016-07-01

    The life cycle of Mesocestoides tapeworms (Cestoda: Cyclophyllidea: Mesocestoididae) requires three hosts. The first intermediate host is unknown but believed to be an arthropod. The second intermediate host is a vertebrate. The primary definitive host is a carnivore mammal, or a bird of prey, that eats the tetrathyridium-infected second intermediate host. One representative of the genus, Mesocestoides canislagopodis, has been reported from Iceland. It is common in the arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) and has also been detected in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) and cats (Felis domestica). Recently, scolices of a non-maturing Mesocestoides sp. have also been detected in gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) intestines, and tetrathyridia in the body cavity of rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta). We examined the taxonomic relationship of Mesocestoides from arctic fox, gyrfalcon, and rock ptarmigan using molecular methods, both at the generic level (D1 domain LSU ribosomal DNA) and at the specific level (cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) and 12S mitochondrial DNA). All stages belonged to Mesocestoides canislagopodis. Phylogenetic analysis of the combined 12S-COI at the specific level confirmed that M. canislagopodis forms a distinct clade, well separated from three other recognized representatives of the genus, M. litteratus, M. lineatus, and M. corti/vogae. This is the first molecular description of this species. The rock ptarmigan is a new second intermediate host record, and the gyrfalcon a new primary definitive host record. However, the adult stage seemed not to be able to mature in the gyrfalcon, and successful development is probably restricted to mammalian hosts.

  18. Enhancement of local species richness in tundra by seed dispersal through guts of muskox and barnacle goose.

    PubMed

    Bruun, Hans Henrik; Lundgren, Rebekka; Philipp, Marianne

    2008-02-01

    The potential contribution of vertebrate-mediated seed rain to the maintenance of plant community richness in a High Arctic ecosystem was investigated. We analyzed viable seed content in dung of the four numerically most important terrestrial vertebrates in Northeast Greenland - muskox (Ovibos moschatus), barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis), Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) and Arctic hare (Lepus arcticus). High numbers of plant propagules were found in the dung of muskox and barnacle goose. Seeds of many plant species were found in the faeces of one vertebrate species only. Propagule composition in barnacle goose droppings was relatively uniform over samples, with a high abundance of the nutritious bulbils of Polygonum viviparum (Bistorta vivipara), suggesting that geese have a narrow habitat preference and feed selectively. Propagule composition in muskox dung was diverse and heterogeneous among samples, suggesting a generalist approach in terms of food selection and the haphazard ingestion of plant propagules with foliage. The species composition of plant propagules in dung samples was different from that of the receiving plant communities (in terms of the Sørensen and Czekanowski dissimilarity indices), and dung deposition, especially by muskox, often brought new species to the receiving community. The results suggest that endozoochorous propagule dispersal in the Arctic has a great potential in the generation and maintenance of local species richness, albeit being little specialized. It is further suggested that endozoochory is an important means of long-distance dispersal and, thereby, of plant migration in response to climate change.

  19. Unexpected diversity of the cestode Echinococcus multilocularis in wildlife in Canada

    PubMed Central

    Gesy, Karen M.; Schurer, Janna M.; Massolo, Alessandro; Liccioli, Stefano; Elkin, Brett T.; Alisauskas, Ray; Jenkins, Emily J.

    2014-01-01

    Echinococcus multilocularis is a zoonotic cestode with a distribution encompassing the northern hemisphere that causes alveolar hydatid disease in people and other aberrant hosts. E.multilocularis is not genetically uniform across its distribution, which may have implications for zoonotic transmission and pathogenicity. Recent findings of a European-type haplotype of E. multilocularis in wildlife in one location in western Canada motivated a broader survey of the diversity of this parasite in wildlife from northern and western Canada. We obtained intact adult cestodes of E. multilocularis from the intestines of 41 wild canids (wolf – Canis lupus, coyote – Canis latrans, and red fox – Vulpes vulpes), taeniid eggs from 28 fecal samples from Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), and alveolar hydatid cysts from 39 potential rodent intermediate hosts. Upon sequencing a 370-nucelotide region of the NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 (nad1) mitochondrial locus, 17 new haplotypes were identified. This constitutes a much higher diversity than expected, as only two genotypes (European and an Asian/North American) had previously been identified using this locus. The European-type strain, recently introduced, may be widespread in wildlife within western Canada, possibly related to the large home ranges and wide dispersal range of wild canids. This study increased understanding of the biogeographic distribution, prevalence and genetic differences of a globally important pathogenic cestode in northern and western Canada. PMID:25161905

  20. PCB and organochlorine pesticides in northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) from a High Arctic colony: chemical exposure, fate, and transfer to predators.

    PubMed

    Foster, Karen L; Mallory, Mark L; Hill, Laura; Blais, Jules M

    2011-09-01

    Organochlorine contaminant concentrations, associated fugacities, and stable isotopes of nitrogen (δ(15) N) are reported for liver, whole body homogenate, and opportunistically collected samples of prey (amphipods), stomach oils, digestive tract contents, and guano for northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) collected at Cape Vera, Devon Island in the Canadian High Arctic. Liver concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (ΣPCB) and ΣDDT were on average 49.9 ± 35.4 ng g(-1) and 29.9 ± 25.2 ng g(-1) wet weight, respectively. Whole body homogenate concentrations of ΣPCB and ΣDDT were 637 ± 293 ng g(-1) and 365 ± 212 ng g(-1) wet weight, respectively. A mass and energy balance showed that whole body contaminant concentrations, which are seldom reported for Arctic seabirds, are critical in determining contaminant exposure and associated risk to predators such as the Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus). Biomagnification in the fulmars is evident, because concentrations and fugacities of contaminants were generally one to three orders of magnitude higher than those of likely prey items. The fate of diet-derived contaminants along the digestive tract is discussed, in particular with respect to stomach oils, which are used to feed chicks and for defensive purposes. The benefits of considering both concentrations and fugacities are demonstrated and provide information on the absorption and distribution of chemicals within the fulmars and contaminant transfer to offspring and predators.

  1. Effects of climate change on nutrition and genetics of White-tailed Ptarmigan

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Stricker, Craig A.; St. John, Judy; Wann, Gregory T.; O'Donnell, Michael S.; Aldridge, Cameron L.

    2011-01-01

    White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura) are well suited as a focal species for the study of climate change because they are adapted to cool, alpine environments that are expected to undergo unusually rapid climate change. We compared samples collected in the late 1930s, the late 1960s, and the late 2000s using molecular genetic and stable isotope methods in an effort to determine whether White-tailed Ptarmigan on Mt. Evans, Colorado, have experiences recent environmental changes resulting in shifts in genetic diversity, gene frequency, and nutritional ecology. We genotyped 115 individuals spanning the three time periods, using nine polymorphic microsatellite loci in our genetic analysis. These samples were also analyzed for stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition. We found a slight trend of lower heterozygosity through time, and allelic richness values were significantly lower in more recent times, but not significantly using an alpha of 0.05 (P 13C and δ15N values decreased significantly across time periods, whereas the range in isotope values increased consistently from the late 1930s to the late time periods. Inferred changes in the nutritional ecology of White-tailed Ptarmigan on Mt. Evans relate primarily to increased atmospheric deposition of nutrients that likely influenced foraging habits and tundra plant composition and nutritional quality. Future work seeks to integrate genetic and isotopic data with long-term demographics to develop a detailed understanding of the interaction among environmental stressors on the long-term viability of ptarmigan populations.

  2. Arctic foxes as ecosystem engineers: increased soil nutrients lead to increased plant productivity on fox dens

    PubMed Central

    Gharajehdaghipour, Tazarve; Roth, James D.; Fafard, Paul M.; Markham, John H.

    2016-01-01

    Top predators can provide fundamental ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, and their impact can be even greater in environments with low nutrients and productivity, such as Arctic tundra. We estimated the effects of Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) denning on soil nutrient dynamics and vegetation production near Churchill, Manitoba in June and August 2014. Soils from fox dens contained higher nutrient levels in June (71% more inorganic nitrogen, 1195% more extractable phosphorous) and in August (242% more inorganic nitrogen, 191% more extractable phosphorous) than adjacent control sites. Inorganic nitrogen levels decreased from June to August on both dens and controls, whereas extractable phosphorous increased. Pup production the previous year, which should enhance nutrient deposition (from urine, feces, and decomposing prey), did not affect soil nutrient concentrations, suggesting the impact of Arctic foxes persists >1 year. Dens supported 2.8 times greater vegetation biomass in August, but δ15N values in sea lyme grass (Leymus mollis) were unaffected by denning. By concentrating nutrients on dens Arctic foxes enhance nutrient cycling as an ecosystem service and thus engineer Arctic ecosystems on local scales. The enhanced productivity in patches on the landscape could subsequently affect plant diversity and the dispersion of herbivores on the tundra. PMID:27045973

  3. The influence of fine-scale habitat features on regional variation in population performance of alpine White-tailed Ptarmigan

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fedy, B.; Martin, K.

    2011-01-01

    It is often assumed (explicitly or implicitly) that animals select habitat features to maximize fitness. However, there is often a mismatch between preferred habitats and indices of individual and population measures of performance. We examined the influence of fine-scale habitat selection on the overall population performance of the White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura), an alpine specialist, in two subdivided populations whose habitat patches are configured differently. The central region of Vancouver Island, Canada, has more continuous and larger habitat patches than the southern region. In 2003 and 2004, using paired logistic regression between used (n = 176) and available (n = 324) sites, we identified food availability, distance to standing water, and predator cover as preferred habitat components . We then quantified variation in population performance in the two regions in terms of sex ratio, age structure (n = 182 adults and yearlings), and reproductive success (n = 98 females) on the basis of 8 years of data (1995-1999, 2002-2004). Region strongly influenced females' breeding success, which, unsuccessful hens included, was consistently higher in the central region (n = 77 females) of the island than in the south (n = 21 females, P = 0.01). The central region also had a much higher proportion of successful hens (87%) than did the south (55%, P < 0.001). In light of our findings, we suggest that population performance is influenced by a combination of fine-scale habitat features and coarse-scale habitat configuration. ?? The Cooper Ornithological Society 2011.

  4. A conceptual model for the impact of climate change on fox rabies in Alaska, 1980-2010.

    PubMed

    Kim, B I; Blanton, J D; Gilbert, A; Castrodale, L; Hueffer, K; Slate, D; Rupprecht, C E

    2014-02-01

    The direct and interactive effects of climate change on host species and infectious disease dynamics are likely to initially manifest\\ at latitudinal extremes. As such, Alaska represents a region in the United States for introspection on climate change and disease. Rabies is enzootic among arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) throughout the northern polar region. In Alaska, arctic and red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are reservoirs for rabies, with most domestic animal and wildlife cases reported from northern and western coastal Alaska. Based on passive surveillance, a pronounced seasonal trend in rabid foxes occurs in Alaska, with a peak in winter and spring. This study describes climatic factors that may be associated with reported cyclic rabies occurrence. Based upon probabilistic modelling, a stronger seasonal effect in reported fox rabies cases appears at higher latitudes in Alaska, and rabies in arctic foxes appear disproportionately affected by climatic factors in comparison with red foxes. As temperatures continue a warming trend, a decrease in reported rabid arctic foxes may be expected. The overall epidemiology of rabies in Alaska is likely to shift to increased viral transmission among red foxes as the primary reservoir in the region. Information on fox and lemming demographics, in addition to enhanced rabies surveillance among foxes at finer geographic scales, will be critical to develop more comprehensive models for rabies virus transmission in the region.

  5. Cecal bacterial communities in wild Japanese rock ptarmigans and captive Svalbard rock ptarmigans.

    PubMed

    Ushida, Kazunari; Segawa, Takahiro; Tsuchida, Sayaka; Murata, Koichi

    2016-02-01

    Preservation of indigenous gastrointestinal microbiota is deemed to be critical for successful captive breeding of endangered wild animals, yet its biology is poorly understood. Here, we investigated cecal bacterial communities in wild Japanese rock ptarmigans (Lagopus muta japonica) and compared them with those in Svalbard rock ptarmigans (L. m. hyperborea) in captivity. Ultra-deep sequencing of 16S rRNA gene indicated that the community structure of cecal microbiota in wild rock ptarmigans was remarkably different from that in captive Svalbard rock ptarmigans. Fundamental differences between bacterial communities in the two groups of birds were detected at the phylum level. Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Synergistetes were the major phyla detected in wild Japanese rock ptarmigans, whereas Firmicutes alone occupied more than 80% of abundance in captive Svalbard rock ptarmigans. Furthermore, unclassified genera of Coriobacteriaceae, Synergistaceae, Bacteroidaceae, Actinomycetaceae, Veillonellaceae and Clostridiales were the major taxa detected in wild individuals, whereas in zoo-reared birds, major genera were Ruminococcus, Blautia, Faecalibacterium and Akkermansia. Zoo-reared birds seemed to lack almost all rock ptarmigan-specific bacteria in their intestine, which may explain the relatively high rate of pathogenic infections affecting them. We show evidence that preservation and reconstitution of indigenous cecal microflora are critical for successful ex situ conservation and future re-introduction plan for the Japanese rock ptarmigan.

  6. Influence of dietary feathers on the fecal microbiota in captive Arctic fox: do dietary hair or feathers play a role in the evolution of carnivorous mammals?

    PubMed

    Zhang, Liang; Yang, Shuhui; Xu, Yanchun; Dahmer, Thomas D

    2014-11-01

    Hair and feathers are composed of keratin and are indigestible, inalimental and unpalatable for carnivores. However, carnivores often ingest hair and feathers during feeding or when grooming. We hypothesized that ingestion of hair and feathers changes species diversity and relative abundance of bacteria in the gut of carnivores. To test this hypothesis, we added disinfected poultry down feathers to the normal diet of captive Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus). We then used fluorescently labeled terminal restriction fragments (T-RFs) to examine changes in fecal bacterial diversity and abundance. The results showed that the number of bacterial species increased significantly after feather ingestion, but that total abundance was unchanged. This demonstrated that addition of disinfected feathers to the diet stimulated increased production among less abundant bacteria, resulting in a balancing of relative abundance of different bacterial species, or that some newly-ingested microbial species would colonize the gut because a suitable microhabitat had become available. This implies that the overall production of bacterial metabolites would be made up of a greater range of substances after feather ingestion. On one hand, the host's immune response would be more diverse, increasing the capacity of the immune system to regulate gut microflora. On the other hand, the animal's physiological performance would also be affected. For wild animals, such altered physiological traits would be subjected to natural selection, and, hence, persistent geographic differences in the character of ingested feathers or fur would drive speciation.

  7. Virological Investigation of Avian Influenza Virus on Postglacial Species of Phasianidae and Tetraonidae in the Italian Alps

    PubMed Central

    Delogu, Mauro; Ghetti, Giulia; Gugiatti, Alessandro; Cotti, Claudia; Piredda, Isabella; Frasnelli, Matteo; De Marco, Maria A.

    2013-01-01

    Land-based birds, belonging to Galliformes order are considered to be potential intermediaries in the emergence of new strains of influenza A viruses (AIVs), but the viral circulation in these birds remains largely unknown. To gain insights into the circulation of AIV in the wild Galliformes populations in Italian Alps, we conducted a virological survey on rock partridge (Alectoris graeca saxatilis) belonging to Phasianidae family and on tetraonids including rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus helveticus) and black grouse (Tetrao tetrix tetrix). In 2003 and 2004, during the hunting seasons, 79 wild Galliformes, categorised into age and sex classes, were hunted in the Sondrio Province (Central Alps). Cloacal swabs were collected from 11 rock partridges and from 68 tetraonids including 23 alpine rock ptarmigans and 45 black grouses. We tested cloacal swabs by a high sensitive reverse transcription- (RT-) PCR detecting the matrix gene of AIV. No AIV was detected in the investigated samples, thus, suggesting the lack of AIV circulation in these relict populations in the study period. In terms of threatened species conservation, during wildlife management activities, it is very important to exclude the introduction of AIV-carrier birds in shared territories, a fact representing a health risk for these populations. PMID:24167732

  8. Serological and parasitological prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in wild birds from Colorado.

    PubMed

    Dubey, J P; Felix, T A; Kwok, O C H

    2010-10-01

    Ground-feeding birds are considered important in the epidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii because they serve as indicators of soil contamination by oocysts, and birds of prey are indicators of T. gondii prevalence in rodents and other small mammals. Cats excrete environmentally resistant oocysts after consuming tissues of T. gondii -infected birds. In the present study, sera and tissues from 382 wild birds from Colorado were tested for T. gondii infection. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 38 birds with the use of the modified agglutination test (MAT, 1∶25 titer). Tissues (brains, hearts) of 84 birds were bioassayed in mice. Viable T. gondii was isolated from 1 of 1 barn owl (Tyto alba), 1 of 5 American kestrels (Falco sparverius), 1 of 7 ferruginous hawks (Buteo regalis), 1 of 4 rough-legged hawks (Buteo lagopus), 2 of 13 Swainson's hawks (Buteo swainsoni), and 1 of 25 red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis). This is the first time T. gondii has been isolated from the barn owl, ferruginous hawk, rough-legged hawk, and Swainson's hawk. PMID:20950101

  9. Influence of dietary feathers on the fecal microbiota in captive Arctic fox: do dietary hair or feathers play a role in the evolution of carnivorous mammals?

    PubMed

    Zhang, Liang; Yang, Shuhui; Xu, Yanchun; Dahmer, Thomas D

    2014-11-01

    Hair and feathers are composed of keratin and are indigestible, inalimental and unpalatable for carnivores. However, carnivores often ingest hair and feathers during feeding or when grooming. We hypothesized that ingestion of hair and feathers changes species diversity and relative abundance of bacteria in the gut of carnivores. To test this hypothesis, we added disinfected poultry down feathers to the normal diet of captive Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus). We then used fluorescently labeled terminal restriction fragments (T-RFs) to examine changes in fecal bacterial diversity and abundance. The results showed that the number of bacterial species increased significantly after feather ingestion, but that total abundance was unchanged. This demonstrated that addition of disinfected feathers to the diet stimulated increased production among less abundant bacteria, resulting in a balancing of relative abundance of different bacterial species, or that some newly-ingested microbial species would colonize the gut because a suitable microhabitat had become available. This implies that the overall production of bacterial metabolites would be made up of a greater range of substances after feather ingestion. On one hand, the host's immune response would be more diverse, increasing the capacity of the immune system to regulate gut microflora. On the other hand, the animal's physiological performance would also be affected. For wild animals, such altered physiological traits would be subjected to natural selection, and, hence, persistent geographic differences in the character of ingested feathers or fur would drive speciation. PMID:25420637

  10. Behavioral interactions of penned red and arctic foxes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rudzinski, D.R.; Graves, H.B.; Sargeant, A.B.; Storm, G.L.

    1982-01-01

    Expansion of the geographical distribution of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) into the far north tundra region may lead to competition between arctic (Alopex lagopus) and red foxes for space and resources. Behavioral interactions between red and arctic foxes were evaluated during 9 trials conducted in a 4.05-ha enclosure near Woodworth, North Dakota. Each trial consisted of introducing a male-female pair of arctic foxes into the enclosure and allowing them to acclimate for approximately a week before releasing a female red fox into the enclosure, followed by her mate a few days later. In 8 of 9 trials, red foxes were dominant over arctic foxes during encounters. Activity of the arctic foxes decreased upon addition of red foxes. Arctic foxes tried unsuccessfully to defend preferred den, resting, and feeding areas. Even though the outcome of competition between red and arctic foxes in the Arctic is uncertain, the more aggressive red fox can dominate arctic foxes in direct competition for den sites and other limited resources.

  11. Abundance of diurnal raptors on open space grasslands in an urbanized landscape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Berry, M.E.; Bock, C.E.; Haire, S.L.

    1998-01-01

    We conducted point counts of diurnal raptors on Boulder, Colorado, grasslands for three winters and summers, and compared results to landscape features of the count areas. Four wintering species were scarce on plots that included significant amounts of urban habitat, with a critical landscape threshold at about 5-7% urbanization: Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis), Rough-legged Hawk (B. lagopus), and Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus). Counts of the first three species also were positively correlated with proximity of the count plots to the nearest colony of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus). Two breeding species, the Red-tailed Hawk (B. jamaicensis) and Swainson's Hawk (B. swainsoni), were more abundant on plots dominated by lowland hayfields and tallgrass prairies, as opposed to upland mixed and shortgrass prairies. They, along with the ubiquitous American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), were not sensitive to the amounts of urbanization (up to 30%) that occurred in the landscapes sampled. Results of this study suggest that urban open space grasslands can support sizable populations of most diurnal raptors, as long as prey populations persist, but that some species are highly sensitive to landscape urbanization.

  12. Serosurvey for Toxoplasma gondii in arctic foxes and possible sources of infection in the high Arctic of Svalbard.

    PubMed

    Prestrud, Kristin Wear; Asbakk, Kjetil; Fuglei, Eva; Mørk, Torill; Stien, Audun; Ropstad, Erik; Tryland, Morten; Gabrielsen, Geir Wing; Lydersen, Christian; Kovacs, Kit M; Loonen, Maarten J J E; Sagerup, Kjetil; Oksanen, Antti

    2007-11-30

    Samples (blood or tissue fluid) from 594 arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus), 390 Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus), 361 sibling voles (Microtus rossiaemeridionalis), 17 walruses (Odobenus rosmarus), 149 barnacle geese (Branta leucopsis), 58 kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla), and 27 glaucous gulls (Larus hyperboreus) from Svalbard and nearby waters were assayed for antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii using a direct agglutination test. The proportion of seropositive animals was 43% in arctic foxes, 7% in barnacle geese, and 6% (1 of 17) in walruses. There were no seropositive Svalbard reindeer, sibling voles, glaucous gulls, or kittiwakes. The prevalence in the arctic fox was relatively high compared to previous reports from canid populations. There are no wild felids in Svalbard and domestic cats are prohibited, and the absence of antibodies against T. gondii among the herbivorous Svalbard reindeer and voles indicates that transmission of the parasite by oocysts is not likely to be an important mechanism in the Svalbard ecosystem. Our results suggest that migratory birds, such as the barnacle goose, may be the most important vectors bringing the parasite to Svalbard. In addition to transmission through infected prey and carrion, the age-seroprevalence profile in the fox population suggests that their infection levels are enhanced by vertical transmission.

  13. Habitat selection, reproduction and predation of wintering lemmings in the Arctic.

    PubMed

    Duchesne, David; Gauthier, Gilles; Berteaux, Dominique

    2011-12-01

    Snow cover has dramatic effects on the structure and functioning of Arctic ecosystems in winter. In the tundra, the subnivean space is the primary habitat of wintering small mammals and may be critical for their survival and reproduction. We have investigated the effects of snow cover and habitat features on the distributions of collared lemming (Dicrostonyx groenlandicus) and brown lemming (Lemmus trimucronatus) winter nests, as well as on their probabilities of reproduction and predation by stoats (Mustela erminea) and arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus). We sampled 193 lemming winter nests and measured habitat features at all of these nests and at random sites at two spatial scales. We also monitored overwinter ground temperature at a subsample of nest and random sites. Our results demonstrate that nests were primarily located in areas with high micro-topography heterogeneity, steep slopes, deep snow cover providing thermal protection (reduced daily temperature fluctuations) and a high abundance of mosses. The probability of reproduction increased in collared lemming nests at low elevation and in brown lemming nests with high availability of some graminoid species. The probability of predation by stoats was density dependent and was higher in nests used by collared lemmings. Snow cover did not affect the probability of predation of lemming nests by stoats, but deep snow cover limited predation attempts by arctic foxes. We conclude that snow cover plays a key role in the spatial structure of wintering lemming populations and potentially in their population dynamics in the Arctic.

  14. Cecal bacterial communities in wild Japanese rock ptarmigans and captive Svalbard rock ptarmigans.

    PubMed

    Ushida, Kazunari; Segawa, Takahiro; Tsuchida, Sayaka; Murata, Koichi

    2016-02-01

    Preservation of indigenous gastrointestinal microbiota is deemed to be critical for successful captive breeding of endangered wild animals, yet its biology is poorly understood. Here, we investigated cecal bacterial communities in wild Japanese rock ptarmigans (Lagopus muta japonica) and compared them with those in Svalbard rock ptarmigans (L. m. hyperborea) in captivity. Ultra-deep sequencing of 16S rRNA gene indicated that the community structure of cecal microbiota in wild rock ptarmigans was remarkably different from that in captive Svalbard rock ptarmigans. Fundamental differences between bacterial communities in the two groups of birds were detected at the phylum level. Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Synergistetes were the major phyla detected in wild Japanese rock ptarmigans, whereas Firmicutes alone occupied more than 80% of abundance in captive Svalbard rock ptarmigans. Furthermore, unclassified genera of Coriobacteriaceae, Synergistaceae, Bacteroidaceae, Actinomycetaceae, Veillonellaceae and Clostridiales were the major taxa detected in wild individuals, whereas in zoo-reared birds, major genera were Ruminococcus, Blautia, Faecalibacterium and Akkermansia. Zoo-reared birds seemed to lack almost all rock ptarmigan-specific bacteria in their intestine, which may explain the relatively high rate of pathogenic infections affecting them. We show evidence that preservation and reconstitution of indigenous cecal microflora are critical for successful ex situ conservation and future re-introduction plan for the Japanese rock ptarmigan. PMID:26468217

  15. Pulses of movement across the sea ice: population connectivity and temporal genetic structure in the arctic fox.

    PubMed

    Norén, Karin; Carmichael, Lindsey; Fuglei, Eva; Eide, Nina E; Hersteinsson, Pall; Angerbjörn, Anders

    2011-08-01

    Lemmings are involved in several important functions in the Arctic ecosystem. The Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) can be divided into two discrete ecotypes: "lemming foxes" and "coastal foxes". Crashes in lemming abundance can result in pulses of "lemming fox" movement across the Arctic sea ice and immigration into coastal habitats in search for food. These pulses can influence the genetic structure of the receiving population. We have tested the impact of immigration on the genetic structure of the "coastal fox" population in Svalbard by recording microsatellite variation in seven loci for 162 Arctic foxes sampled during the summer and winter over a 5-year period. Genetic heterogeneity and temporal genetic shifts, as inferred by STRUCTURE simulations and deviations from Hardy-Weinberg proportions, respectively, were recorded. Maximum likelihood estimates of movement as well as STRUCTURE simulations suggested that both immigration and genetic mixture are higher in Svalbard than in the neighbouring "lemming fox" populations. The STRUCTURE simulations and AMOVA revealed there are differences in genetic composition of the population between summer and winter seasons, indicating that immigrants are not present in the reproductive portion of the Svalbard population. Based on these results, we conclude that Arctic fox population structure varies with time and is influenced by immigration from neighbouring populations. The lemming cycle is likely an important factor shaping Arctic fox movement across sea ice and the subsequent population genetic structure, but is also likely to influence local adaptation to the coastal habitat and the prevalence of diseases.

  16. Heptachlor seed treatment contaminates hawks, owls, and eagles of Columbia Basin, Oregon

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Henny, C.J.; Blus, L.J.; Kaiser, T.E.

    1984-01-01

    We evaluated organochlorine residues in 12 species of hawks. owls, and eagles from the Columbia Basin of Oregon between 1978 and 1981. Companion studies showed that heptachlor epoxide (HE) induced adult mortality and reduced productivity of the Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) and American Kestrel (Falco sparverius).ln this study, brain tissue from raptors found dead and sample eggs from 90 nests were analyzed for organochlorines. The primary concern was HE that entered raptor food chains through the ingestion of heptachlor-treated seed by their prey. HE residues were detected in eggs from 9 of 10 species and ranged as high as 4.75 ppm (wet wt), but no definite effects of HE on productivity were readily apparent from the limited series of nests. However, the hazard of heptachlor seed treatments to birds of prey was demonstrated by the occurrence of lethal residues of HE in brain tissue of 3 Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) and 1 Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus). Other organochlorine pesticides were present in the eggs and significant relationships were found between DDE and eggshell thickness for the Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni) and Western Screech-Owl (Otus kennicotti), although shell thinning (9.6% and 7.4%) was below the generally accepted range where reproductive problems have been known to occur.

  17. Investigating variation in the nutritional ecology and genetics of White-tailed Ptarmigan: implications for climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oyler-McCance, S. J.; Stricker, C. A.; Braun, C. E.; Wann, G. T.; Aldridge, C. L.

    2010-12-01

    White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura) are well suited as a focal species for the study of climate change because they are adapted to cool, alpine environments that are expected to undergo unusually rapid climate change. We compared samples collected in the late 1930s, the late 1960s, and the late 2000s using molecular genetic and stable isotope methods in an effort to determine whether White-tailed Ptarmigan on Mt. Evans, Colorado have experienced recent environmental changes resulting in shifts in genetic diversity, gene frequency, and nutritional ecology. We genotyped 115 individuals spanning the three time periods using nine polymorphic microsatellite loci in our genetic analysis. These samples were also analyzed for stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition. We found a slight trend of lower heterozygosity through time and allelic richness values were lower in more recent times. We found no changes in allele frequencies across time periods suggesting that population sizes have not changed dramatically. Feather δ13C and δ15N values decreased significantly across time periods, whereas the range in isotope values increased consistently from the late 1930s to the later time periods. Inferred changes in the nutritional ecology of White-tailed Ptarmigan on Mt. Evans relates primarily to increased atmospheric deposition of nutrients that likely influenced foraging habits and tundra plant composition and nutritional quality. We briefly discuss similar ongoing work on the neighboring population in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado and tie in genetic results from across the species range.

  18. Reproductive responses to spatial and temporal prey availability in a coastal Arctic fox population.

    PubMed

    Eide, Nina E; Stien, Audun; Prestrud, Pål; Yoccoz, Nigel G; Fuglei, Eva

    2012-05-01

    1. Input of external subsidies in the Arctic may have substantial effects on predator populations that otherwise would have been limited by low local primary productivity. 2. We explore life-history traits, age-specific fecundity, litter sizes and survival, and the population dynamics of an Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) population to explore the influence of the spatial distribution and temporal availability of its main prey; including both resident and migrating (external) prey resources. 3. This study reveals that highly predictable cross-boundary subsidies from the marine food web, acting through seasonal access to seabirds, sustain larger local Arctic fox populations. Arctic fox dens located close to the coast in Svalbard were found to have higher occupancy rates, as expected from both high availability and high temporal and spatial predictability of prey resources (temporally stable external subsidies). Whereas the occupancy rate of inland dens varied between years in relation to the abundance of reindeer carcasses (temporally varying resident prey). 4. With regard to demography, juvenile Arctic foxes in Svalbard have lower survival rates and a high age of first reproduction compared with other populations. We suggest this may be caused by a lack of unoccupied dens and a saturated population. PMID:22211323

  19. Late Quaternary mammalian zoogeography of eastern Washington

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lyman, R. Lee; Livingston, Stephanie D.

    1983-11-01

    The late Quaternary mammalian zoogeographic history of eastern Washington as revealed by archaeological and paleontological research conforms to a set of past environmental conditions inferred from botanical data. During the relatively cool and moist late Pleistocene and early Holocene, Cervus cf. elaphus, Ovis canadensis, Vulpes vulpes, Martes americana, Alopex lagopus, and perhaps Rangifer sp., taxa with ecological preferences for mesic steppe habitats, were present in the now xeric Columbia Basin. As the climate became progressively warmer and drier during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene, Antilocapra americana, Onychomys leucogaster, Spermophilus townsendii, and Neotoma cinerea, taxa with ecological preferences for xeric steppe habitats, appear in the Columbia Basin. Bison sp. and Taxidea taxus may have been present in eastern Washington for the last 20,000 yr. Middle and late Holocene records for Oreamnos americanus, Spermophilus columbianus, S. townsendii, Lagurus curtatus, and Urocyon cinereoargenteus in central eastern Washington suggest fluctuations in the ranges of these taxa that conform to a middle Holocene period of less effective precipitation and a ca. 3500-yr-old period of more effective precipitation before essentially modern environmental conditions prevailed.

  20. Two missense mutations in melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) are strongly associated with dark ventral coat color in reindeer (Rangifer tarandus).

    PubMed

    Våge, D I; Nieminen, M; Anderson, D G; Røed, K H

    2014-10-01

    The protein-coding region of melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) was sequenced to identify potential variation affecting coat color in reindeer (Rangifer tarandus). A T→C sequence variation at nucleotide position 218 (c.218T>C) causing an amino acid (aa) change from methionine to threonine at aa position 73 (p.Met73Thr) was identified. In addition, a T→G sequence variation was found at nucleotide position 839 (c.839T>G), causing phenylalanine to be exchanged by cysteine at aa position 280 (p.Phe280Cys). The two sequence variants (c.218C and c.839G) were found to be closely associated with a darker belly coat compared with animals not having any of these two variants. The aa acid change p.Met73Thr affects the same position as p.Met73Lys previously reported to give constitutive activation of MC1R in black sheep (Ovis aries), whereas p.Phe280Cys is identical to one of two variants previously reported to be associated with dark coat color in Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), supporting that the two variants found in reindeer are functional. The complete absence of Thr73 and Cys280 among the 51 wild reindeer analyzed provides some evidence that these variants are more common in the domestic herds.

  1. Cecal bacterial communities in wild Japanese rock ptarmigans and captive Svalbard rock ptarmigans

    PubMed Central

    USHIDA, Kazunari; SEGAWA, Takahiro; TSUCHIDA, Sayaka; MURATA, Koichi

    2015-01-01

    Preservation of indigenous gastrointestinal microbiota is deemed to be critical for successful captive breeding of endangered wild animals, yet its biology is poorly understood. Here, we investigated cecal bacterial communities in wild Japanese rock ptarmigans (Lagopus muta japonica) and compared them with those in Svalbard rock ptarmigans (L. m. hyperborea) in captivity. Ultra-deep sequencing of 16S rRNA gene indicated that the community structure of cecal microbiota in wild rock ptarmigans was remarkably different from that in captive Svalbard rock ptarmigans. Fundamental differences between bacterial communities in the two groups of birds were detected at the phylum level. Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Synergistetes were the major phyla detected in wild Japanese rock ptarmigans, whereas Firmicutes alone occupied more than 80% of abundance in captive Svalbard rock ptarmigans. Furthermore, unclassified genera of Coriobacteriaceae, Synergistaceae, Bacteroidaceae, Actinomycetaceae, Veillonellaceae and Clostridiales were the major taxa detected in wild individuals, whereas in zoo-reared birds, major genera were Ruminococcus, Blautia, Faecalibacterium and Akkermansia. Zoo-reared birds seemed to lack almost all rock ptarmigan-specific bacteria in their intestine, which may explain the relatively high rate of pathogenic infections affecting them. We show evidence that preservation and reconstitution of indigenous cecal microflora are critical for successful ex situ conservation and future re-introduction plan for the Japanese rock ptarmigan. PMID:26468217

  2. Population structure of two rabies hosts relative to the known distribution of rabies virus variants in Alaska.

    PubMed

    Goldsmith, Elizabeth W; Renshaw, Benjamin; Clement, Christopher J; Himschoot, Elizabeth A; Hundertmark, Kris J; Hueffer, Karsten

    2016-02-01

    For pathogens that infect multiple species, the distinction between reservoir hosts and spillover hosts is often difficult. In Alaska, three variants of the arctic rabies virus exist with distinct spatial distributions. We tested the hypothesis that rabies virus variant distribution corresponds to the population structure of the primary rabies hosts in Alaska, arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) and red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) to possibly distinguish reservoir and spillover hosts. We used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence and nine microsatellites to assess population structure in those two species. mtDNA structure did not correspond to rabies virus variant structure in either species. Microsatellite analyses gave varying results. Bayesian clustering found two groups of arctic foxes in the coastal tundra region, but for red foxes it identified tundra and boreal types. Spatial Bayesian clustering and spatial principal components analysis identified 3 and 4 groups of arctic foxes, respectively, closely matching the distribution of rabies virus variants in the state. Red foxes, conversely, showed eight clusters comprising two regions (boreal and tundra) with much admixture. These results run contrary to previous beliefs that arctic fox show no fine-scale spatial population structure. While we cannot rule out that the red fox is part of the maintenance host community for rabies in Alaska, the distribution of virus variants appears to be driven primarily by the arctic fox. Therefore, we show that host population genetics can be utilized to distinguish between maintenance and spillover hosts when used in conjunction with other approaches.

  3. A conceptual model for the impact of climate change on fox rabies in Alaska, 1980-2010.

    PubMed

    Kim, B I; Blanton, J D; Gilbert, A; Castrodale, L; Hueffer, K; Slate, D; Rupprecht, C E

    2014-02-01

    The direct and interactive effects of climate change on host species and infectious disease dynamics are likely to initially manifest\\ at latitudinal extremes. As such, Alaska represents a region in the United States for introspection on climate change and disease. Rabies is enzootic among arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) throughout the northern polar region. In Alaska, arctic and red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are reservoirs for rabies, with most domestic animal and wildlife cases reported from northern and western coastal Alaska. Based on passive surveillance, a pronounced seasonal trend in rabid foxes occurs in Alaska, with a peak in winter and spring. This study describes climatic factors that may be associated with reported cyclic rabies occurrence. Based upon probabilistic modelling, a stronger seasonal effect in reported fox rabies cases appears at higher latitudes in Alaska, and rabies in arctic foxes appear disproportionately affected by climatic factors in comparison with red foxes. As temperatures continue a warming trend, a decrease in reported rabid arctic foxes may be expected. The overall epidemiology of rabies in Alaska is likely to shift to increased viral transmission among red foxes as the primary reservoir in the region. Information on fox and lemming demographics, in addition to enhanced rabies surveillance among foxes at finer geographic scales, will be critical to develop more comprehensive models for rabies virus transmission in the region. PMID:23452510

  4. Winter habitat associations of diurnal raptors in Californias Central Valley

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pandolrno, E.R.; Herzog, M.P.; Hooper, S.L.; Smith, Z.

    2011-01-01

    The wintering raptors of California's Central Valley are abundant and diverse. Despite this, little information exists on the habitats used by these birds in winter. We recorded diurnal raptors along 19 roadside survey routes throughout the Central Valley for three consecutive winters between 2007 and 2010. We obtained data sufficient to determine significant positive and negative habitat associations for the White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus), Bald Eagle {Haliaeetus leucocephalus), Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus), Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis), Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus), American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), and Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus). The Prairie Falcon and Ferruginous and Rough-legged hawks showed expected strong positive associations with grasslands. The Bald Eagle and Northern Harrier were positively associated not only with wetlands but also with rice. The strongest positive association for the White-tailed Kite was with wetlands. The Red-tailed Hawk was positively associated with a variety of habitat types but most strongly with wetlands and rice. The American Kestrel, Northern Harrier, and White-tailed Kite were positively associated with alfalfa. Nearly all species were negatively associated with urbanized landscapes, orchards, and other intensive forms of agriculture. The White-tailed Kite, Northern Harrier, Redtailed Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, and American Kestrel showed significant negative associations with oak savanna. Given the rapid conversion of the Central Valley to urban and intensive agricultural uses over the past few decades, these results have important implications for conservation of these wintering raptors in this region.

  5. Trophic interactions in a high arctic snow goose colony.

    PubMed

    Gauthier, Gilles; Bêty, Joël; Giroux, Jean-François; Rochefort, Line

    2004-04-01

    We examined the role of trophic interactions in structuring a high arctic tundra community characterized by a large breeding colony of greater snow geese (Chen caerulescens atlantica). According to the exploitation ecosystem hypothesis of Oksanen et al. (1981), food chains are controlled by top-down interactions. However, because the arctic primary productivity is low, herbivore populations are too small to support functional predator populations and these communities should thus be dominated by the plant/ herbivore trophic-level interaction. Since 1990, we have been monitoring annual abundance and productivity of geese, the impact of goose grazing, predator abundance (mostly arctic foxes, Alopex lagopus) and the abundance of lemmings, the other significant herbivore in this community, on Bylot Island, Nunavut, Canada. Goose grazing consistently removed a significant proportion of the standing crop (∼40%) in tundra wetlands every year. Grazing changed plant community composition and reduced the production of grasses and sedges to a low-level equilibrium compared to the situation where the presence of geese had been removed. Lemming cyclic fluctuations were strong and affected fox reproduction. Fox predation on goose eggs was severe and generated marked annual variation in goose productivity. Predation intensity on geese was closely related to the lemming cycle, a consequence of an indirect interaction between lemming and geese via shared predators. We conclude that, contrary to the exploitation ecosystem hypothesis, both the plant/herbivore and predator/prey interactions are significant in this arctic community. PMID:21680492

  6. Serum lipid concentrations in six canid and four ursid species in four zoos.

    PubMed

    Crissey, Susan D; Ange, Kimberly D; Slifka, Kerri A; Sadler, William; Kahn, Stephen; Ward, Ann M

    2004-03-01

    Serum lipid levels were measured in healthy captive wild canids and ursids, and the values were compared with previously published data. Serum lipid levels were evaluated in blood samples collected from eight African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus), three arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus), nine gray wolves (Canis lupus), four maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus), two Mexican wolves (Canis lupus baleiyi), nine red wolves (Canis rufus), two brown bears (Ursus arctos), six polar bears (Ursus maritimus), six spectacled bears (Tremarctos ornatus), and five sun bears (Ursus malayanus). Samples were analyzed for total cholesterol, triacylglycerides, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol. Although the results showed a great variation among species, circulating lipids appeared especially high, sometimes extremely so, in the spectacled bears, polar bears, sun bears, and maned wolves compared with all other species sampled. The study provides a substantial basis for comparing lipid levels in presumed healthy animals and indicates a need for controlled study of the effects of diet on circulating lipid levels. PMID:15193071

  7. Enhancement of local species richness in tundra by seed dispersal through guts of muskox and barnacle goose.

    PubMed

    Bruun, Hans Henrik; Lundgren, Rebekka; Philipp, Marianne

    2008-02-01

    The potential contribution of vertebrate-mediated seed rain to the maintenance of plant community richness in a High Arctic ecosystem was investigated. We analyzed viable seed content in dung of the four numerically most important terrestrial vertebrates in Northeast Greenland - muskox (Ovibos moschatus), barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis), Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) and Arctic hare (Lepus arcticus). High numbers of plant propagules were found in the dung of muskox and barnacle goose. Seeds of many plant species were found in the faeces of one vertebrate species only. Propagule composition in barnacle goose droppings was relatively uniform over samples, with a high abundance of the nutritious bulbils of Polygonum viviparum (Bistorta vivipara), suggesting that geese have a narrow habitat preference and feed selectively. Propagule composition in muskox dung was diverse and heterogeneous among samples, suggesting a generalist approach in terms of food selection and the haphazard ingestion of plant propagules with foliage. The species composition of plant propagules in dung samples was different from that of the receiving plant communities (in terms of the Sørensen and Czekanowski dissimilarity indices), and dung deposition, especially by muskox, often brought new species to the receiving community. The results suggest that endozoochorous propagule dispersal in the Arctic has a great potential in the generation and maintenance of local species richness, albeit being little specialized. It is further suggested that endozoochory is an important means of long-distance dispersal and, thereby, of plant migration in response to climate change. PMID:17990003

  8. Recent trends in counts of migrant hawks from northeastern North America

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Titus, K.; Fuller, M.R.

    1990-01-01

    Using simple regression, pooled-sites route-regression, and nonparametric rank-trend analyses, we evaluated trends in counts of hawks migrating past 6 eastern hawk lookouts from 1972 to 1987. The indexing variable was the total count for a season. Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), merlin (F. columbarius), osprey (Pandion haliaetus), and Cooper's hawk (Accipiter cooperii) counts increased using route-regression and nonparametric methods (P 0.10). We found no consistent trends (P > 0.10) in counts of sharp-shinned hawks (A. striatus), northern goshawks (A. gentilis) red-shouldered hawks (Buteo lineatus), red-tailed hawks (B. jamaicensis), rough-legged hawsk (B. lagopus), and American kestrels (F. sparverius). Broad-winged hawk (B. platypterus) counts declined (P < 0.05) based on the route-regression method. Empirical comparisons of our results with those for well-studied species such as the peregrine falcon, bald eagle, and osprey indicated agreement with nesting surveys. We suggest that counts of migrant hawks are a useful and economical method for detecting long-term trends in species across regions, particularly for species that otherwise cannot be easily surveyed.

  9. Association of wintering raptors with Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program grasslands in Pennsylvania

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wilson, A.; Brittingham, M.; Grove, G.

    2010-01-01

    Conservation grasslands can provide valuable habitat resource for breeding songbirds, but their value for wintering raptors has received little attention. We hypothesized that increased availability of grassland habitat through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) has resulted in an increase or redistribution in numbers of four species of raptors in Pennsylvania since 2001. We tested this by analyzing winter raptor counts from volunteer surveys, conducted from 2001 to 2008, for Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), Rough-legged Hawks (Buteo lagopus), Northern Harriers (Circus cyaneus), and American Kestrels (Falco sparverius). During that period, numbers of wintering Northern Harriers increased by more than 20% per year. Log-linear Poisson regression models show that all four species increased in the region of Pennsylvania that had the most and longest-established conservation grasslands. At the county scale (N= 67), Bayesian spatial models showed that spatial and temporal population trends of all four species were positively correlated with the amount of conservation grassland. This relationship was particularly strong for Northern Harriers, with numbers predicted to increase by 35.7% per year for each additional 1% of farmland enrolled in CREP. Our results suggest that conservation grasslands are likely the primary cause of the increase in numbers of wintering Northern Harriers in Pennsylvania since 2001. ?? 2010 The Authors. Journal of Field Ornithology ?? 2010 Association of Field Ornithologists.

  10. Winter raptor use of the Platte and North Platte River Valleys in south central Nebraska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lingle, G.R.

    1989-01-01

    Winter distribution and abundance of raptors were monitored within the Platte and North Platte river valleys. Data were collected along 265 km of census routes along the Platte and North Platte rivers during the winters of 1978-1979 and 1979-1980. Observations recorded during the second winter involved less observation time and were at somewhat different periods. There were 1574 sightings of 15 species representing 3 raptor families. Number of raptors observed on 54 days from 15 November to 13 February 1978-1979 was 48.3 per 100 km. In 20 days of observation from 5 December to 6 March 1979-1980, 39.7 raptors were observed per 100 km. Small mammal indices were 21 and 12 captures per 1000 trap nights during November 1978 and 1979, respectively. Raptors were sighted most frequently in riverine habitat and least in pasture and tilled fields. American kestrels (Falco sparverius) (11.1 individuals/100 km), red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) (9.9), and bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) (9.6) were the most frequently sighted raptors. Northern harrier (Circus cyaneus), rough-legged hawk (B. lagopus), and prairie falcon (P. mexicanus) sightings were 3.4, 3.4, and 1.7, respectively. Nine species were seen at a frequency of less than 1.0 individuals/100 km. Improved foraging conditions throughout the region resulted in fewer raptors sighted in 1979-1980.

  11. Comparative genomics of 3 farm canids in relation to the dog.

    PubMed

    Switonski, M; Szczerbal, I; Nowacka-Woszuk, J

    2009-01-01

    There are 3 canids besides the dog (Canis familiaris): the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) and Chinese raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides procyonoides), which have been extensively studied with the use of cytogenetic and molecular genetics techniques. These 3 species are considered as farm fur-bearing animals. In addition, they are also useful models in comparative genomic studies of the canids. In this review genome organization, karyotype evolution, comparative marker maps, DNA polymorphism and similarity of selected gene sequences of the 3 farm species are discussed in relation to the dog. Also the nature and variability of the B chromosomes, present in the red fox and the Chinese raccoon dog, were considered. These comparative analyses showed that among the studied canids the Chinese raccoon dog is phylogenetically the closest species to the dog. On the other hand, the most advanced linkage and cytogenetic marker maps of the red fox genome facilitate genome scanning studies with the aim to search for chromosome locations of QTL regions for behavior and production traits. PMID:20016159

  12. Arctic foxes, lemmings, and canada goose nest survival at cape Churchill, Manitoba

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reiter, M.E.; Andersen, D.E.

    2011-01-01

    We examined factors influencing Canada Goose (Branta canadensis interior) annual nest success, including the relative abundance of collared lemmings (Dicrostonyx richardsoni), arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) den occupancy, nest density, and spring phenology using data collected during annual Canada Goose breeding area surveys at Cape Churchill, Manitoba. Nest density and arctic fox den occupancy strongly influenced Canada Goose nest success. High nest density resulted in higher nest success and high den occupancy reduced nest success. Nest success was not influenced by lemming abundance in the current or previous year as predicted by the "bird-lemming" hypothesis. Reducing arctic fox abundance through targeted management increased nest survival of Canada Geese; a result that further emphasizes the importance of arctic fox as nest predators in this system. The spatial distribution of nest predators, at least for dispersed-nesting geese, may be most important for nest survival, regardless of the abundance of small mammals in the local ecosystem. Further understanding of the factors influencing the magnitude and variance in arctic fox abundance in this region, and the spatial scale at which these factors are realized, is necessary to fully explain predator-prey-alternative prey dynamics in this system. ?? 2011 by the Wilson Ornithological Society.

  13. Depredation of common eider, Somateria mollissima, nests on a central Beaufort Sea barrier island: A case where no one wins

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reed, J.A.; Lacroix, D.L.; Flint, P.L.

    2007-01-01

    Along the central Beaufort Sea, Pacific Common Eiders (Somateria mollissima v-nigra) nest on unvegetated, barrier islands; often near nesting Glaucous Gulls (Larus hyperboreus). Nest-site choice likely reflects a strategy of predator avoidance: nesting on islands to avoid mammalian predators and near territorial gulls to avoid other avian predators. We observed a nesting colony of Common Eiders from first nest initiation through nesting termination on Egg Island near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska (2002 - 2003). Resident gulls depredated many eider nests, mostly during initiation. All nests failed when an Arctic Fox (Alopex lagopus) visited the island and flushed hens from their nests, exposing the eggs to depredation by the fox and gulls (resident and non-resident). Common Eiders actively defended nests from gulls, but not from foxes. Likely all three species (i.e., eiders, gulls, and foxes) ultimately achieved negligible benefit from their nest-site selection or predatory activity: (a) island nesting provided no safety from mammalian predators for eiders or gulls, (b) for Common Eiders, nesting near gulls increased egg loss, (c) for Glaucous Gulls, nesting near colonial eiders may have reduced nest success by attracting the fox, and (d) for Arctic Foxes, the depredation was of questionable value, as most eggs were cached and probably not recoverable (due to damage from fall storms). Thus, the predator-prey interactions we observed appear to be a case where little or no fitness advantage was realized by any of the species involved.

  14. Using Domestic and Free-Ranging Arctic Canid Models for Environmental Molecular Toxicology Research.

    PubMed

    Harley, John R; Bammler, Theo K; Farin, Federico M; Beyer, Richard P; Kavanagh, Terrance J; Dunlap, Kriya L; Knott, Katrina K; Ylitalo, Gina M; O'Hara, Todd M

    2016-02-16

    The use of sentinel species for population and ecosystem health assessments has been advocated as part of a One Health perspective. The Arctic is experiencing rapid change, including climate and environmental shifts, as well as increased resource development, which will alter exposure of biota to environmental agents of disease. Arctic canid species have wide geographic ranges and feeding ecologies and are often exposed to high concentrations of both terrestrial and marine-based contaminants. The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) has been used in biomedical research for a number of years and has been advocated as a sentinel for human health due to its proximity to humans and, in some instances, similar diet. Exploiting the potential of molecular tools for describing the toxicogenomics of Arctic canids is critical for their development as biomedical models as well as environmental sentinels. Here, we present three approaches analyzing toxicogenomics of Arctic contaminants in both domestic and free-ranging canids (Arctic fox, Vulpes lagopus). We describe a number of confounding variables that must be addressed when conducting toxicogenomics studies in canid and other mammalian models. The ability for canids to act as models for Arctic molecular toxicology research is unique and significant for advancing our understanding and expanding the tool box for assessing the changing landscape of environmental agents of disease in the Arctic. PMID:26730740

  15. A conceptual model for the impact of climate change on fox rabies in Alaska, 1980–2010

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Bryan I.; Blanton, Jesse D.; Gilbert, Amy; Castrodale, Louisa; Hueffer, Karsten; Slate, Dennis; Rupprecht, Charles E.

    2013-01-01

    The direct and interactive effects of climate change on host species and infectious disease dynamics are likely to initially manifest at latitudinal extremes. As such, Alaska represents a region in the United States for introspection on climate change and disease. Rabies is enzootic among arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) throughout the northern polar region. In Alaska, arctic and red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are reservoirs for rabies, with most domestic animal and wildlife cases reported from northern and western coastal Alaska. Based on passive surveillance, a pronounced seasonal trend in rabid foxes occurs in Alaska, with a peak in winter and spring. This study describes climatic factors that may be associated with reported cyclic rabies occurrence. Based upon probabilistic modeling, a stronger seasonal effect in reported fox rabies cases appears at higher latitudes in Alaska, and rabies in arctic foxes appear disproportionately affected by climatic factors in comparison to red foxes. As temperatures continue a warming trend a decrease in reported rabid arctic foxes may be expected. The overall epidemiology of rabies in Alaska is likely to shift to increased viral transmission among red foxes as the primary reservoir in the region. Information on fox and lemming demographics, in addition to enhanced rabies surveillance among foxes at finer geographic scales, will be critical to develop more comprehensive models for rabies virus transmission in the region. PMID:23452510

  16. Mechanism of Gene Amplification via Yeast Autonomously Replicating Sequences

    PubMed Central

    Dhar, M. K.

    2015-01-01

    The present investigation was aimed at understanding the molecular mechanism of gene amplification. Interplay of fragile sites in promoting gene amplification was also elucidated. The amplification promoting sequences were chosen from the Saccharomyces cerevisiae ARS, 5S rRNA regions of Plantago ovata and P. lagopus, proposed sites of replication pausing at Ste20 gene locus of S. cerevisiae, and the bend DNA sequences within fragile site FRA11A in humans. The gene amplification assays showed that plasmid bearing APS from yeast and human beings led to enhanced protein concentration as compared to the wild type. Both the in silico and in vitro analyses were pointed out at the strong bending potential of these APS. In addition, high mitotic stability and presence of TTTT repeats and SAR amongst these sequences encourage gene amplification. Phylogenetic analysis of S. cerevisiae ARS was also conducted. The combinatorial power of different aspects of APS analyzed in the present investigation was harnessed to reach a consensus about the factors which stimulate gene expression, in presence of these sequences. It was concluded that the mechanism of gene amplification was that AT rich tracts present in fragile sites of yeast serve as binding sites for MAR/SAR and DNA unwinding elements. The DNA protein interactions necessary for ORC activation are facilitated by DNA bending. These specific bindings at ORC promote repeated rounds of DNA replication leading to gene amplification. PMID:25685838

  17. Network topology of stable isotope interactions in a sub-arctic raptor guild.

    PubMed

    Dalerum, F; Hellström, P; Miranda, M; Nyström, J; Ekenstedt, J; Angerbjörn, A

    2016-10-01

    Predation is an ecologically important process, and intra-guild interactions may substantially influence the ecological effects of predator species. Despite a rapid expansion in the use of mathematical graph theory to describe trophic relations, network approaches have rarely been used to study interactions within predator assemblages. Assemblages of diurnal raptors are subject to substantial intra- and interspecific competition. Here we used the novel approach of applying analyzes based on network topology to species-specific data on the stable isotopes (13)C and (15)N in feathers to evaluate patterns of relative resource utilization within a guild of diurnal raptors in northern Sweden. Our guild consisted of the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), the gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus), the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) and the rough-legged buzzard (Buteo lagopus). We found a modular trophic interaction structure within the guild, but the interactions were less nested than expected by chance. These results suggest low redundancy and hence a strong ecological importance of individual species. Our data also suggested that species were less connected through intra-guild interactions than expected by chance. We interpret our results as a convergence on specific isotope niches, and that body size and different hunting behaviour may mediate competition within these niches. We finally highlight that generalist predators could be ecologically important by linking specialist predator species with disparate dietary niches. PMID:27209296

  18. Reproductive characteristics of migratory golden eagles in Denali National Park, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McIntyre, Carol L.; Adams, Layne G.

    1999-01-01

    We describe reproductive characteristics of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) breeding in Denali National Park, Alaska during an entire snowshoe hare( Lepus americanus) cycle, 1988-1997. Data on nesting eagles were collected at 58 to 72 nesting areas annually using two aerial surveys. Surveys were conducted during the incubation period to determine occupancy and nesting activities and late in the nestling period to count nestlings and determine nesting success. Annual occupancy rates of nesting areas did not vary significantly, whereas laying rates, success rates, and mean brood size varied significantly over the study period. Fledgling production for the study population varied sevenfold during the ten-year period. Laying rates, mean brood size, and overall population productivity were significantly correlated with abundance of cyclic snowshoe hare and Willow Ptarmigan (Lugopus lagopus) populations. Reproductive rates of Golden Eagles in Denali were similar to those of Golden Eagles from other high latitude study areas in North America, but lower than for Golden Eagles from temperate zone study areas in North America.

  19. Unexpected diversity of the cestode Echinococcus multilocularis in wildlife in Canada.

    PubMed

    Gesy, Karen M; Schurer, Janna M; Massolo, Alessandro; Liccioli, Stefano; Elkin, Brett T; Alisauskas, Ray; Jenkins, Emily J

    2014-08-01

    Echinococcus multilocularis is a zoonotic cestode with a distribution encompassing the northern hemisphere that causes alveolar hydatid disease in people and other aberrant hosts. E. multilocularis is not genetically uniform across its distribution, which may have implications for zoonotic transmission and pathogenicity. Recent findings of a European-type haplotype of E. multilocularis in wildlife in one location in western Canada motivated a broader survey of the diversity of this parasite in wildlife from northern and western Canada. We obtained intact adult cestodes of E. multilocularis from the intestines of 41 wild canids (wolf - Canis lupus, coyote - Canis latrans, and red fox - Vulpes vulpes), taeniid eggs from 28 fecal samples from Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), and alveolar hydatid cysts from 39 potential rodent intermediate hosts. Upon sequencing a 370-nucelotide region of the NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 (nad1) mitochondrial locus, 17 new haplotypes were identified. This constitutes a much higher diversity than expected, as only two genotypes (European and an Asian/North American) had previously been identified using this locus. The European-type strain, recently introduced, may be widespread in wildlife within western Canada, possibly related to the large home ranges and wide dispersal range of wild canids. This study increased understanding of the biogeographic distribution, prevalence and genetic differences of a globally important pathogenic cestode in northern and western Canada. PMID:25161905

  20. Organophosphorous flame retardants in biota from Svalbard, Norway.

    PubMed

    Hallanger, Ingeborg G; Sagerup, Kjetil; Evenset, Anita; Kovacs, Kit M; Leonards, Pim; Fuglei, Eva; Routti, Heli; Aars, Jon; Strøm, Hallvard; Lydersen, Christian; Gabrielsen, Geir Wing

    2015-12-15

    Eight arctic species, including fish, birds and mammals, from diverse habitats (marine and terrestrial) within the Svalbard Archipelago, Norway, were screened for 14 organophosphorus flame retardant (PFR) compounds. Ten PFRs were detected: tris(2-chloroethyl)phosphate (TCEP), tris(2-chloroisopropyl)phosphate (TCIPP), tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl)phosphate (TDCIPP), triphenyl phosphate (TPHP); 2-ethylhexyl diphenyl phosphate (EHDPP); tris(2-butoxyethyl)phosphate (TBOEP); tritolyl phosphate (TCrP); triisobutyl phosphate (TIBP); tris(2-ethylhexyl)phosphate (TEHP); and butyl diphenyl phosphate (DPhBP). The greatest number of different PFR compounds, and the highest detection frequency were measured in capelin (Mallotus villotus), and the lowest in Brünnich's guillemot (Uria lomvia). The highest concentrations of ΣPFR, as well as the highest concentration of a single PFR compound, TBOEP, were measured in arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus). The presence of PFR compounds in arctic biota indicates that these compounds can undergo long-range transport and are, to some degree, persistent and bioaccumulated. The potential for biomagnification from fish to higher trophic levels seems to be limited. PMID:26453403

  1. Signatures of large-scale and local climates on the demography of white-tailed ptarmigan in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA.

    PubMed

    Wang, Guiming; Hobbs, N Thompson; Galbraith, Hector; Giesen, Kenneth M

    2002-09-01

    Global climate change may impact wildlife populations by affecting local weather patterns, which, in turn, can impact a variety of ecological processes. However, it is not clear that local variations in ecological processes can be explained by large-scale patterns of climate. The North Atlantic oscillation (NAO) is a large-scale climate phenomenon that has been shown to influence the population dynamics of some animals. Although effects of the NAO on vertebrate population dynamics have been studied, it remains uncertain whether it broadly predicts the impact of weather on species. We examined the ability of local weather data and the NAO to explain the annual variation in population dynamics of white-tailed ptarmigan ( Lagopus leucurus) in Rocky Mountain National Park, USA. We performed canonical correlation analysis on the demographic subspace of ptarmigan and local-climate subspace defined by the empirical orthogonal function (EOF) using data from 1975 to 1999. We found that two subspaces were significantly correlated on the first canonical variable. The Pearson correlation coefficient of the first EOF values of the demographic and local-climate subspaces was significant. The population density and the first EOF of local-climate subspace influenced the ptarmigan population with 1-year lags in the Gompertz model. However, the NAO index was neither related to the first two EOF of local-climate subspace nor to the first EOF of the demographic subspace of ptarmigan. Moreover, the NAO index was not a significant term in the Gompertz model for the ptarmigan population. Therefore, local climate had stronger signature on the demography of ptarmigan than did a large-scale index, i.e., the NAO index. We conclude that local responses of wildlife populations to changing climate may not be adequately explained by models that project large-scale climatic patterns.

  2. A hierarchical model combining distance sampling and time removal to estimate detection probability during avian point counts

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Amundson, Courtney L.; Royle, J. Andrew; Handel, Colleen M.

    2014-01-01

    Imperfect detection during animal surveys biases estimates of abundance and can lead to improper conclusions regarding distribution and population trends. Farnsworth et al. (2005) developed a combined distance-sampling and time-removal model for point-transect surveys that addresses both availability (the probability that an animal is available for detection; e.g., that a bird sings) and perceptibility (the probability that an observer detects an animal, given that it is available for detection). We developed a hierarchical extension of the combined model that provides an integrated analysis framework for a collection of survey points at which both distance from the observer and time of initial detection are recorded. Implemented in a Bayesian framework, this extension facilitates evaluating covariates on abundance and detection probability, incorporating excess zero counts (i.e. zero-inflation), accounting for spatial autocorrelation, and estimating population density. Species-specific characteristics, such as behavioral displays and territorial dispersion, may lead to different patterns of availability and perceptibility, which may, in turn, influence the performance of such hierarchical models. Therefore, we first test our proposed model using simulated data under different scenarios of availability and perceptibility. We then illustrate its performance with empirical point-transect data for a songbird that consistently produces loud, frequent, primarily auditory signals, the Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla); and for 2 ptarmigan species (Lagopus spp.) that produce more intermittent, subtle, and primarily visual cues. Data were collected by multiple observers along point transects across a broad landscape in southwest Alaska, so we evaluated point-level covariates on perceptibility (observer and habitat), availability (date within season and time of day), and abundance (habitat, elevation, and slope), and included a nested point

  3. Falcon versus grouse: flight adaptations of a predator and its prey

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pennycuick, C.J.; Fuller, M.R.; Oar, J.J.; Kirkpatrick, S.J.

    1994-01-01

    Several falcons were trained to fly along a 500 m course to a lure. The air speeds of the more consistent performers averaged about 1.5 times their calculated minimum power speeds, and occasionally reached 2.1 times the minimum power speed. Wing beat frequencies of all the falcons were above those estimated from earlier field observations, and the same was true of wild Sage Grouse Centrocercus urophasianus, a regular falconer's quarry in the study area. Measurements of grouse killed by falcons showed that their wings were short, with broad slotted tips, whereas the falcons' wings were longer in relation to their body mass, and tapered. The short wings of grouse result in fast flight, high power requirements, and reduced capacity for aerobic flight. Calculations indicated that the grouse should fly faster than the falcons, and had the large amount of flight muscle needed to do so, but that the falcons would be capable of prolonged aerobic flight, whereas the grouse probably would not. We surmise that Sage Grouse cannot fly continuously without incurring an oxygen debt, and are therefore not long-distance migrants, although this limitation is partly due to their large size, and would not apply to smaller galliform birds such as ptarmigan Lagopus spp. The wing action seen in video recordings of the falcons was not consistent with the maintenance of constant circulation. We call it 'chase mode' because it appears to be associated with a high level of muscular exertion, without special regard to fuel economy. It shows features in common with the 'bounding' flight of passerines.

  4. Effects of Climate Change on Habitat Availability and Configuration for an Endemic Coastal Alpine Bird

    PubMed Central

    Jackson, Michelle M.; Gergel, Sarah E.; Martin, Kathy

    2015-01-01

    North America’s coastal mountains are particularly vulnerable to climate change, yet harbour a number of endemic species. With little room “at the top” to track shifting climate envelopes, alpine species may be especially negatively affected by climate-induced habitat fragmentation. We ask how climate change will affect the total amount, mean patch size, and number of patches of suitable habitat for Vancouver Island White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura saxatilis; VIWTP), a threatened, endemic alpine bird. Using a Random Forest model and a unique dataset consisting of citizen science observations combined with field surveys, we predict the distribution and configuration of potential suitable summer habitat for VIWTP under baseline and future (2020s, 2050s, and 2080s) climates using three general circulation models and two greenhouse gas scenarios. VIWTP summer habitat is predicted to decline by an average of 25%, 44%, and 56% by the 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s, respectively, under the low greenhouse gas scenario and 27%, 59%, and 74% under the high scenario. Habitat patches are predicted to become fragmented, with a 52–79% reduction in mean patch size. The average elevation of suitable habitat patches is expected to increase, reflecting a loss of patches at lower elevations. Thus ptarmigan are in danger of being “squeezed off the mountain”, as their remaining suitable habitat will be increasingly confined to mountaintops in the center of the island. The extent to which ptarmigan will be able to persist in increasingly fragmented habitat is unclear. Much will depend on their ability to move throughout a more heterogeneous landscape, utilize smaller breeding areas, and survive increasingly variable climate extremes. Our results emphasize the importance of continued monitoring and protection for high elevation specialist species, and suggest that White-tailed Ptarmigan should be considered an indicator species for alpine ecosystems in the face of climate

  5. Inventory of montane-nesting birds in Katmai and Lake Clark national parks and preserves

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ruthrauff, Daniel R.; Tibbitts, Lee; Gill, Robert E.; Handel, Colleen M.

    2007-01-01

    As part of the National Park Service’s Inventory and Monitoring Program, biologists from the U. S. Geological Survey’s Alaska Science Center conducted an inventory of birds in montane regions of Katmai and Lake Clark National Parks and Preserves during 2004–2006. We used a stratified random survey design to allocate samples by ecological subsection. To survey for birds, we conducted counts at 468 points across 29, 10-km x 10-km (6.2-mi x 6.2-mi) sample plots in Katmai and 417 points across 25, 10-km x 10-km sample plots in Lake Clark. We detected 92 and 104 species in Katmai and Lake Clark, respectively, including 40 species of conservation concern. We detected three species not previously recorded in Katmai (Ring-necked Duck [Aythya collaris], Lesser Scaup [Aythya affinis], and White-tailed Ptarmigan [Lagopus leucurus]) and two species not previously recorded in Lake Clark (Northern Flicker [Colaptes auratus ] and Olive-sided Flycatcher [Contopus cooperi]). The most commonly detected species in both parks was Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla); Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) and American Pipit (Anthus rubescens) were abundant and widely-distributed as well. We defined sites as low (100–350 m), middle (351–600 m), or high (601–1,620 m) elevation based on the distribution of vegetation cover, and similarly categorized the 34 most-commonly detected species based on the mean elevation of sample points at which they were detected. High elevation (i.e., alpine) sites were characterized by high percent cover of dwarf shrub and bare ground habitat and supported species like Rock Ptarmigan (L. mutus), American Golden-Plover (Pluvialis dominica), Wandering Tattler (Tringa incana), Surfbird (Aphriza virgata), and Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis), all species of conservation concern. This inventory represents the first systematic survey of birds nesting in montane regions of both parks. Results from this inventory can form the foundation of

  6. Effects of Seasonal Weather on Breeding Phenology and Reproductive Success of Alpine Ptarmigan in Colorado

    PubMed Central

    Wann, Gregory T.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Braun, Clait E.

    2016-01-01

    Animal populations occurring at high elevations are often assumed to be in peril of extinctions or local extirpations due to elevational-dispersal limitations and thermoregulatory constraints as habitats change and warm. However, long-term monitoring of high-elevation populations is uncommon relative to those occurring at lower elevations, and evidence supporting this assumption is limited. We analyzed 45 years of reproductive data for two Colorado populations of white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura), an alpine-endemic species with restricted distribution in western North America. Seasonal temperatures measured by the number of growing degree days warmed significantly at our study sites for pre-nesting, nesting, and brood-rearing seasonal periods (mean advance of 8 growing degree days per decade), and both populations advanced their reproductive phenology over the study period based on median hatch dates (median advance of 3.7 and 1.9 days per decade for the northern and southern sites, respectively). Reproductive performance measured by the number of chicks per hen declined significantly at one study site but not the other, and differences between sites may have been due to habitat degradation at one study area. Annual variability in chicks per hen was large at both sites but only weakly related to seasonal weather. An index of precipitation and temperature during the brood-rearing period was the best predictor for reproductive success with warm and dry conditions relating positively to number of chicks per hen. Our results provide evidence for two alpine ptarmigan populations that are remarkably invariant to fluctuations in seasonal weather with respect to reproductive success as measured by number of chicks per hen in the breeding population. These results are surprising given the general perception of alpine animal populations as being highly sensitive to warming temperatures. PMID:27420478

  7. Characterization of a New Epidemic Necrotic Pyoderma in Fur Animals and Its Association with Arcanobacterium phocae Infection

    PubMed Central

    Nordgren, Heli; Aaltonen, Kirsi; Sironen, Tarja; Kinnunen, Paula M.; Kivistö, Ilkka; Raunio-Saarnisto, Mirja; Moisander-Jylhä, Anna-Maria; Korpela, Johanna; Kokkonen, Ulla-Maija; Hetzel, Udo; Sukura, Antti; Vapalahti, Olli

    2014-01-01

    A new type of pyoderma was detected in Finnish fur animals in 2007. The disease continues to spread within and between farms, with severe and potentially fatal symptoms. It compromises animal welfare and causes considerable economic losses to farmers. A case-control study was performed in 2010–2011 to describe the entity and to identify the causative agent. Altogether 99 fur animals were necropsied followed by pathological and microbiological examination. The data indicated that the disease clinically manifests in mink (Neovison vison) by necrotic dermatitis of the feet and facial skin. In finnraccoons (Nyctereutes procyonoides), it causes painful abscesses in the paws. Foxes (Vulpes lagopus) are affected by severe conjunctivitis and the infection rapidly spreads to the eyelids and facial skin. A common finding at necropsy was necrotic pyoderma. Microbiological analysis revealed the presence of a number of potential causative agents, including a novel Streptococcus sp. The common finding from all diseased animals of all species was Arcanobacterium phocae. This bacterium has previously been isolated from marine mammals with skin lesions but this is the first report of A. phocae isolated in fur animals with pyoderma. The results obtained from this study implicate A. phocae as a potential causative pathogen of fur animal epidemic necrotic pyoderma (FENP) and support observations that the epidemic may have originated in a species -shift of the causative agent from marine mammals. The variable disease pattern and the presence of other infectious agents (in particular the novel Streptococcus sp.) suggest a multifactorial etiology for FENP, and further studies are needed to determine the environmental, immunological and infectious factors contributing to the disease. PMID:25302603

  8. Interference in the tundra predator guild studied using local ecological knowledge.

    PubMed

    Ehrich, Dorothee; Strømeng, Marita A; Killengreen, Siw T

    2016-04-01

    The decline or recolonization of apex predators such as wolves and lynx, often driven by management decisions, and the expansion of smaller generalist predators such as red foxes, can have important ecosystem impacts. The mesopredator release hypothesis proposes that apex predators control medium-sized predator populations through competition and/or intraguild predation. The decline of apex predators thus leads to an increase in mesopredators, possibly with a negative impact on prey populations. Information about the abundance of mammalian tundra predators, wolf (Canis lupus), wolverine (Gulo gulo), lynx (Lynx lynx), red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) was collected from local active outdoors people during semi-structured interviews in 14 low arctic or sub-arctic settlements in western Eurasia. The perceived abundance of red fox decreased with higher wolf abundance and in more arctic areas, but the negative effect of wolves decreased in more arctic and therefore less productive ecosystems. The perceived abundance of arctic fox increased towards the arctic and in areas with colder winters. Although there was a negative correlation between the two fox species, red fox was not included in the model for perceived arctic fox abundance, which received most support. Our results support the mesopredator release hypothesis regarding the expansion of red foxes in subarctic areas and indicate that top-down control by apex predators is weaker in less productive and more arctic ecosystems. We showed that local ecological knowledge is a valuable source of information about large-scale processes, which are difficult to study through direct biological investigations.

  9. Effects of Climate Change on Habitat Availability and Configuration for an Endemic Coastal Alpine Bird.

    PubMed

    Jackson, Michelle M; Gergel, Sarah E; Martin, Kathy

    2015-01-01

    North America's coastal mountains are particularly vulnerable to climate change, yet harbour a number of endemic species. With little room "at the top" to track shifting climate envelopes, alpine species may be especially negatively affected by climate-induced habitat fragmentation. We ask how climate change will affect the total amount, mean patch size, and number of patches of suitable habitat for Vancouver Island White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura saxatilis; VIWTP), a threatened, endemic alpine bird. Using a Random Forest model and a unique dataset consisting of citizen science observations combined with field surveys, we predict the distribution and configuration of potential suitable summer habitat for VIWTP under baseline and future (2020s, 2050s, and 2080s) climates using three general circulation models and two greenhouse gas scenarios. VIWTP summer habitat is predicted to decline by an average of 25%, 44%, and 56% by the 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s, respectively, under the low greenhouse gas scenario and 27%, 59%, and 74% under the high scenario. Habitat patches are predicted to become fragmented, with a 52-79% reduction in mean patch size. The average elevation of suitable habitat patches is expected to increase, reflecting a loss of patches at lower elevations. Thus ptarmigan are in danger of being "squeezed off the mountain", as their remaining suitable habitat will be increasingly confined to mountaintops in the center of the island. The extent to which ptarmigan will be able to persist in increasingly fragmented habitat is unclear. Much will depend on their ability to move throughout a more heterogeneous landscape, utilize smaller breeding areas, and survive increasingly variable climate extremes. Our results emphasize the importance of continued monitoring and protection for high elevation specialist species, and suggest that White-tailed Ptarmigan should be considered an indicator species for alpine ecosystems in the face of climate change. PMID

  10. High exposure rates of anticoagulant rodenticides in predatory bird species in intensively managed landscapes in Denmark.

    PubMed

    Christensen, Thomas Kjær; Lassen, Pia; Elmeros, Morten

    2012-10-01

    The extensive use of anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) for rodent control has led to widespread secondary exposure in nontarget predatory wildlife species. We investigated exposure rates and concentrations of five ARs in liver samples from five raptors and six owls from Denmark. A total of 430 birds were analysed. ARs were detected in 84-100 % of individual birds within each species. Multiple AR exposure was detected in 73 % of all birds. Average number of substances detected in individual birds was 2.2 with no differences between owls and raptors. Difenacoum, bromadiolone, and brodifacoum were the most prevalent substances and occurred in the highest concentrations. Second-generation ARs made up 96 % of the summed AR burden. Among the six core species (sample size >30), summed AR concentrations were lower in rough-legged buzzard (Buteo lagopus) and long-eared owl (Asio otus) than in barn owl (Tyto alba), buzzard (B. buteo), kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), and tawny owl (Strix aluco). There was a strong tendency for seasonal variations in the summed AR concentration with levels being lowest during autumn, which is probably related to an influx of less-exposed migrating birds from northern Scandinavia during autumn. High hepatic AR residue concentrations (>100 ng/g wet weight), which have been associated with symptoms of rodenticide poisoning and increased mortality, were recorded high frequencies (12.9-37.4 %) in five of the six core species. The results suggest that the present use of ARs in Denmark, at least locally, may have adverse effects on reproduction and, ultimately, population status in some raptors and owls. PMID:22588365

  11. Bald eagles and sea otters in the Aleutian Archipelago: indirect effects of trophic cascades.

    PubMed

    Anthony, Robert G; Estes, James A; Ricca, Mark A; Miles, A Keith; Forsman, Eric D

    2008-10-01

    Because sea otters (Enhydra lutris) exert a wide array of direct and indirect effects on coastal marine ecosystems throughout their geographic range, we investigated the potential influence of sea otters on the ecology of Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, USA. We studied the diets, productivity, and density of breeding Bald Eagles on four islands during 1993-1994 and 2000-2002, when sea otters were abundant and scarce, respectively. Bald Eagles depend on nearshore marine communities for most of their prey in this ecosystem, so we predicted that the recent decline in otter populations would have an indirect negative effect on diets and demography of Bald Eagles. Contrary to our predictions, we found no effects on density of breeding pairs on four islands from 1993-1994 to 2000-2002. In contrast, diets and diet diversity of Bald Eagles changed considerably between the two time periods, likely reflecting a change in prey availability resulting from the increase and subsequent decline in sea otter populations. The frequency of sea otter pups, rock greenling (Hexagammus lagocephalus), and smooth lumpsuckers (Aptocyclus ventricosus) in the eagle's diet declined with corresponding increases in Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus), Glaucous-winged Gulls (Larus glaucescens), Atka mackerel (Pleurogrammus monopterygius), and various species of seabirds during the period of the recent otter population decline. Breeding success and productivity of Bald Eagles also increased during this time period, which may be due to the higher nutritional quality of avian prey consumed in later years. Our results provide further evidence of the wide-ranging indirect effects of sea otter predation on nearshore marine communities and another apex predator, the Bald Eagle. Although the indirect effects of sea otters are widely known, this example is unique because the food-web pathway transcended five species and several trophic levels in linking one apex predator

  12. Importance of the national petroleum reserve-alaska for aquatic birds.

    PubMed

    Bart, Jonathan; Platte, Robert M; Andres, Brad; Brown, Stephen; Johnson, James A; Larned, William

    2013-12-01

    We used data from aerial surveys (1992-2010) of >100,000 km(2) and ground surveys (1998-2004) of >150 km(2) to estimate the density and abundance of birds on the North Slope of Alaska (U.S.A.). In the ground surveys, we used double sampling to estimate detection ratios. We used the aerial survey data to compare densities of birds and Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), the major nest predator of birds, on the North Slope, in Prudhoe Bay, and in nearby areas. We partitioned the Prudhoe Bay oil field into 2 × 2 km plots and determined the relation between density of aquatic birds and density of roads, buildings, and other infrastructure in these plots. Abundance and density (birds per square kilometer) of 3 groups of aquatic birds-waterfowl, loons, and grebes; shorebirds; and gulls, terns, and jaegers-were highest in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA) and lowest in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Six other major wetlands occur in the Arctic regions of Canada and Russia, but the largest population of aquatic birds was in the NPRA. Aquatic birds were concentrated in the northern part of the NPRA. For example, an area that covered 18% of the NPRA included 53% of its aquatic birds. The aerial surveys showed that bird density was not lower and fox density was not higher in Prudhoe Bay than in surrounding areas. Density of infrastructure did not significantly affect bird density for any group of species. Our results establish that the NPRA is one of the most important areas for aquatic birds in the Arctic. Our results and those of others also indicate that oil production, as practiced in Prudhoe Bay, does not necessarily lead to substantial declines in bird density or productivity in or near the developed areas. Prioridades para la Conservación de Aves en el Norte de Alaska. PMID:23937114

  13. Immunogenic and antigenic activity of an experimental oral rabies vaccine prepared from the strain Vnukovo-32/107.

    PubMed

    Svrcek, S; Durove, A; Ondrejka, R; Závadová, J; Süliová, J; Benísek, Z; Vrtiak, O J; Feketeová, J; Mad'ar, M

    1995-03-01

    The immunogenic and antigenic activity of an experimental live oral rabies vaccine prepared from the strain Vnukovo-32/107 was evaluated on the basis of results obtained in 3 sets of experiments. These were carried out as model experiments on white mice, then on target animals--red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and a related species--farm-bred polar foxes (Alopex lagopus). For quantitative determination of the immunogenic activity of the orally or subcutaneously administered rabies vaccines in model experiments on mice a method was used that had been developed in our laboratory. Antibodies were detected and quantified by an ELISA kit that had also been developed in our lab. Tenacity of the experimental vaccine (infectious tissue culture medium after yolk addition) was verified at different temperatures; the effects of storage temperature upon virus titre and immunogenic activity were investigated. An important part of the experiments--evaluation of the antigenic and immunogenic activity of the live vaccine at oral vaccination (vaccination baits, conditions simulating field vaccination) was carried out in foxes. The immunogenic activity (challenge experiments with a street virus on day 180 and 360 after vaccination) was evaluated in common foxes (Vulpes vulpes). The results document a high immunogenic and antigenic activity of the experimental live oral rabies vaccine. The strain Vnukovo-32/107 is suitable for the industrial manufacturing of vaccination baits. In the target species--common foxes challenged on day 180 after primovaccination an 83% protection was observed. Challenge on day 180 after revaccination (or day 360 after primovaccination), the orally immunized foxes proved to be 100% protected. For parallel evaluation of the immunogenic activity of an oral vaccine and for antibody titration it is recommended to employ the quantitative mice test and an ELISA technique, respectively.

  14. Predation pressure by avian predators suggests summer limitation of small-mammal populations in the Canadian Arctic.

    PubMed

    Therrien, J F; Gauthier, G; Korpimäki, E; Bêty, J

    2014-01-01

    Predation has been suggested to be especially important in simple food webs and less productive ecosystems such as the arctic tundra, but very few data are available to evaluate this hypothesis. We examined the hypothesis that avian predators could drive the population dynamics of two cyclic lemming species in the Canadian Arctic. A dense and diverse suite of predatory birds, including the Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus), the Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus), and the Long-tailed Jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus), inhabits the arctic tundra and prey on collared (Dicrostonyx groenlandicus) and brown (Lemmus trimucronatus) lemmings during the snow-free period. We evaluated the predation pressure exerted by these predators by combining their numerical (variation in breeding and fledgling numbers) and functional (variation in diet and daily consumption rates) responses to variations in lemming densities over the 2004-2010 period. Breeding density and number of fledglings produced by the three main avian predators increased sharply without delay in response to increasing lemming densities. The proportion of collared lemmings in the diet of those predators was high at low lemming density (both species) but decreased as lemming density increased. However, we found little evidence that their daily consumption rates vary in relation to changes in lemming density. Total consumption rate by avian predators initially increased more rapidly for collared lemming but eventually leveled off at a much higher value for brown lemmings, the most abundant species at our site. The combined daily predation rate of avian predators exceeded the maximum daily potential growth rates of both lemming species except at the highest recorded densities for brown lemmings. We thus show, for the first time, that predation pressure exerted without delay by avian predators can limit populations of coexisting lemming species during the snow-free period, and thus, that predation could play a role in the

  15. Effects of Seasonal Weather on Breeding Phenology and Reproductive Success of Alpine Ptarmigan in Colorado.

    PubMed

    Wann, Gregory T; Aldridge, Cameron L; Braun, Clait E

    2016-01-01

    Animal populations occurring at high elevations are often assumed to be in peril of extinctions or local extirpations due to elevational-dispersal limitations and thermoregulatory constraints as habitats change and warm. However, long-term monitoring of high-elevation populations is uncommon relative to those occurring at lower elevations, and evidence supporting this assumption is limited. We analyzed 45 years of reproductive data for two Colorado populations of white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura), an alpine-endemic species with restricted distribution in western North America. Seasonal temperatures measured by the number of growing degree days warmed significantly at our study sites for pre-nesting, nesting, and brood-rearing seasonal periods (mean advance of 8 growing degree days per decade), and both populations advanced their reproductive phenology over the study period based on median hatch dates (median advance of 3.7 and 1.9 days per decade for the northern and southern sites, respectively). Reproductive performance measured by the number of chicks per hen declined significantly at one study site but not the other, and differences between sites may have been due to habitat degradation at one study area. Annual variability in chicks per hen was large at both sites but only weakly related to seasonal weather. An index of precipitation and temperature during the brood-rearing period was the best predictor for reproductive success with warm and dry conditions relating positively to number of chicks per hen. Our results provide evidence for two alpine ptarmigan populations that are remarkably invariant to fluctuations in seasonal weather with respect to reproductive success as measured by number of chicks per hen in the breeding population. These results are surprising given the general perception of alpine animal populations as being highly sensitive to warming temperatures. PMID:27420478

  16. Signatures of large-scale and local climates on the demography of white-tailed ptarmigan in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Guiming; Hobbs, Thompson; Galbraith, Hector; Giesen, Kenneth

    2002-06-01

    Global climate change may impact wildlife populations by affecting local weather patterns, which, in turn, can impact a variety of ecological processes. However, it is not clear that local variations in ecological processes can be explained by large-scale patterns of climate. The North Atlantic oscillation (NAO) is a large-scale climate phenomenon that has been shown to influence the population dynamics of some animals. Although effects of the NAO on vertebrate population dynamics have been studied, it remains uncertain whether it broadly predicts the impact of weather on species. We examined the ability of local weather data and the NAO to explain the annual variation in population dynamics of white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucurus) in Rocky Mountain National Park, USA. We performed canonical correlation analysis on the demographic subspace of ptarmigan and local-climate subspace defined by the empirical orthogonal function (EOF) using data from 1975 to 1999. We found that two subspaces were significantly correlated on the first canonical variable. The Pearson correlation coefficient of the first EOF values of the demographic and local-climate subspaces was significant. The population density and the first EOF of local-climate subspace influenced the ptarmigan population with 1-year lags in the Gompertz model. However, the NAO index was neither related to the first two EOF of local-climate subspace nor to the first EOF of the demographic subspace of ptarmigan. Moreover, the NAO index was not a significant term in the Gompertz model for the ptarmigan population. Therefore, local climate had stronger signature on the demography of ptarmigan than did a large-scale index, i.e., the NAO index. We conclude that local responses of wildlife populations to changing climate may not be adequately explained by models that project large-scale climatic patterns.

  17. Importance of the national petroleum reserve-alaska for aquatic birds.

    PubMed

    Bart, Jonathan; Platte, Robert M; Andres, Brad; Brown, Stephen; Johnson, James A; Larned, William

    2013-12-01

    We used data from aerial surveys (1992-2010) of >100,000 km(2) and ground surveys (1998-2004) of >150 km(2) to estimate the density and abundance of birds on the North Slope of Alaska (U.S.A.). In the ground surveys, we used double sampling to estimate detection ratios. We used the aerial survey data to compare densities of birds and Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), the major nest predator of birds, on the North Slope, in Prudhoe Bay, and in nearby areas. We partitioned the Prudhoe Bay oil field into 2 × 2 km plots and determined the relation between density of aquatic birds and density of roads, buildings, and other infrastructure in these plots. Abundance and density (birds per square kilometer) of 3 groups of aquatic birds-waterfowl, loons, and grebes; shorebirds; and gulls, terns, and jaegers-were highest in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA) and lowest in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Six other major wetlands occur in the Arctic regions of Canada and Russia, but the largest population of aquatic birds was in the NPRA. Aquatic birds were concentrated in the northern part of the NPRA. For example, an area that covered 18% of the NPRA included 53% of its aquatic birds. The aerial surveys showed that bird density was not lower and fox density was not higher in Prudhoe Bay than in surrounding areas. Density of infrastructure did not significantly affect bird density for any group of species. Our results establish that the NPRA is one of the most important areas for aquatic birds in the Arctic. Our results and those of others also indicate that oil production, as practiced in Prudhoe Bay, does not necessarily lead to substantial declines in bird density or productivity in or near the developed areas. Prioridades para la Conservación de Aves en el Norte de Alaska.

  18. Oral Rabies Vaccination in North America: Opportunities, Complexities, and Challenges

    PubMed Central

    Slate, Dennis; Algeo, Timothy P.; Nelson, Kathleen M.; Chipman, Richard B.; Donovan, Dennis; Blanton, Jesse D.; Niezgoda, Michael; Rupprecht, Charles E.

    2009-01-01

    Steps to facilitate inter-jurisdictional collaboration nationally and continentally have been critical for implementing and conducting coordinated wildlife rabies management programs that rely heavily on oral rabies vaccination (ORV). Formation of a national rabies management team has been pivotal for coordinated ORV programs in the United States of America. The signing of the North American Rabies Management Plan extended a collaborative framework for coordination of surveillance, control, and research in border areas among Canada, Mexico, and the US. Advances in enhanced surveillance have facilitated sampling of greater scope and intensity near ORV zones for improved rabies management decision-making in real time. The value of enhanced surveillance as a complement to public health surveillance was best illustrated in Ohio during 2007, where 19 rabies cases were detected that were critical for the formulation of focused contingency actions for controlling rabies in this strategically key area. Diverse complexities and challenges are commonplace when applying ORV to control rabies in wild meso-carnivores. Nevertheless, intervention has resulted in notable successes, including the elimination of an arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) rabies virus variant in most of southern Ontario, Canada, with ancillary benefits of elimination extending into Quebec and the northeastern US. Progress continues with ORV toward preventing the spread and working toward elimination of a unique variant of gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) rabies in west central Texas. Elimination of rabies in coyotes (Canis latrans) through ORV contributed to the US being declared free of canine rabies in 2007. Raccoon (Procyon lotor) rabies control continues to present the greatest challenges among meso-carnivore rabies reservoirs, yet to date intervention has prevented this variant from gaining a broad geographic foothold beyond ORV zones designed to prevent its spread from the eastern US. Progress continues

  19. Alpine plant community trends on the elk summer range of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado: An analysis of existing data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zeigenfuss, Linda C.

    2006-01-01

    The majority of the elk (Cervus elaphus) population of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado summer in the park’s high-elevation alpine and subalpine meadows and willow krummholz. The park’s population of white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucurus altipetens) depends on both dwarf and krummholz willows for food and cover. Concern about the effects of elk herbivory on these communities prompted the monitoring of 12 vegetation transects in these regions from 1971 to 1996. Over this 25-year period, data were collected on plant species cover and frequency and shrub heights. These data have not been statistically analyzed for trends in the measured variables over time to determine changes in species abundance. Krummholz willow species (Salix planifolia, S. brachycarpa) declined 17–20 percent in cover and about 25 centimeters in height over the study period. Graminoids (particularly Deschampsia caespitosa, Carex, and Poa) increased slightly from 1971 to 1996. No significant increases of nonnative plant species were observed. An increase in presence of bare ground over the 25-year period warrants continued measurement of these transects. Lack of good data on elk density, distribution, or use levels precludes correlating changes in plant species cover, frequency, or heights with elk population trends. I recommend development of a more rigorously designed monitoring program that includes these transects as well as others chosen on a random or stratified design and consistent measurement protocol and sampling intervals. Some method of quantifying elk use, either through measurement of plant utilization, pellet counts, or census-type surveys, would allow correlation of changes in plant species over time with changes in elk distribution and density on the park’s alpine and subalpine regions.

  20. Biogeochemistry and nitrogen cycling in an Arctic, volcanic ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fogel, M. L.; Benning, L.; Conrad, P. G.; Eigenbrode, J.; Starke, V.

    2007-12-01

    As part of a study on Mars Analogue environments, the biogeochemistry of Sverrefjellet Volcano, Bocfjorden, Svalbard, was conducted and compared to surrounding glacial, thermal spring, and sedimentary environments. An understanding of how nitrogen might be distributed in a landscape that had extinct or very cold adapted, slow- growing extant organisms should be useful for detecting unknown life forms. From high elevations (900 m) to the base of the volcano (sea level), soil and rock ammonium concentrations were uniformly low, typically less than 1- 3 micrograms per gm of rock or soil. In weathered volcanic soils, reduced nitrogen concentrations were higher, and oxidized nitrogen concentrations lower. The opposite was found in a weathered Devonian sedimentary soil. Plants and lichens growing on volcanic soils have an unusually wide range in N isotopic compositions from -5 to +12‰, a range rarely measured in temperate ecosystems. Nitrogen contents and isotopic compositions of volcanic soils and rocks were strongly influenced by the presence or absence of terrestrial herbivores or marine avifauna with higher concentrations of N and elevated N isotopic compositions occurring as patches in areas immediately influenced by reindeer, Arctic fox ( Alopex lagopus), and marine birds. Because of the extreme conditions in this area, ephemeral deposition of herbivore feces results in a direct and immediate N pulses into the ecosystem. The lateral extent and distribution of marine- derived nitrogen was measured on a landscape scale surrounding an active fox den. Nitrogen was tracked from the bones of marine birds to soil to vegetation. Because of extreme cold, slow biological rates and nitrogen cycling, a mosaic of N patterns develops on the landscape scale.

  1. Effects of Climate Change on Habitat Availability and Configuration for an Endemic Coastal Alpine Bird.

    PubMed

    Jackson, Michelle M; Gergel, Sarah E; Martin, Kathy

    2015-01-01

    North America's coastal mountains are particularly vulnerable to climate change, yet harbour a number of endemic species. With little room "at the top" to track shifting climate envelopes, alpine species may be especially negatively affected by climate-induced habitat fragmentation. We ask how climate change will affect the total amount, mean patch size, and number of patches of suitable habitat for Vancouver Island White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura saxatilis; VIWTP), a threatened, endemic alpine bird. Using a Random Forest model and a unique dataset consisting of citizen science observations combined with field surveys, we predict the distribution and configuration of potential suitable summer habitat for VIWTP under baseline and future (2020s, 2050s, and 2080s) climates using three general circulation models and two greenhouse gas scenarios. VIWTP summer habitat is predicted to decline by an average of 25%, 44%, and 56% by the 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s, respectively, under the low greenhouse gas scenario and 27%, 59%, and 74% under the high scenario. Habitat patches are predicted to become fragmented, with a 52-79% reduction in mean patch size. The average elevation of suitable habitat patches is expected to increase, reflecting a loss of patches at lower elevations. Thus ptarmigan are in danger of being "squeezed off the mountain", as their remaining suitable habitat will be increasingly confined to mountaintops in the center of the island. The extent to which ptarmigan will be able to persist in increasingly fragmented habitat is unclear. Much will depend on their ability to move throughout a more heterogeneous landscape, utilize smaller breeding areas, and survive increasingly variable climate extremes. Our results emphasize the importance of continued monitoring and protection for high elevation specialist species, and suggest that White-tailed Ptarmigan should be considered an indicator species for alpine ecosystems in the face of climate change.

  2. Estimates of annual survival, growth, and recruitment of a white-tailed ptarmigan population in Colorado over 43 years

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wann, Greg; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Braun, Clait E.

    2014-01-01

    Long-term datasets for high-elevation species are rare, and considerable uncertainty exists in understanding how high-elevation populations have responded to recent climate warming. We present estimates of demographic vital rates from a 43-year population study of white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura), a species endemic to alpine habitats in western North America. We used capture-recapture models to estimate annual rates of apparent survival, population growth, and recruitment for breeding-age ptarmigan, and we fit winter weather covariates to models in an attempt to explain annual variation. There were no trends in survival over the study period but there was strong support for age and sex effects. The average rate of annual growth suggests a relatively stable breeding-age population ( λ ¯ = 1.036), but there was considerable variation between years for both population growth and recruitment rates. Winter weather covariates only explained a small amount of variation in female survival and were not an important predictor of male survival. Cumulative winter precipitation was found to have a quadratic effect on female survival, with survival being highest during years of average precipitation. Cumulative winter precipitation was positively correlated with population growth and recruitment rates, although this covariate only explained a small amount of annual variation in these rates and there was considerable uncertainty among the models tested. Our results provide evidence for an alpine-endemic population that has not experienced extirpation or drastic declines. However, more information is needed to understand risks and vulnerabilities of warming effects on juveniles as our analysis was confined to determination of vital rates for breeding-age birds.

  3. Genetic characterisation of Toxoplasma gondii in wildlife from North America revealed widespread and high prevalence of the fourth clonal type.

    PubMed

    Dubey, J P; Velmurugan, G V; Rajendran, C; Yabsley, M J; Thomas, N J; Beckmen, K B; Sinnett, D; Ruid, D; Hart, J; Fair, P A; McFee, W E; Shearn-Bochsler, V; Kwok, O C H; Ferreira, L R; Choudhary, S; Faria, E B; Zhou, H; Felix, T A; Su, C

    2011-09-01

    Little is known of the genetic diversity of Toxoplasma gondii circulating in wildlife. In the present study wild animals, from the USA were examined for T. gondii infection. Tissues of naturally exposed animals were bioassayed in mice for isolation of viable parasites. Viable T. gondii was isolated from 31 animals including, to our knowledge for the first time, from a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), five gray wolves (Canis lupus), a woodrat (Neotoma micropus), and five Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus). Additionally, 66 T. gondii isolates obtained previously, but not genetically characterised, were revived in mice. Toxoplasma gondii DNA isolated from these 97 samples (31+66) was characterised using 11 PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) markers (SAG1, 5'- and 3'-SAG2, alt.SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1 and Apico). A total of 95 isolates were successfully genotyped. In addition to clonal Types II, and III, 12 different genotypes were found. These genotype data were combined with 74 T. gondii isolates previously characterised from wildlife from North America and a composite data set of 169 isolates comprised 22 genotypes, including clonal Types II, III and 20 atypical genotypes. Phylogenetic network analysis showed limited diversity with dominance of a recently designated fourth clonal type (Type 12) in North America, followed by the Type II and III lineages. These three major lineages together accounted for 85% of strains in North America. The Type 12 lineage includes previously identified Type A and X strains from sea otters. This study revealed that the Type 12 lineage accounts for 46.7% (79/169) of isolates and is dominant in wildlife of North America. No clonal Type I strain was identified among these wildlife isolates. These results suggest that T. gondii strains in wildlife from North America have limited diversity, with the occurrence of only a few major clonal types. PMID:21802422

  4. Bald eagles and sea otters in the Aleutian Archipelago: indirect effects of trophic cascades.

    PubMed

    Anthony, Robert G; Estes, James A; Ricca, Mark A; Miles, A Keith; Forsman, Eric D

    2008-10-01

    Because sea otters (Enhydra lutris) exert a wide array of direct and indirect effects on coastal marine ecosystems throughout their geographic range, we investigated the potential influence of sea otters on the ecology of Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, USA. We studied the diets, productivity, and density of breeding Bald Eagles on four islands during 1993-1994 and 2000-2002, when sea otters were abundant and scarce, respectively. Bald Eagles depend on nearshore marine communities for most of their prey in this ecosystem, so we predicted that the recent decline in otter populations would have an indirect negative effect on diets and demography of Bald Eagles. Contrary to our predictions, we found no effects on density of breeding pairs on four islands from 1993-1994 to 2000-2002. In contrast, diets and diet diversity of Bald Eagles changed considerably between the two time periods, likely reflecting a change in prey availability resulting from the increase and subsequent decline in sea otter populations. The frequency of sea otter pups, rock greenling (Hexagammus lagocephalus), and smooth lumpsuckers (Aptocyclus ventricosus) in the eagle's diet declined with corresponding increases in Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus), Glaucous-winged Gulls (Larus glaucescens), Atka mackerel (Pleurogrammus monopterygius), and various species of seabirds during the period of the recent otter population decline. Breeding success and productivity of Bald Eagles also increased during this time period, which may be due to the higher nutritional quality of avian prey consumed in later years. Our results provide further evidence of the wide-ranging indirect effects of sea otter predation on nearshore marine communities and another apex predator, the Bald Eagle. Although the indirect effects of sea otters are widely known, this example is unique because the food-web pathway transcended five species and several trophic levels in linking one apex predator

  5. Regional distribution shifts help explain local changes in wintering raptor abundance: implications for interpreting population trends.

    PubMed

    Paprocki, Neil; Heath, Julie A; Novak, Stephen J

    2014-01-01

    Studies of multiple taxa across broad-scales suggest that species distributions are shifting poleward in response to global climate change. Recognizing the influence of distribution shifts on population indices will be an important part of interpreting trends within management units because current practice often assumes that changes in local populations reflect local habitat conditions. However, the individual- and population-level processes that drive distribution shifts may occur across a large, regional scale and have little to do with the habitats within the management unit. We examined the latitudinal center of abundance for the winter distributions of six western North America raptor species using Christmas Bird Counts from 1975-2011. Also, we considered whether population indices within western North America Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs) were explained by distribution shifts. All six raptors had significant poleward shifts in their wintering distributions over time. Rough-legged Hawks (Buteo lagopus) and Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) showed the fastest rate of change, with 8.41 km yr(-1) and 7.74 km yr(-1) shifts, respectively. Raptors may be particularly responsive to warming winters because of variable migration tendencies, intraspecific competition for nesting sites that drives males to winter farther north, or both. Overall, 40% of BCR population trend models were improved by incorporating information about wintering distributions; however, support for the effect of distribution on BCR indices varied by species with Rough-legged Hawks showing the most evidence. These results emphasize the importance of understanding how regional distribution shifts influence local-scale population indices. If global climate change is altering distribution patterns, then trends within some management units may not reflect changes in local habitat conditions. The methods used to monitor and manage bird populations within local BCRs will fundamentally change as

  6. Regional Distribution Shifts Help Explain Local Changes in Wintering Raptor Abundance: Implications for Interpreting Population Trends

    PubMed Central

    Paprocki, Neil; Heath, Julie A.; Novak, Stephen J.

    2014-01-01

    Studies of multiple taxa across broad-scales suggest that species distributions are shifting poleward in response to global climate change. Recognizing the influence of distribution shifts on population indices will be an important part of interpreting trends within management units because current practice often assumes that changes in local populations reflect local habitat conditions. However, the individual- and population-level processes that drive distribution shifts may occur across a large, regional scale and have little to do with the habitats within the management unit. We examined the latitudinal center of abundance for the winter distributions of six western North America raptor species using Christmas Bird Counts from 1975–2011. Also, we considered whether population indices within western North America Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs) were explained by distribution shifts. All six raptors had significant poleward shifts in their wintering distributions over time. Rough-legged Hawks (Buteo lagopus) and Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) showed the fastest rate of change, with 8.41 km yr−1 and 7.74 km yr−1 shifts, respectively. Raptors may be particularly responsive to warming winters because of variable migration tendencies, intraspecific competition for nesting sites that drives males to winter farther north, or both. Overall, 40% of BCR population trend models were improved by incorporating information about wintering distributions; however, support for the effect of distribution on BCR indices varied by species with Rough-legged Hawks showing the most evidence. These results emphasize the importance of understanding how regional distribution shifts influence local-scale population indices. If global climate change is altering distribution patterns, then trends within some management units may not reflect changes in local habitat conditions. The methods used to monitor and manage bird populations within local BCRs will fundamentally change as

  7. Sarcocystis arctica (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae): ultrastructural description and its new host record, the Alaskan wolf (Canis lupus).

    PubMed

    Calero-Bernal, Rafael; Cerqueira-Cézar, Camila K; Verma, Shiv Kumar; Mowery, Joseph; Carmena, David; Beckmen, Kimberlee; Dubey, Jitender P

    2016-07-01

    Sarcocystis sarcocysts are common in muscles of herbivores but are rare in muscles of carnivores. Here, we report sarcocysts in the muscles of a gray wolf (Canis lupus) from Alaska, USA, for the first time. Sarcocysts extracted from the tongue of the wolf were up to 900 μm long and slender and appeared to have a relatively thin wall by light microscope. By transmission electron microscopy, the sarcocyst wall most closely resembled "type 9c," and had a wavy parasitophorous vacuolar membrane folded as pleomorphic villar protrusions (vp), with anastomoses of tips. The vp and the ground substance (gs) layer were smooth without tubules or granules. The gs was up to 2.0 μm thick. The total width of the wall including vp and the gs was 3.5 μm. The vp were up to 1.5 μm long. Mature sarcocysts contained numerous bradyzoites and few metrocytes. The bradyzoites were 9.5 μm long and 1.5 μm wide, and contained all organelles found in Sarcocystis bradyzoites with at least two rhoptries. Molecular characterization showed the highest identity for 18S rRNA, 28S rRNA, ITS-1, and cox1 sequences of Sarcocystis arctica of the Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) from Norway. The ultrastructure of S. arctica from the fox is unknown. Here, we provide ultrastructure of S. arctica from the Alaskan wolf for the first time. The definitive host of S. arctica remains unknown. PMID:27112760

  8. Bald eagles and sea otters in the Aleutian Archipelago: indirect effects of trophic cascades.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anthony, R.G.; Estes, J.A.; Ricca, M.A.; Miles, A.K.; Forsman, E.D.

    2008-01-01

    Because sea otters (Enhydra lutris) exert a wide array of direct and indirect effects on coastal marine ecosystems throughout their geographic range, we investigated the potential influence of sea otters on the ecology of Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, USA. We studied the diets, productivity, and density of breeding Bald Eagles on four islands during 1993-1994 and 2000-2002, when sea otters were abundant and scarce, respectively. Bald Eagles depend on nearshore marine communities for most of their prey in this ecosystem, so we predicted that the recent decline in otter populations would have an indirect negative effect on diets and demography of Bald Eagles. Contrary to our predictions, we found no effects on density of breeding pairs on four islands from 1993-1994 to 2000-2002. In contrast, diets and diet diversity of Bald Eagles changed considerably between the two time periods, likely reflecting a change in prey availability resulting from the increase and subsequent decline in sea otter populations. The frequency of sea otter pups, rock greenling (Hexagammus lagocephalus), and smooth lumpsuckers (Aptocyclus ventricosus) in the eagle's diet declined with corresponding increases in Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus), Glaucous-winged Gulls (Larus glaucescens), Atka mackerel (Pleurogrammus monopterygius), and various species of seabirds during the period of the recent otter population decline. Breeding success and productivity of Bald Eagles also increased during this time period, which may be due to the higher nutritional quality of avian prey consumed in later years. Our results provide further evidence of the wide-ranging indirect effects of sea otter predation on nearshore marine communities and another apex predator, the Bald Eagle. Although the indirect effects of sea otters are widely known, this example is unique because the food-web pathway transcended five species and several trophic levels in linking one apex predator

  9. Genetic structure of the Common Eider in the western Aleutian Islands prior to fox eradication

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Wilson, Robert E.; Petersen, Margaret R.; Williams, Jeffrey C.; Byrd, G. Vernon; McCracken, Kevin G.

    2013-01-01

    Since the late 18th century bird populations residing in the Aleutian Archipelago have been greatly reduced by introduced arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus). We analyzed data from microsatellite, nuclear intron, and mitochondrial (mtDNA) loci to examine the spatial genetic structure, demography, and gene flow among four Aleutian Island populations of the Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) much reduced by introduced foxes. In mtDNA, we found high levels of genetic structure within and between island groups (ΦST = 0.643), but we found no population subdivision in microsatellites or nuclear introns. Differences in genetic structure between the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes are consistent with the Common Eider's breeding and winter biology, as females are highly philopatric and males disperse. Nevertheless, significant differences between islands in the mtDNA of males and marginal significance (P =0.07) in the Z-linked locus Smo 1 suggest that males may also have some level of fidelity to island groups. Severe reduction of populations by the fox, coupled with females' high philopatry, may have left the genetic signature of a bottleneck effect, resulting in the high levels of genetic differentiation observed in mtDNA (ΦST = 0.460–0.807) between islands only 440 km apart. Reestablishment of the Common Eider following the fox's eradication was likely through recruitment from within the islands and bolstered by dispersal from neighboring islands, as suggested by the lack of genetic structure and asymmetry in gene flow between Attu and the other Near Islands.

  10. Morphological and molecular characterization and phylogenetic placement of Sarcocystis capreolicanis and Sarcocystis silva n. sp. from roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) in Norway.

    PubMed

    Gjerde, Bjørn

    2012-03-01

    Sarcocysts were isolated from the muscle tissue of three roe deer from southeastern Norway and examined by light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and/or sequencing of the small subunit ribosomal RNA (ssu rRNA) gene. By light microscopy, four sarcocyst types were found, including those of Sarcocystis gracilis and Sarcocystis oviformis, which had been characterized previously. The third cyst type had about 10 μm long, flexible, hair-like surface protrusions, consistent with those of Sarcocystis capreolicanis, and differed genetically from other known species. The name S. capreolicanis was therefore assigned to this sequence type. The fourth cyst type had densely packed, upright, finger-like surface protrusions, about 8 μm long, and was morphologically similar to an unnamed Sarcocystis sp. reported from roe deer in other countries, and identical at the ssu rRNA gene to Sarcocystis sp. Type D previously reported from moose. This species was assigned the new name Sarcocystis silva. Both S. capreolicanis and S. silva displayed considerable intraspecific variation at the ssu rRNA gene. In phylogenetic analyses based on ssu rRNA gene sequences, S. capreolicanis grouped together with other canine-transmitted Sarcocystis species, whereas S. silva was most closely related to Sarcocystis rangiferi and Sarcocystis tarandi of reindeer. Roe deer muscles containing numerous cysts of S. gracilis were fed to a silver fox (Vulpes vulpes) and a blue fox (Vulpes lagopus), both of which started shedding Sarcocystis sporocysts in their faeces 9 days later, and harboured numerous oocysts, measuring about 20 × 15 μm, in their intestinal mucosa upon euthanasia 14 days post-inoculation. DNA derived from these oocysts was amplified and sequenced at the ssu rRNA gene and belonged to S. gracilis, confirming for the first time by molecular methods that foxes are definitive hosts for this species. PMID:21853224

  11. Importance of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska for aquatic birds

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bart, Jonathan; Platte, Robert M.; Andres, Brad; Brown, Stephen; Johnson, James A.; Larned, William

    2013-01-01

    We used data from aerial surveys (1992–2010) of >100,000 km2 and ground surveys (1998–2004) of >150 km2 to estimate the density and abundance of birds on the North Slope of Alaska (U.S.A.). In the ground surveys, we used double sampling to estimate detection ratios. We used the aerial survey data to compare densities of birds and Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), the major nest predator of birds, on the North Slope, in Prudhoe Bay, and in nearby areas. We partitioned the Prudhoe Bay oil field into 2 × 2 km plots and determined the relation between density of aquatic birds and density of roads, buildings, and other infrastructure in these plots. Abundance and density (birds per square kilometer) of 3 groups of aquatic birds—waterfowl, loons, and grebes; shorebirds; and gulls, terns, and jaegers—were highest in the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska (NPRA) and lowest in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Six other major wetlands occur in the Arctic regions of Canada and Russia, but the largest population of aquatic birds was in the NPRA. Aquatic birds were concentrated in the northern part of the NPRA. For example, an area that covered 18% of the NPRA included 53% of its aquatic birds. The aerial surveys showed that bird density was not lower and fox density was not higher in Prudhoe Bay than in surrounding areas. Density of infrastructure did not significantly affect bird density for any group of species. Our results establish that the NPRA is one of the most important areas for aquatic birds in the Arctic. Our results and those of others also indicate that oil production, as practiced in Prudhoe Bay, does not necessarily lead to substantial declines in bird density or productivity in or near the developed areas.

  12. Plants as bioindicators for archaeological prospection: a case of study from Domitian's Stadium in the Palatine (Rome, Italy).

    PubMed

    Ceschin, S; Caneva, G

    2013-06-01

    In this study, we analyzed the relationship between buried archaeological remains (masonries, pavements, and ancient ruins) and spontaneous vegetation growing above them. We carried out several vegetation surveys in the Domitian's Stadium at the archaeological site of the Palatine (Rome). Vegetation data were collected using the Braun-Blanquet approach and elaborated using statistical analyses (cluster analysis) to assess the similarity among surveys. Structural, chorological, and ecological features of the plant communities were analyzed. Results showed that the vegetation responds significantly to the presence of sub-emerging ancient remains. The plant bioindication of this phenomenon occurs through the following floristic-vegetation variations: phenological alterations in single individuals (reduction in height, displacement of flowering/fruiting period), increase of annual species and decrease of perennial ones, decrease of total plant coverage, reduction of maturity level of the vegetation which remains blocked at a pioneer evolutive stage. The presence of sub-surfacing ruins manifests itself through the dominant occurrence of xerophilous and not-nitrophilous species (e.g., Hypochaeris achyrophorus L., Aira elegantissima Schur, Trifolium scabrum L. ssp. scabrum, Trifolium stellatum L., Plantago lagopus L., Medicago minima (L.) L., and Catapodium rigidum (L.) C.E. Hubb. ex Dony ssp. rigidum) and in a rarefaction of more mesophilous and nitrophilous species (e.g., Plantago lanceolata L., Trifolium pratense L. ssp. pratense, Trifolium repens L. ssp. repens, and Poa trivialis L.). Therefore, the vegetation can be used as bioindicator for the detection of buried ruins, contributing in the archaeological prospection for a general, fast, and inexpensive interpretation of the underground.

  13. Impact of transient climate change upon Grouse population dynamics in the Italian Alps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pirovano, Andrea; Bocchiola, Daniele

    2010-05-01

    Understanding the effect of short to medium term weather condition, and of transient global warming upon wildlife species life history is essential to predict the demographic consequences therein, and possibly develop adaptation strategies, especially in game species, where hunting mortality may play an important role in population dynamics. We carried out a preliminary investigation of observed impact of weather variables upon population dynamics indexes of three alpine Grouse species (i.e. Rock Ptarmigan, Lagopus Mutus, Black Grouse, Tetrao Tetrix, Rock Partridge, Alectoris Graeca), nested within central Italian Alps, based upon 15 years (1995-2009) of available censuses data, provided by the Sondrio Province authority. We used a set of climate variables already highlighted within recent literature for carrying considerable bearing on Grouse population dynamics, including e.g. temperature at hatching time and during winter, snow cover at nesting, and precipitation during nursing period. We then developed models of Grouses' population dynamics by explicitly driving population change according to their dependence upon the significant weather variables and population density and we evaluated objective indexes to assess the so obtained predictive power. Eventually, we develop projection of future local climate, based upon locally derived trends, and upon projections from GCMs (A2 IPCC storyline) already validated for the area, to project forward in time (until 2100 or so) the significant climatic variables, which we then use to force population dynamics models of the target species. The projected patterns obtained through this exercise are discussed and compared against those expected under stationary climate conditions at present, and preliminary conclusions are drawn.

  14. Genetic characterisation of Toxoplasma gondii in wildlife from North America revealed widespread and high prevalence of the fourth clonal type

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dubey, J.P.; Velmurugan, G.V.; Ragendran, C.; Yabsley, M.J.; Thomas, N.J.; Beckmen, K.B.; Sinnett, D.; Ruid, D.; Hart, J.; Fair, P.A.; McFee, W.E.; Shearn-Bochsler, V.; Kwok, O.C.H.; Ferreira, L.R.; Choudhary, S.; Faria, E.B.; Zhou, H.; Felix, T.A.; Su, C.

    2011-01-01

    Little is known of the genetic diversity of Toxoplasma gondii circulating in wildlife. In the present study wild animals, from the USA were examined for T. gondii infection. Tissues of naturally exposed animals were bioassayed in mice for isolation of viable parasites. Viable T. gondii was isolated from 31 animals including, to our knowledge for the first time, from a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), five gray wolves (Canis lupus), a woodrat (Neotoma micropus), and five Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus). Additionally, 66 T. gondii isolates obtained previously, but not genetically characterised, were revived in mice. Toxoplasma gondii DNA isolated from these 97 samples (31+66) was characterised using 11 PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) markers (SAG1, 5'- and 3'-SAG2, alt.SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1 and Apico). A total of 95 isolates were successfully genotyped. In addition to clonal Types II, and III, 12 different genotypes were found. These genotype data were combined with 74 T. gondii isolates previously characterised from wildlife from North America and a composite data set of 169 isolates comprised 22 genotypes, including clonal Types II, III and 20 atypical genotypes. Phylogenetic network analysis showed limited diversity with dominance of a recently designated fourth clonal type (Type 12) in North America, followed by the Type II and III lineages. These three major lineages together accounted for 85% of strains in North America. The Type 12 lineage includes previously identified Type A and X strains from sea otters. This study revealed that the Type 12 lineage accounts for 46.7% (79/169) of isolates and is dominant in wildlife of North America. No clonal Type I strain was identified among these wildlife isolates. These results suggest that T. gondii strains in wildlife from North America have limited diversity, with the occurrence of only a few major clonal types.

  15. Microbial, chemical and physical aspects of citrus waste composting.

    PubMed

    van Heerden, I; Cronjé, C; Swart, S H; Kotzé, J M

    2002-01-01

    Citrus waste supplemented with calcium hydroxide and with a C/N ratio of 24:1, pH of 6.3 and moisture content of 60% was composted by piling under shelter. With regular turning over of the pile and replenishment of moisture, the thermic phase lasted for 65-70 days and composting was completed after 3 months. Compost thus prepared had an air-filled porosity of 14%, water-holding capacity of 590 ml l(-1), bulk density of 1.05 g cm(-3) and conductivity of 480 mS m(-1). Phosphorus content (in mg l(-1)) was 15, potassium 1,170, calcium 362, magnesium 121, sodium 32, chloride 143, boron 0.31, and water-soluble nitrogen and organic matter 126 and 4788, respectively. Total carbon amounted to 8.85% and total nitrogen to 1.26% of the dry weight, giving a C/N ratio of 7. Mature compost showed some, but acceptable, levels of phytotoxicity. Raw citrus waste was predominantly colonised by mesophilic yeasts. Thermophilous microorganisms present during the thermic phase mainly comprised the bacterial species Bacillus licheniformis, B. macerans and B. stearothermophilus and, to a lesser extent, fungi such as Absidia corymbifera, Aspergillus fumigatus, Emericella nidulans, Penicillium diversum, Paecilomyces variotii, Rhizomucor pusillus, Talaromyces thermophilus and Thermomyces lanuginosus. Bacteria prevalent in the final product included B. licheniformis, B. macerans, Proteus vulgaris, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, P. fluorescens, P. luteola and Serratia marcescens, whereas fungi isolated most frequently comprised Aspergillus puniceus, A. ustus, E. nidulans. Paecilomyces lilacinus, T lanuginosus, yeasts and a basidiomycetous species, probably Coprinus lagopus. PMID:11708757

  16. Interference in the tundra predator guild studied using local ecological knowledge.

    PubMed

    Ehrich, Dorothee; Strømeng, Marita A; Killengreen, Siw T

    2016-04-01

    The decline or recolonization of apex predators such as wolves and lynx, often driven by management decisions, and the expansion of smaller generalist predators such as red foxes, can have important ecosystem impacts. The mesopredator release hypothesis proposes that apex predators control medium-sized predator populations through competition and/or intraguild predation. The decline of apex predators thus leads to an increase in mesopredators, possibly with a negative impact on prey populations. Information about the abundance of mammalian tundra predators, wolf (Canis lupus), wolverine (Gulo gulo), lynx (Lynx lynx), red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) was collected from local active outdoors people during semi-structured interviews in 14 low arctic or sub-arctic settlements in western Eurasia. The perceived abundance of red fox decreased with higher wolf abundance and in more arctic areas, but the negative effect of wolves decreased in more arctic and therefore less productive ecosystems. The perceived abundance of arctic fox increased towards the arctic and in areas with colder winters. Although there was a negative correlation between the two fox species, red fox was not included in the model for perceived arctic fox abundance, which received most support. Our results support the mesopredator release hypothesis regarding the expansion of red foxes in subarctic areas and indicate that top-down control by apex predators is weaker in less productive and more arctic ecosystems. We showed that local ecological knowledge is a valuable source of information about large-scale processes, which are difficult to study through direct biological investigations. PMID:26686344

  17. Profile of persistent chlorinated contaminants, including selected chiral compounds, in wolverine (Gulo gulo) livers from the Canadian Arctic.

    PubMed

    Hoekstra, P F; Braune, B M; Wong, C S; Williamson, M; Elkin, B; Muir, D C G

    2003-11-01

    Wolverines (Gulo gulo) are circumpolar omnivores that live throughout the alpine and arctic tundra ecosystem. Wolverine livers were collected at Kugluktuk (Coppermine), NU (n=12) in the western Canadian Arctic to report, for the first time, the residue patterns of persistent organochlorine contaminants (OCs) in this species. The enantiomer fractions (EFs) of several chiral OCs, including PCB atropisomers, in wolverines were also determined. Results were compared to OC concentrations and EFs of chiral contaminants in arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) from Ulukhaqtuuq (Holman), NT (n=20); a closely related species that scavenges the marine and terrestrial arctic environment. The rank order of hepatic concentrations for sum ( summation operator ) OC groups in wolverines were polychlorinated biphenyls ( summation operator PCB)>chlordane-related components ( summation operator CHLOR)>DDT-related compounds ( summation operator DDT)>hexachlorocyclohexane isomers ( summation operator HCHs). The most abundant OC analytes detected in wolverine liver were PCB-153, PCB-180, and oxychlordane (OXY). Wolverine age and gender did not influence OC concentrations, which were comparable to lipid-normalized values in arctic fox. The EFs of several chiral OCs (alpha-HCH, cis- and trans-chlordane, OXY, heptachlor exo-epoxide) and PCB atropisomers (PCB-136, 149) were nonracemic in arctic fox and wolverine liver and similar to those previously calculated in arctic fox and polar bears from Iceland and the Canadian Arctic. Results suggest that these species have similar ability to biotransform OCs. As well, contaminant profiles suggest that terrestrial mammals do not represent the major source of OC exposure to wolverines and that wolverines are scavenging more contaminated prey items, such as marine mammals. While summation operator PCB did not exceed the concentrations associated with mammalian reproductive impairment, future research is required to properly evaluate the potential affect of

  18. Regional distribution shifts help explain local changes in wintering raptor abundance: implications for interpreting population trends.

    PubMed

    Paprocki, Neil; Heath, Julie A; Novak, Stephen J

    2014-01-01

    Studies of multiple taxa across broad-scales suggest that species distributions are shifting poleward in response to global climate change. Recognizing the influence of distribution shifts on population indices will be an important part of interpreting trends within management units because current practice often assumes that changes in local populations reflect local habitat conditions. However, the individual- and population-level processes that drive distribution shifts may occur across a large, regional scale and have little to do with the habitats within the management unit. We examined the latitudinal center of abundance for the winter distributions of six western North America raptor species using Christmas Bird Counts from 1975-2011. Also, we considered whether population indices within western North America Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs) were explained by distribution shifts. All six raptors had significant poleward shifts in their wintering distributions over time. Rough-legged Hawks (Buteo lagopus) and Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) showed the fastest rate of change, with 8.41 km yr(-1) and 7.74 km yr(-1) shifts, respectively. Raptors may be particularly responsive to warming winters because of variable migration tendencies, intraspecific competition for nesting sites that drives males to winter farther north, or both. Overall, 40% of BCR population trend models were improved by incorporating information about wintering distributions; however, support for the effect of distribution on BCR indices varied by species with Rough-legged Hawks showing the most evidence. These results emphasize the importance of understanding how regional distribution shifts influence local-scale population indices. If global climate change is altering distribution patterns, then trends within some management units may not reflect changes in local habitat conditions. The methods used to monitor and manage bird populations within local BCRs will fundamentally change as

  19. Detection probability of cliff-nesting raptors during helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft surveys in western Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Booms, T.L.; Schempf, P.F.; McCaffery, B.J.; Lindberg, M.S.; Fuller, M.R.

    2010-01-01

    We conducted repeated aerial surveys for breeding cliff-nesting raptors on the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge (YDNWR) in western Alaska to estimate detection probabilities of Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus), Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), Rough-legged Hawks (Buteo lagopus), and also Common Ravens (Corvus corax). Using the program PRESENCE, we modeled detection histories of each species based on single species occupancy modeling. We used different observers during four helicopter replicate surveys in the Kilbuck Mountains and five fixed-wing replicate surveys in the Ingakslugwat Hills near Bethel, AK. During helicopter surveys, Gyrfalcons had the highest detection probability estimate (p^;p^ 0.79; SE 0.05), followed by Golden Eagles (p^=0.68; SE 0.05), Common Ravens (p^=0.45; SE 0.17), and Rough-legged Hawks (p^=0.10; SE 0.11). Detection probabilities from fixed-wing aircraft in the Ingakslugwat Hills were similar to those from the helicopter in the Kilbuck Mountains for Gyrfalcons and Golden Eagles, but were higher for Common Ravens (p^=0.85; SE 0.06) and Rough-legged Hawks (p^=0.42; SE 0.07). Fixed-wing aircraft provided detection probability estimates and SEs in the Ingakslugwat Hills similar to or better than those from helicopter surveys in the Kilbucks and should be considered for future cliff-nesting raptor surveys where safe, low-altitude flight is possible. Overall, detection probability varied by observer experience and in some cases, by study area/aircraft type.

  20. Predation pressure by avian predators suggests summer limitation of small-mammal populations in the Canadian Arctic.

    PubMed

    Therrien, J F; Gauthier, G; Korpimäki, E; Bêty, J

    2014-01-01

    Predation has been suggested to be especially important in simple food webs and less productive ecosystems such as the arctic tundra, but very few data are available to evaluate this hypothesis. We examined the hypothesis that avian predators could drive the population dynamics of two cyclic lemming species in the Canadian Arctic. A dense and diverse suite of predatory birds, including the Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus), the Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus), and the Long-tailed Jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus), inhabits the arctic tundra and prey on collared (Dicrostonyx groenlandicus) and brown (Lemmus trimucronatus) lemmings during the snow-free period. We evaluated the predation pressure exerted by these predators by combining their numerical (variation in breeding and fledgling numbers) and functional (variation in diet and daily consumption rates) responses to variations in lemming densities over the 2004-2010 period. Breeding density and number of fledglings produced by the three main avian predators increased sharply without delay in response to increasing lemming densities. The proportion of collared lemmings in the diet of those predators was high at low lemming density (both species) but decreased as lemming density increased. However, we found little evidence that their daily consumption rates vary in relation to changes in lemming density. Total consumption rate by avian predators initially increased more rapidly for collared lemming but eventually leveled off at a much higher value for brown lemmings, the most abundant species at our site. The combined daily predation rate of avian predators exceeded the maximum daily potential growth rates of both lemming species except at the highest recorded densities for brown lemmings. We thus show, for the first time, that predation pressure exerted without delay by avian predators can limit populations of coexisting lemming species during the snow-free period, and thus, that predation could play a role in the

  1. Sarcocystis caninum and Sarcocystis svanai n. spp. (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae) Associated with Severe Myositis and Hepatitis in the Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris).

    PubMed

    Dubey, Jitender P; Sykes, Jane E; Shelton, G Diane; Sharp, Nick; Verma, Shiv K; Calero-Bernal, Rafael; Viviano, Jenifer; Sundar, Natarajan; Khan, Asis; Grigg, Michael E

    2015-01-01

    parasite known to infect Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus). PMID:25256157

  2. Intrapopulation Variability Shaping Isotope Discrimination and Turnover: Experimental Evidence in Arctic Foxes

    PubMed Central

    Lecomte, Nicolas; Ahlstrøm, Øystein; Ehrich, Dorothée; Fuglei, Eva; Ims, Rolf A.; Yoccoz, Nigel G.

    2011-01-01

    Background Tissue-specific stable isotope signatures can provide insights into the trophic ecology of consumers and their roles in food webs. Two parameters are central for making valid inferences based on stable isotopes, isotopic discrimination (difference in isotopic ratio between consumer and its diet) and turnover time (renewal process of molecules in a given tissue usually measured when half of the tissue composition has changed). We investigated simultaneously the effects of age, sex, and diet types on the variation of discrimination and half-life in nitrogen and carbon stable isotopes (δ15N and δ13C, respectively) in five tissues (blood cells, plasma, muscle, liver, nail, and hair) of a top predator, the arctic fox Vulpes lagopus. Methodology/Principal Findings We fed 40 farmed foxes (equal numbers of adults and yearlings of both sexes) with diet capturing the range of resources used by their wild counterparts. We found that, for a single species, six tissues, and three diet types, the range of discrimination values can be almost as large as what is known at the scale of the whole mammalian or avian class. Discrimination varied depending on sex, age, tissue, and diet types, ranging from 0.3‰ to 5.3‰ (mean  = 2.6‰) for δ15N and from 0.2‰ to 2.9‰ (mean  = 0.9‰) for δ13C. We also found an impact of population structure on δ15N half-life in blood cells. Varying across individuals, δ15N half-life in plasma (6 to 10 days) was also shorter than for δ13C (14 to 22 days), though δ15N and δ13C half-lives are usually considered as equal. Conclusion/Significance Overall, our multi-factorial experiment revealed that at least six levels of isotopic variations could co-occur in the same population. Our experimental analysis provides a framework for quantifying multiple sources of variation in isotopic discrimination and half-life that needs to be taken into account when designing and analysing ecological field studies. PMID:21731715

  3. Benefiting from a migratory prey: spatio-temporal patterns in allochthonous subsidization of an Arctic predator.

    PubMed

    Giroux, Marie-Andrée; Berteaux, Dominique; Lecomte, Nicolas; Gauthier, Gilles; Szor, Guillaume; Bêty, Joël

    2012-05-01

    1. Flows of nutrients and energy across ecosystem boundaries have the potential to subsidize consumer populations and modify the dynamics of food webs, but how spatio-temporal variations in autochthonous and allochthonous resources affect consumers' subsidization remains largely unexplored. 2. We studied spatio-temporal patterns in the allochthonous subsidization of a predator living in a relatively simple ecosystem. We worked on Bylot Island (Nunavut, Canada), where arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus L.) feed preferentially on lemmings (Lemmus trimucronatus and Dicrostonyx groenlandicus Traill), and alternatively on colonial greater snow geese (Anser caerulescens atlanticus L.). Geese migrate annually from their wintering grounds (where they feed on farmlands and marshes) to the Canadian Arctic, thus generating a strong flow of nutrients and energy across ecosystem boundaries. 3. We examined the influence of spatial variations in availability of geese on the diet of fox cubs (2003-2005) and on fox reproductive output (1996-2005) during different phases of the lemming cycle. 4. Using stable isotope analysis and a simple statistical routine developed to analyse the outputs of a multisource mixing model (SIAR), we showed that the contribution of geese to the diet of arctic fox cubs decreased with distance from the goose colony. 5. The probability that a den was used for reproduction by foxes decreased with distance from the subsidized goose colony and increased with lemming abundance. When lemmings were highly abundant, the effect of distance from the colony disappeared. The goose colony thus generated a spatial patterning of reproduction probability of foxes, while the lemming cycle generated a strong temporal variation of reproduction probability of foxes. 6. This study shows how the input of energy owing to the large-scale migration of prey affects the functional and reproductive responses of an opportunistic consumer, and how this input is spatially and

  4. Benefiting from a migratory prey: spatio-temporal patterns in allochthonous subsidization of an Arctic predator.

    PubMed

    Giroux, Marie-Andrée; Berteaux, Dominique; Lecomte, Nicolas; Gauthier, Gilles; Szor, Guillaume; Bêty, Joël

    2012-05-01

    1. Flows of nutrients and energy across ecosystem boundaries have the potential to subsidize consumer populations and modify the dynamics of food webs, but how spatio-temporal variations in autochthonous and allochthonous resources affect consumers' subsidization remains largely unexplored. 2. We studied spatio-temporal patterns in the allochthonous subsidization of a predator living in a relatively simple ecosystem. We worked on Bylot Island (Nunavut, Canada), where arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus L.) feed preferentially on lemmings (Lemmus trimucronatus and Dicrostonyx groenlandicus Traill), and alternatively on colonial greater snow geese (Anser caerulescens atlanticus L.). Geese migrate annually from their wintering grounds (where they feed on farmlands and marshes) to the Canadian Arctic, thus generating a strong flow of nutrients and energy across ecosystem boundaries. 3. We examined the influence of spatial variations in availability of geese on the diet of fox cubs (2003-2005) and on fox reproductive output (1996-2005) during different phases of the lemming cycle. 4. Using stable isotope analysis and a simple statistical routine developed to analyse the outputs of a multisource mixing model (SIAR), we showed that the contribution of geese to the diet of arctic fox cubs decreased with distance from the goose colony. 5. The probability that a den was used for reproduction by foxes decreased with distance from the subsidized goose colony and increased with lemming abundance. When lemmings were highly abundant, the effect of distance from the colony disappeared. The goose colony thus generated a spatial patterning of reproduction probability of foxes, while the lemming cycle generated a strong temporal variation of reproduction probability of foxes. 6. This study shows how the input of energy owing to the large-scale migration of prey affects the functional and reproductive responses of an opportunistic consumer, and how this input is spatially and

  5. Predator behaviour and predation risk in the heterogeneous Arctic environment.

    PubMed

    Lecomte, Nicolas; Careau, Vincent; Gauthier, Gilles; Giroux, Jean-François

    2008-05-01

    1. Habitat heterogeneity and predator behaviour can strongly affect predator-prey interactions but these factors are rarely considered simultaneously, especially when systems encompass multiple predators and prey. 2. In the Arctic, greater snow geese Anser caerulescens atlanticus L. nest in two structurally different habitats: wetlands that form intricate networks of water channels, and mesic tundra where such obstacles are absent. In this heterogeneous environment, goose eggs are exposed to two types of predators: the arctic fox Vulpes lagopus L. and a diversity of avian predators. We hypothesized that, contrary to birds, the hunting ability of foxes would be impaired by the structurally complex wetland habitat, resulting in a lower predation risk for goose eggs. 3. In addition, lemmings, the main prey of foxes, show strong population cycles. We thus further examined how their fluctuations influenced the interaction between habitat heterogeneity and fox predation on goose eggs. 4. An experimental approach with artificial nests suggested that foxes were faster than avian predators to find unattended goose nests in mesic tundra whereas the reverse was true in wetlands. Foxes spent 3.5 times more time between consecutive attacks on real goose nests in wetlands than in mesic tundra. Their attacks on goose nests were also half as successful in wetlands than in mesic tundra whereas no difference was found for avian predators. 5. Nesting success in wetlands (65%) was higher than in mesic tundra (56%) but the difference between habitats increased during lemming crashes (15%) compared to other phases of the cycle (5%). Nests located at the edge of wetland patches were also less successful than central ones, suggesting a gradient in accessibility of goose nests in wetlands for foxes. 6. Our study shows that the structural complexity of wetlands decreases predation risk from foxes but not avian predators in arctic-nesting birds. Our results also demonstrate that cyclic

  6. Some autecological characteristics of early to late successional tree species in Venezuela

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kammesheidt, Ludwig

    2000-01-01

    The breadth of the continuum concept of strategy with respect to succession was tested on 21 tree and shrub species common in either unlogged or logged stands, respectively, in the Forest Reserve of Caparo, Venezuela, by examining morphological, physiological and population characteristics. Based on a preliminary abundance analysis, `early', `mid' and `late' successional species as well as `generalists' were distinguished. Early successional species, i.e. Ochroma lagopus, Heliocarpus popayanensis and Cecropia peltata were similar in many autecological aspects, e.g. monolayered leaf arrangement, orthotropic architectural models, no adaptive reiteration, clumped distribution, but differed in gap association and distribution along a drainage gradient. Mid-successional species established themselves both in large and small gaps (> 300 m[sup2 ]; 80-300 m[sup2 ]) and showed a clumped to regular distribution pattern in logged areas; they exhibited more diverse crown and leaf characteristics than early successional species. Late successional species established themselves only in small gaps and understorey, and showed a regular spatial pattern in undisturbed areas. All late successional species displayed architectural models with plagiotropic lateral axes and showed a multilayered leaf arrangement. Adaptive reiteration was a common feature of late successional species which could be further subdivided into large, medium-sized and small trees, indicating different light requirements at maturity. Generalists were common treelet and shrub species in both disturbed and undisturbed sites where they are also capable of completing their life cycle. The light compensation point (LCP) of an individual plant was strongly influenced by its crown illuminance. Large late successional species showed the widest range of LCP values, reflecting the increasing light availability with increasing height in mature forest. On the basis of many autecological characteristics, it was found (i

  7. Sarcocystis caninum and Sarcocystis svanai n. spp. (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae) Associated with Severe Myositis and Hepatitis in the Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris).

    PubMed

    Dubey, Jitender P; Sykes, Jane E; Shelton, G Diane; Sharp, Nick; Verma, Shiv K; Calero-Bernal, Rafael; Viviano, Jenifer; Sundar, Natarajan; Khan, Asis; Grigg, Michael E

    2015-01-01

    parasite known to infect Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus).

  8. Factors influencing nesting success of king eiders on northern Alaska's Coastal Plain

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bentzen, R.L.; Powell, A.N.; Suydam, R.S.

    2008-01-01

    King eider (Somateria spectabilis) populations have declined markedly in recent decades for unknown reasons. Nest survival is one component of recruitment, and a female's chance of reproductive success increases with her ability to choose an appropriate nesting strategy. We estimated variation in daily nest survival of king eiders at 2 sites, Teshekpuk and Kuparuk, Alaska, USA, 2002-2005. We evaluated both a priori and exploratory competing models of nest survival that considered importance of nest concealment, seclusion, and incubation constancy as strategies to avoid 2 primary egg predators, avian (Larus spp., Stercorarius spp., and Corvus corax) and fox (Alopex lagopus). We used generalized nonlinear techniques to examine factors affecting nest survival rates and information-theoretic approaches to select among competing models. Estimated nest survival, accounting for a nest visitation effect, varied considerably across sites and years (0.21-0.57); however, given our small sample size, much of this variation maybe attributable to sampling variation (??process = 0.007, 95% CI: 0.003-0.070). Nest survival was higher at Kuparuk than Teshekpuk in all years; however, due to the correlative nature of our data, we cannot determine the underlying causes with any certainty. We found mixed support for the concealed breeding strategy, females derived no benefit from nesting in areas with more willow (Salix spp.; measure of concealment) except that the observer effect diminished as willow cover increased. We suggest these patterns are due to conflicting predation pressures. Nest survival was not higher on islands (measure of seclusion) or with increased incubation constancy but was higher post-fox removal, indicating that predator control on breeding grounds could be a viable management option. Nest survival was negatively affected by our nest visitations, most likely by exposing the nest to avian scavengers. We recommend precautions be taken to limit the effects of nest

  9. Predator behaviour and predation risk in the heterogeneous Arctic environment.

    PubMed

    Lecomte, Nicolas; Careau, Vincent; Gauthier, Gilles; Giroux, Jean-François

    2008-05-01

    1. Habitat heterogeneity and predator behaviour can strongly affect predator-prey interactions but these factors are rarely considered simultaneously, especially when systems encompass multiple predators and prey. 2. In the Arctic, greater snow geese Anser caerulescens atlanticus L. nest in two structurally different habitats: wetlands that form intricate networks of water channels, and mesic tundra where such obstacles are absent. In this heterogeneous environment, goose eggs are exposed to two types of predators: the arctic fox Vulpes lagopus L. and a diversity of avian predators. We hypothesized that, contrary to birds, the hunting ability of foxes would be impaired by the structurally complex wetland habitat, resulting in a lower predation risk for goose eggs. 3. In addition, lemmings, the main prey of foxes, show strong population cycles. We thus further examined how their fluctuations influenced the interaction between habitat heterogeneity and fox predation on goose eggs. 4. An experimental approach with artificial nests suggested that foxes were faster than avian predators to find unattended goose nests in mesic tundra whereas the reverse was true in wetlands. Foxes spent 3.5 times more time between consecutive attacks on real goose nests in wetlands than in mesic tundra. Their attacks on goose nests were also half as successful in wetlands than in mesic tundra whereas no difference was found for avian predators. 5. Nesting success in wetlands (65%) was higher than in mesic tundra (56%) but the difference between habitats increased during lemming crashes (15%) compared to other phases of the cycle (5%). Nests located at the edge of wetland patches were also less successful than central ones, suggesting a gradient in accessibility of goose nests in wetlands for foxes. 6. Our study shows that the structural complexity of wetlands decreases predation risk from foxes but not avian predators in arctic-nesting birds. Our results also demonstrate that cyclic

  10. Detection probability of gyrfalcons and other cliff-nesting raptors during aerial surveys in Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Booms, Travis L.; Fuller, Mark R.; Schempf, Philip F.; McCaffery, Brian J.; Lindberg, Mark S.; Watson, Richard T.; Cade, Tom J.; Fuller, Mark; Hunt, Grainger; Potapov, Eugene

    2011-01-01

    Assessing the status of Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus) and other cliffnesting raptors as the Arctic climate changes often requires aerial surveys of their breeding habitats. Because traditional, count-based surveys that do not adjust for differing detection probabilities can provide faulty inference about population status (Link and Sauer 1998, Thompson 2002), it will be important to incorporate measures of detection probability into survey methods whenever possible. To evaluate the feasibility of this, we conducted repeated aerial surveys for breeding cliff-nesting raptors on the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge (YDNWR) in western Alaska to estimate detection probabilities of Gyrfalcons, Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), Rough-legged Hawks (Buteo lagopus), and also Common Ravens (Corvus corax). Using the program PRESENCE, we modeled detection histories of each species based on single species occupancy modeling following MacKenzie et al. (2002, 2006). We used different observers during four helicopter replicate surveys in the Kilbuck Mountains and five fixed-wing replicate surveys in the Ingakslugwat Hills (hereafter called Volcanoes) near Bethel, Alaska. We used the following terms and definitions throughout: Survey Site: site of a nest used previously by a raptor and marked with a GPS-obtained latitude and longitude accurate to within 20 m. All GPS locations were obtained in prior years from a helicopter hovering approximately 10?20 m from a nest. The site was considered occupied if a bird or an egg was detected within approximately 500 m of the nest and this area served as our sampling unit. When multiple historical nests were located on a single cliff, we used only one GPS location to locate the survey site. Detection probability (p): the probability of a species being detected at a site given the site is occupied. Occupancy (?): the probability that the species of interest is present at a site during the survey period. A site was considered occupied if the

  11. Exposure and effects assessment of persistent organohalogen contaminants in arctic wildlife and fish.

    PubMed

    Letcher, Robert J; Bustnes, Jan Ove; Dietz, Rune; Jenssen, Bjørn M; Jørgensen, Even H; Sonne, Christian; Verreault, Jonathan; Vijayan, Mathilakath M; Gabrielsen, Geir W

    2010-07-01

    Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) encompass an array of anthropogenic organic and elemental substances and their degradation and metabolic byproducts that have been found in the tissues of exposed animals, especially POPs categorized as organohalogen contaminants (OHCs). OHCs have been of concern in the circumpolar arctic for decades. For example, as a consequence of bioaccumulation and in some cases biomagnification of legacy (e.g., chlorinated PCBs, DDTs and CHLs) and emerging (e.g., brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and in particular polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) including perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanic acid (PFOA) found in Arctic biota and humans. Of high concern are the potential biological effects of these contaminants in exposed Arctic wildlife and fish. As concluded in the last review in 2004 for the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) on the effects of POPs in Arctic wildlife, prior to 1997, biological effects data were minimal and insufficient at any level of biological organization. The present review summarizes recent studies on biological effects in relation to OHC exposure, and attempts to assess known tissue/body compartment concentration data in the context of possible threshold levels of effects to evaluate the risks. This review concentrates mainly on post-2002, new OHC effects data in Arctic wildlife and fish, and is largely based on recently available effects data for populations of several top trophic level species, including seabirds (e.g., glaucous gull (Larus hyperboreus)), polar bears (Ursus maritimus), polar (Arctic) fox (Vulpes lagopus), and Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus), as well as semi-captive studies on sled dogs (Canis familiaris). Regardless, there remains a dearth of data on true contaminant exposure, cause-effect relationships with respect to these contaminant exposures in Arctic wildlife and fish. Indications of exposure effects are largely

  12. First Report of 13 Species of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) in Mainland Portugal and Azores by Morphological and Molecular Characterization

    PubMed Central

    Pereira da Fonseca, Isabel; Delécolle, Jean-Claude; Wilson, Anthony; Meireles, José; Lucientes, Javier; Ribeiro, Rita; Boinas, Fernando

    2012-01-01

    The genus Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) contains important vectors of animal and human diseases, including bluetongue, African horse sickness and filariosis. A major outbreak of bluetongue occurred in mainland Portugal in 2004, forty eight years after the last recorded case. A national Entomological Surveillance Plan was initiated in mainland Portugal, Azores and the Madeira archipelagos in 2005 in order to better understand the disease and facilitate policy decisions. During the survey, the most prevalent Culicoides species in mainland Portugal was C. imicola (75.3%) and species belonging to the Obsoletus group (6.5%). The latter were the most prevalent in Azores archipelago, accounting for 96.7% of the total species identified. The Obsoletus group was further characterized by multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction to species level showing that only two species of this group were present: C. obsoletus sensu strictu (69.6%) and C. scoticus (30.4%). Nine species of Culicoides were detected for the first time in mainland Portugal: C. alazanicus, C. bahrainensis, C. deltus, C. lupicaris, C. picturatus, C. santonicus, C. semimaculatus, C. simulator and C. subfagineus. In the Azores, C. newsteadi and C. circumscriptus were identified for the first time from some islands, and bluetongue vectors belonging to the Obsoletus group (C. obsoletus and C. scoticus) were found to be widespread. PMID:22536340

  13. Contribution to the knowledge of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) host preferences in France.

    PubMed

    Ninio, Camille; Augot, Denis; Delecolle, Jean-Claude; Dufour, Barbara; Depaquit, Jerome

    2011-03-01

    Knowledge on host-feeding pattern of blood-sucking insects helps to understand the epidemiology of a vector-born disease. We determined blood meal origin from blood-fed Culicoides thanks to molecular techniques. A set of primers was used to selectively amplify segment of vertebrates' prepronociceptin gene from abdomen of engorged Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). Vertebrate DNA was successfully amplified in 91% of blood-fed Culicoides assayed. Direct sequencing and comparison of resultant sequences with sequences in GenBank, using BLAST, lead to the specific identification of the host in 100% of the cases. A total of 157 blood-fed females belonging to 13 different Culicoides' species were captured thanks to light traps in different areas of France between 2008 and 2009. Blood meal origin was determined for 143 blood-fed midges: 59 Culicoides obsoletus, 18 Culicoides dewulfi, 16 Culicoides scoticus, 11 Culicoides chiopterus, 10 Culicoides lupicaris, 1 Culicoides pulicaris, 8 Culicoides punctatus, 10 Culicoides pallidicornis, 3 Culicoides achrayi, 2 Culicoides furcillatus, 3 Culicoides brunnicans, 1 Culicoides picturatus and 1 Culicoides poperinghensis. The predominant species in our study belong to the C. obsoletus complex; they are considered as putative vectors of Bluetongue virus in the north of Europe. C. chiopterus sampled fed only on cattle, while blood meal origin of C. dewulfi, C. obsoletus and C. scoticus was diversified. In our sampling, we found that midges were fed mainly on cattle (54%), rabbits (20%), horses (17%), sheep (4%), pigs or wild boars (4%) and human (1%). Cattle DNA was found in at least 11 different species of Culicoides assayed.

  14. The European vectors of Bluetongue virus: are there species complexes, single species or races in Culicoides obsoletus and C. pulicaris detectable by sequencing ITS-1, ITS-2 and 18S-rDNA?

    PubMed

    Kiehl, Ernst; Walldorf, Volker; Klimpel, Sven; Al-Quraishy, Saleh; Mehlhorn, Heinz

    2009-08-01

    When studying the vectorship of Culicoides species during the outbreak of Bluetongue disease (BTD) in Central Europe, the question arose whether the most common species and additionally proven vectors of BTV (C. obsoletus and C. pulicaris) are definitive species or do they belong to so-called complexes, since the determination based on morphological criteria is not very significant and knowledge on the life cycles is poor or even absent. Therefore, the present molecular biological study on their ITS-1, ITS-2 and 18SrDNA characteristics was initiated to investigate specimens, which had been determined by their wing morphology during an entomological monitoring in the years 2007 and 2008 at 91 farms in Germany (Mehlhorn et al. 2009). This study revealed novel types respectively different forms, which appeared very similar to Culicoides obsoletus, but showed slightly varying wing patterns. The molecular biological data were compared to those in data banks and combined to provisional dendrograms. The ITS-1 and ITS-2 analysis showed that the specimens determined in the monitoring as C. obsoletus inclusive those with different wing pattern correlate significantly with the data of C. obsoletus in the data banks and surrounded the data bank specifications of C. montanus and C. scoticus so closely that the latter might be only hardly separate species. A similar interpretation can also be drawn when looking at the 18S rDNA dendrogram. Thus, C. scoticus and C. montanus might be races of C. obsoletus rather than separate species. With respect to the ITS-1 and ITS-2 characteristics of C. pulicaris females, which morphologically and by size can be significantly differentiated from C. obsoletus, it was seen that this species is significantly situated on another rame of the dendrograms and in very close relationship to C. punctatus and C. lupicaris, so that the latter might also be only races of C. pulicaris. One of the two other most common species found in Northrhine

  15. Comparison of different light sources for trapping Culicoides biting midges, mosquitoes and other dipterans.

    PubMed

    González, Mikel; Alarcón-Elbal, Pedro María; Valle-Mora, Javier; Goldarazena, Arturo

    2016-08-15

    The response of Culicoides biting midges, mosquitoes and other dipterans to different wavelengths was evaluated in a farm meadow in northern Spain. A total of 9449 specimens of 23 species of Culicoides, 5495 other ceratopogonids (non-biting midges), 602 culicids and 12428 other mixed dipterans were captured. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suction light traps fitted with five light emitting diodes (LEDs) (white, green, red, blue, ultraviolet) were run for 15 consecutive nights. Significantly more Culicoides were collected in those traps fitted with green, blue or ultraviolet (UV) lights than in red and white-baited LED traps for the most abundant species captured: C. punctatus (37.5%), C. cataneii (26.5%) and C. obsoletus/C. scoticus (20.4%). Similar results were obtained for non-Culicoides ceratopogonids, mosquitoes and other mixed dipterans. Wavelengths in green (570nm) resulted effective for targeting some Culicoides species, culicids and other midges. In a second trial, the effectiveness of 4-W white and UV tubes was compared to traps fitted with UV LED and a standard incandescent light bulb. More specimens of all taxa were collected with fluorescent black light (UV) traps than with the other light sources, except culicids, which were recovered in high numbers from fluorescent white light traps. PMID:27514882

  16. Importance and mitigation of the risk of spillback transmission of Mycobacterium bovis infection for eradication of bovine tuberculosis from wildlife in New Zealand.

    PubMed

    Barron, M C; Nugent, G; Cross, M L

    2013-07-01

    Introduced brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) are wildlife maintenance hosts for Mycobacterium bovis in New Zealand, often living sympatrically with other potential hosts, including wild red deer (Cervus elaphus scoticus). Population control of possums has been predicted to eradicate tuberculosis (TB) from New Zealand wildlife ; however, there is concern that long-lived M. bovis-infected deer could represent a ‘ spillback’ risk for TB re-establishment (particularly when possum populations recover after cessation of intensive control). We constructed a time-, age- and sex-structured, deer/TB population generic model and simulated the outcomes of deer control on this potential spillback risk. Maintaining intensive possum control on a 5-year cycle, the predicted spillback risk period after TB eradication from possums is ~7 years, while the probability of TB re-establishing in possums over that period is ~6%. Additional targeted control of deer would reduce the risk period and probability of spillback; however, even with high population reductions (up to 80%) only modest decreases in risk and risk period would be achieved. We conclude that possum control alone remains the best strategy for achieving TB eradication from New Zealand habitats in which possums and wild deer are the main M. bovis hosts.

  17. Do red deer stags (Cervus elaphus) use roar fundamental frequency (F0) to assess rivals?

    PubMed

    Garcia, Maxime; Charlton, Benjamin D; Wyman, Megan T; Fitch, W Tecumseh; Reby, David

    2013-01-01

    It is well established that in humans, male voices are disproportionately lower pitched than female voices, and recent studies suggest that this dimorphism in fundamental frequency (F0) results from both intrasexual (male competition) and intersexual (female mate choice) selection for lower pitched voices in men. However, comparative investigations indicate that sexual dimorphism in F0 is not universal in terrestrial mammals. In the highly polygynous and sexually dimorphic Scottish red deer Cervus elaphus scoticus, more successful males give sexually-selected calls (roars) with higher minimum F0s, suggesting that high, rather than low F0s advertise quality in this subspecies. While playback experiments demonstrated that oestrous females prefer higher pitched roars, the potential role of roar F0 in male competition remains untested. Here we examined the response of rutting red deer stags to playbacks of re-synthesized male roars with different median F0s. Our results show that stags' responses (latencies and durations of attention, vocal and approach responses) were not affected by the F0 of the roar. This suggests that intrasexual selection is unlikely to strongly influence the evolution of roar F0 in Scottish red deer stags, and illustrates how the F0 of terrestrial mammal vocal sexual signals may be subject to different selection pressures across species. Further investigations on species characterized by different F0 profiles are needed to provide a comparative background for evolutionary interpretations of sex differences in mammalian vocalizations. PMID:24386312

  18. Does covering of farm-associated Culicoides larval habitat reduce adult populations in the United Kingdom?☆

    PubMed Central

    Harrup, L.E.; Gubbins, S.; Barber, J.; Denison, E.; Mellor, P.S.; Purse, B.V.; Carpenter, S.

    2014-01-01

    Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) are the biological vectors of a range of internationally important arboviruses of livestock, including bluetongue virus (BTV) and the recently emerging Schmallenberg virus (SBV). Culicoides species in the subgenus Avaritia (in the UK: Culicoides obsoletus Meigen, Culicoides scoticus Downes & Kettle, Culicoides dewulfi Goetghebuer and Culicoides chiopterus Meigen) have been implicated in BTV transmission in northern Europe and to a varying degree utilise cattle dung as a larval development substrate. The collection of cattle dung into heaps on farms provides a localised source of Culicoides emergence in close proximity to livestock. This study assesses the impact of covering dung heaps prior to the onset of adult Culicoides activity with the aim of reducing recruitment to the local adult populations at four livestock farms in England. Light suction trap catches of adult Culicoides from these farms were compared with those from four untreated control farms from a wide geographic range across the UK. It was demonstrated that implementing control of emergence from dung heaps did not have a significant impact upon the local adult subgenus Avaritia abundance at the treated farm holdings and that the onset of Culicoides activity was similarly unaffected. Use of this method in isolation is unlikely to have an effect in reducing the risk of BTV and SBV transmission. The implications of these results for control of farm-associated Culicoides in Europe are discussed. PMID:24472769

  19. Biting rates of Culicoides midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) on sheep in northeastern Spain in relation to midge capture using UV light and carbon dioxide-baited traps.

    PubMed

    Gerry, Alec C; Sarto i Monteys, V; Moreno Vidal, J O; Francino, O; Mullens, Bradley A

    2009-05-01

    Biting midges in the genus Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) were collected near sunset by direct aspiration from sheep in northeastern Spain to determine species-specific biting rates and crepuscular activity. Midges were also collected by UV-baited light traps and CO2-baited traps over the same period to compare species diversity and abundance using these common surveillance methods to actual sheep attack rates. Culicoides aspirated from sheep included C. obsoletus, C. parroti, C. scoticus, C. punctatus, and C. imicola. Peak host-seeking activity during the time period examined for the two most commonly collected species (C. obsoletus and C. parroti) occurred just before sunset and activity ceased within 1 h after sunset. Host attack rates near sunset averaged 0.9 midges/min for both species with maximum attack rates of 3/min for C. obsoletus and 4/min for C. parroti. For both species, approximately 35% of midges collected from the sheep were engorged, giving a maximum biting rate of 1.1/min for C. obsoletus and 1.5/min for C. parroti. Traps baited with CO2 collected fewer midges of each species relative to other collection methods. Traps baited with UV light provided a good indication of species richness but significantly underestimated the host attack rate of C. obsoletus and C. parroti while overestimating the host attack rate of C. imicola. Animal-baited collecting is critical to interpret the epidemiological significance of light trap collections used for surveillance of the midge vectors of bluetongue virus and African horse sickness virus.

  20. Comparison of Vertebrate Cytochrome b and Prepronociceptin for Blood Meal Analyses in Culicoides

    PubMed Central

    Hadj-Henni, Leila; De Meulemeester, Thibaut; Depaquit, Jérôme; Noël, Philippe; Germain, Adeline; Helder, Remi; Augot, Denis

    2015-01-01

    To date, studies on host preferences and blood meal identification have been conducted for Culicoides species using molecular-based methods such as PCR techniques to amplify only a fragment from universal vertebrate mitochondrial genes such as cytochrome c oxidase subunit I or cytochrome b (Cyt b). The vertebrate prepronociceptin gene (PNOC) was also tested in this field. However, the choice of molecular marker to identify blood meal is critical. The objective of our study is to compare the ability of Cyt b and PNOC as molecular markers for blood meal identification depending on the stage of blood meal digestion. In order to determine whether these Cyt b and PNOC could provide a positive result, 565 blood-fed females of Culicoides spp were collected and morphologically identified. The samples were collected between 2012 and 2014, in two localities in France. The collection localities were near either livestock or a forest. To catch the specimens, we used UV CDC miniature light traps. PNOC sequence of donkeys (Equus asinus) was sequenced and submitted because it was missing in GenBank. Our findings emphasize that the PNOC marker is not suitable to separate closely related Equid species such as horses and donkeys. The Cyt b marker was able to identify 204 more samples when compared to PNOC (99.55% of specimens). Cyt b appears to be better able to detect the origin of blood meals from females with digested blood in their abdomens. We conclude that Cyt b is a good marker as it increases the accuracy of blood meal identification of engorged females containing digested blood in their abdomens. The host opportunist behavior of Culicoides, especially that of C. obsoletus and C. scoticus, the main vectors of BTV in Europe was also highlighted. PMID:26664944

  1. Roaring High and Low: Composition and Possible Functions of the Iberian Stag's Vocal Repertoire

    PubMed Central

    Carranza, Juan; Apollonio, Marco

    2013-01-01

    We provide a detailed description of the rutting vocalisations of free-ranging male Iberian deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus, Hilzheimer 1909), a geographically isolated and morphologically differentiated subspecies of red deer Cervus elaphus. We combine spectrographic examinations, spectral analyses and automated classifications to identify different call types, and compare the composition of the vocal repertoire with that of other red deer subspecies. Iberian stags give bouts of roars (and more rarely, short series of barks) that are typically composed of two different types of calls. Long Common Roars are mostly given at the beginning or at the end of the bout, and are characterised by a high fundamental frequency (F0) resulting in poorly defined formant frequencies but a relatively high amplitude. In contrast, Short Common Roars are typically given in the middle or at the end of the bout, and are characterised by a lower F0 resulting in relatively well defined vocal tract resonances, but low amplitude. While we did not identify entirely Harsh Roars (as described in the Scottish red deer subspecies (Cervus elaphus scoticus)), a small percentage of Long Common Roars contained segments of deterministic chaos. We suggest that the evolution of two clearly distinct types of Common Roars may reflect divergent selection pressures favouring either vocal efficiency in high pitched roars or the communication of body size in low-pitched, high spectral density roars highlighting vocal tract resonances. The clear divergence of the Iberian red deer vocal repertoire from those of other documented European red deer populations reinforces the status of this geographical variant as a distinct subspecies. PMID:23667678

  2. Repellent effect of topical deltamethrin on blood feeding by Culicoides on horses.

    PubMed

    Robin, M; Archer, D; McGowan, C; Garros, C; Gardès, L; Baylis, M

    2015-05-30

    African horse sickness (AHS) is a vectorborne disease spread by Culicoides biting midges. The UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs currently suggests using topical deltamethrin for AHS control; however, no data are available regarding its efficacy in the horse. The aims of this study were to investigate the effect of topical deltamethrin on blood feeding by Culicoides on horses and to investigate which Culicoides species blood fed on horses. Three pairs of horses were placed in partially enclosed cages that allowed samples representing the Culicoides interacting with individual horses to be sampled. Four data collection sessions were completed before one horse from each pair was topically treated with 10 ml of 1 per cent deltamethrin solution and another four sessions were then carried out. Collected Culicoides were identified and each biting midge examined to see if it had blood fed. The most abundant species collected were C. chiopterus, C. dewulfi, C. obsoletus and C. scoticus (44.3 per cent) and either C. pulicaris or C. punctatus (34.7 per cent). These species were also more likely to have blood fed than other species, supporting their potential role as AHS vectors if the virus were to reach the UK. There was no significant effect of treatment on blood feeding by Culicoides. The results do not support the use of topical deltamethrin to prevent blood feeding by Culicoides on individual horses; however, the study does not investigate the effect that the widespread use of topical deltamethrin might have on vector numbers or disease transmission from viraemic individuals during an outbreak of AHS. PMID:25948630

  3. Solar Radiation Determines Site Occupancy of Coexisting Tropical and Temperate Deer Species Introduced to New Zealand Forests.

    PubMed

    Allen, Robert B; Forsyth, David M; Allen, Roy K J; Affeld, Kathrin; MacKenzie, Darryl I

    2015-01-01

    Assemblages of introduced taxa provide an opportunity to understand how abiotic and biotic factors shape habitat use by coexisting species. We tested hypotheses about habitat selection by two deer species recently introduced to New Zealand's temperate rainforests. We hypothesised that, due to different thermoregulatory abilities, rusa deer (Cervus timorensis; a tropical species) would prefer warmer locations in winter than red deer (Cervus elaphus scoticus; a temperate species). Since adult male rusa deer are aggressive in winter (the rut), we also hypothesised that rusa deer and red deer would not use the same winter locations. Finally, we hypothesised that in summer both species would prefer locations with fertile soils that supported more plant species preferred as food. We used a 250 × 250 m grid of 25 remote cameras to collect images in a 100-ha montane study area over two winters and summers. Plant composition, solar radiation, and soil fertility were also determined for each camera location. Multiseason occupancy models revealed that direct solar radiation was the best predictor of occupancy and detection probabilities for rusa deer in winter. Multistate, multiseason occupancy models provided strong evidence that the detection probability of adult male rusa deer was greater in winter and when other rusa deer were present at a location. Red deer mostly vacated the study area in winter. For the one season that had sufficient camera images of both species (summer 2011) to allow two-species occupancy models to be fitted, the detection probability of rusa deer also increased with solar radiation. Detection probability also varied with plant composition for both deer species. We conclude that habitat use by coexisting tropical and temperate deer species in New Zealand likely depends on the interplay between the thermoregulatory and behavioural traits of the deer and the abiotic and biotic features of the habitat.

  4. Are bogs reservoirs for emerging disease vectors? Evaluation of culicoides populations in the Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve (Belgium).

    PubMed

    Zimmer, Jean-Yves; Smeets, François; Simonon, Grégory; Fagot, Jean; Haubruge, Eric; Francis, Frédéric; Losson, Bertrand

    2013-01-01

    Several species of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) biting midges serve as biological vectors for the bluetongue virus (BTV) and the recently described Schmallenberg virus (SBV) in northern Europe. Since their recent emergence in this part of the continent, these diseases have caused considerable economic losses to the sheep and cattle industries. Much data is now available that describe the distribution, population dynamics, and feeding habits of these insects. However, little is known regarding the presence of Culicoides in unusual habitats such as peaty marshes, nor their potential vector capacity. This study evaluated Culicoides biting midges present in the bogs of a Belgian nature reserve compared to those residing at a nearby cattle farm. Culicoides were trapped in 2011 at four different sites (broadleaved and coniferous forested areas, open environments, and at a scientific station) located in the Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve (Belgium). An additional light trap was operated on a nearby cattle farm. Very high numbers of biting midges were captured in the marshy area and most of them (70 to 95%) were Culicoides impunctatus, a potential vector of BTV and other pathogens. In addition, fewer numbers of C. obsoletus/C. scoticus species, C. chiopterus, and C. dewulfi were observed in the bogs compared to the farm. The wet environment and oligotrophic nature of the soil were probably responsible for these changes in the respective populations. A total of 297,808 Culicoides midges belonging to 27 species were identified during this study and 3 of these species (C. sphagnumensis, C. clintoni and C. comosioculatus) were described in Belgium for the first time.

  5. Environmental drivers of Culicoides phenology: how important is species-specific variation when determining disease policy?

    PubMed

    Searle, Kate R; Barber, James; Stubbins, Francesca; Labuschagne, Karien; Carpenter, Simon; Butler, Adam; Denison, Eric; Sanders, Christopher; Mellor, Philip S; Wilson, Anthony; Nelson, Noel; Gubbins, Simon; Purse, Bethan V

    2014-01-01

    Since 2006, arboviruses transmitted by Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) have caused significant disruption to ruminant production in northern Europe. The most serious incursions involved strains of bluetongue virus (BTV), which cause bluetongue (BT) disease. To control spread of BTV, movement of susceptible livestock is restricted with economic and animal welfare impacts. The timing of BTV transmission in temperate regions is partly determined by the seasonal presence of adult Culicoides females. Legislative measures therefore allow for the relaxation of ruminant movement restrictions during winter, when nightly light-suction trap catches of Culicoides fall below a threshold (the 'seasonally vector free period': SVFP). We analysed five years of time-series surveillance data from light-suction trapping in the UK to investigate whether significant inter-specific and yearly variation in adult phenology exists, and whether the SVFP is predictable from environmental factors. Because female vector Culicoides are not easily morphologically separated, inter-specific comparisons in phenology were drawn from male populations. We demonstrate significant inter-specific differences in Culicoides adult phenology with the season of Culicoides scoticus approximately eight weeks shorter than Culicoides obsoletus. Species-specific differences in the length of the SVFP were related to host density and local variation in landscape habitat. When the Avaritia Culicoides females were modelled as a group (as utilised in the SFVP), we were unable to detect links between environmental drivers and phenological metrics. We conclude that the current treatment of Avaritia Culicoides as a single group inhibits understanding of environmentally-driven spatial variation in species phenology and hinders the development of models for predicting the SVFP from environmental factors. Culicoides surveillance methods should be adapted to focus on concentrated assessments of species

  6. Environmental Drivers of Culicoides Phenology: How Important Is Species-Specific Variation When Determining Disease Policy?

    PubMed Central

    Searle, Kate R.; Barber, James; Stubbins, Francesca; Labuschagne, Karien; Carpenter, Simon; Butler, Adam; Denison, Eric; Sanders, Christopher; Mellor, Philip S.; Wilson, Anthony; Nelson, Noel; Gubbins, Simon; Purse, Bethan V.

    2014-01-01

    Since 2006, arboviruses transmitted by Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) have caused significant disruption to ruminant production in northern Europe. The most serious incursions involved strains of bluetongue virus (BTV), which cause bluetongue (BT) disease. To control spread of BTV, movement of susceptible livestock is restricted with economic and animal welfare impacts. The timing of BTV transmission in temperate regions is partly determined by the seasonal presence of adult Culicoides females. Legislative measures therefore allow for the relaxation of ruminant movement restrictions during winter, when nightly light-suction trap catches of Culicoides fall below a threshold (the ‘seasonally vector free period’: SVFP). We analysed five years of time-series surveillance data from light-suction trapping in the UK to investigate whether significant inter-specific and yearly variation in adult phenology exists, and whether the SVFP is predictable from environmental factors. Because female vector Culicoides are not easily morphologically separated, inter-specific comparisons in phenology were drawn from male populations. We demonstrate significant inter-specific differences in Culicoides adult phenology with the season of Culicoides scoticus approximately eight weeks shorter than Culicoides obsoletus. Species-specific differences in the length of the SVFP were related to host density and local variation in landscape habitat. When the Avaritia Culicoides females were modelled as a group (as utilised in the SFVP), we were unable to detect links between environmental drivers and phenological metrics. We conclude that the current treatment of Avaritia Culicoides as a single group inhibits understanding of environmentally-driven spatial variation in species phenology and hinders the development of models for predicting the SVFP from environmental factors. Culicoides surveillance methods should be adapted to focus on concentrated assessments of species

  7. Are Bogs Reservoirs for Emerging Disease Vectors? Evaluation of Culicoides Populations in the Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve (Belgium)

    PubMed Central

    Zimmer, Jean-Yves; Smeets, François; Simonon, Grégory; Fagot, Jean; Haubruge, Eric; Francis, Frédéric; Losson, Bertrand

    2013-01-01

    Several species of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) biting midges serve as biological vectors for the bluetongue virus (BTV) and the recently described Schmallenberg virus (SBV) in northern Europe. Since their recent emergence in this part of the continent, these diseases have caused considerable economic losses to the sheep and cattle industries. Much data is now available that describe the distribution, population dynamics, and feeding habits of these insects. However, little is known regarding the presence of Culicoides in unusual habitats such as peaty marshes, nor their potential vector capacity. This study evaluated Culicoides biting midges present in the bogs of a Belgian nature reserve compared to those residing at a nearby cattle farm. Culicoides were trapped in 2011 at four different sites (broadleaved and coniferous forested areas, open environments, and at a scientific station) located in the Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve (Belgium). An additional light trap was operated on a nearby cattle farm. Very high numbers of biting midges were captured in the marshy area and most of them (70 to 95%) were Culicoides impunctatus, a potential vector of BTV and other pathogens. In addition, fewer numbers of C. obsoletus/C. scoticus species, C. chiopterus, and C. dewulfi were observed in the bogs compared to the farm. The wet environment and oligotrophic nature of the soil were probably responsible for these changes in the respective populations. A total of 297,808 Culicoides midges belonging to 27 species were identified during this study and 3 of these species (C. sphagnumensis, C. clintoni and C. comosioculatus) were described in Belgium for the first time. PMID:23799137

  8. Comparison of Vertebrate Cytochrome b and Prepronociceptin for Blood Meal Analyses in Culicoides.

    PubMed

    Hadj-Henni, Leila; De Meulemeester, Thibaut; Depaquit, Jérôme; Noël, Philippe; Germain, Adeline; Helder, Remi; Augot, Denis

    2015-01-01

    To date, studies on host preferences and blood meal identification have been conducted for Culicoides species using molecular-based methods such as PCR techniques to amplify only a fragment from universal vertebrate mitochondrial genes such as cytochrome c oxidase subunit I or cytochrome b (Cyt b). The vertebrate prepronociceptin gene (PNOC) was also tested in this field. However, the choice of molecular marker to identify blood meal is critical. The objective of our study is to compare the ability of Cyt b and PNOC as molecular markers for blood meal identification depending on the stage of blood meal digestion. In order to determine whether these Cyt b and PNOC could provide a positive result, 565 blood-fed females of Culicoides spp were collected and morphologically identified. The samples were collected between 2012 and 2014, in two localities in France. The collection localities were near either livestock or a forest. To catch the specimens, we used UV CDC miniature light traps. PNOC sequence of donkeys (Equus asinus) was sequenced and submitted because it was missing in GenBank. Our findings emphasize that the PNOC marker is not suitable to separate closely related Equid species such as horses and donkeys. The Cyt b marker was able to identify 204 more samples when compared to PNOC (99.55% of specimens). Cyt b appears to be better able to detect the origin of blood meals from females with digested blood in their abdomens. We conclude that Cyt b is a good marker as it increases the accuracy of blood meal identification of engorged females containing digested blood in their abdomens. The host opportunist behavior of Culicoides, especially that of C. obsoletus and C. scoticus, the main vectors of BTV in Europe was also highlighted. PMID:26664944

  9. Wear Fast, Die Young: More Worn Teeth and Shorter Lives in Iberian Compared to Scottish Red Deer

    PubMed Central

    Pérez-Barbería, F. J.; Carranza, J.; Sánchez-Prieto, C.

    2015-01-01

    Teeth in Cervidae are permanent structures that are not replaceable or repairable; consequently their rate of wear, due to the grinding effect of food and dental attrition, affects their duration and can determine an animal's lifespan. Tooth wear is also a useful indicator of accumulative life energy investment in intake and mastication and their interactions with diet. Little is known regarding how natural and sexual selection operate on dental structures within a species in contrasting environments and how these relate to life history traits to explain differences in population rates of tooth wear and longevity. We hypothesised that populations under harsh environmental conditions should be selected for more hypsodont teeth while sexual selection may maintain similar sex differences within different populations. We investigated the patterns of tooth wear in males and females of Iberian red deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus) in Southern Spain and Scottish red deer (C. e. scoticus) across Scotland, that occur in very different environments, using 10343 samples from legal hunting activities. We found higher rates of both incisor and molar wear in the Spanish compared to Scottish populations. However, Scottish red deer had larger incisors at emergence than Iberian red deer, whilst molars emerged at a similar size in both populations and sexes. Iberian and Scottish males had earlier tooth depletion than females, in support of a similar sexual selection process in both populations. However, whilst average lifespan for Iberian males was 4 years shorter than that for Iberian females and Scottish males, Scottish males only showed a reduction of 1 year in average lifespan with respect to Scottish females. More worn molars were associated with larger mandibles in both populations, suggesting that higher intake and/or greater investment in food comminution may have favoured increased body growth, before later loss of tooth efficiency due to severe wear. These results

  10. Wear Fast, Die Young: More Worn Teeth and Shorter Lives in Iberian Compared to Scottish Red Deer.

    PubMed

    Pérez-Barbería, F J; Carranza, J; Sánchez-Prieto, C

    2015-01-01

    Teeth in Cervidae are permanent structures that are not replaceable or repairable; consequently their rate of wear, due to the grinding effect of food and dental attrition, affects their duration and can determine an animal's lifespan. Tooth wear is also a useful indicator of accumulative life energy investment in intake and mastication and their interactions with diet. Little is known regarding how natural and sexual selection operate on dental structures within a species in contrasting environments and how these relate to life history traits to explain differences in population rates of tooth wear and longevity. We hypothesised that populations under harsh environmental conditions should be selected for more hypsodont teeth while sexual selection may maintain similar sex differences within different populations. We investigated the patterns of tooth wear in males and females of Iberian red deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus) in Southern Spain and Scottish red deer (C. e. scoticus) across Scotland, that occur in very different environments, using 10343 samples from legal hunting activities. We found higher rates of both incisor and molar wear in the Spanish compared to Scottish populations. However, Scottish red deer had larger incisors at emergence than Iberian red deer, whilst molars emerged at a similar size in both populations and sexes. Iberian and Scottish males had earlier tooth depletion than females, in support of a similar sexual selection process in both populations. However, whilst average lifespan for Iberian males was 4 years shorter than that for Iberian females and Scottish males, Scottish males only showed a reduction of 1 year in average lifespan with respect to Scottish females. More worn molars were associated with larger mandibles in both populations, suggesting that higher intake and/or greater investment in food comminution may have favoured increased body growth, before later loss of tooth efficiency due to severe wear. These results

  11. Endophily in Culicoides associated with BTV-infected cattle in the province of Limburg, south-eastern Netherlands, 2006.

    PubMed

    Meiswinkel, R; Goffredo, M; Dijkstra, E G M; van der Ven, I J K; Baldet, T; Elbers, A

    2008-10-15

    Culicoides were captured at a BTV-infected dairy near Gulpen in the province of Limburg (south-east Netherlands) between 14 September and 4 October 2006. Onderstepoort-type blacklight traps were used to sample Culicoides both inside and outside a partially open shed housing 11 cattle. A total of 28 light trap collections were made at the shed and yielded: 9371 Culicoides representing 11 species; >90% comprised five potential vectors of BTV and in order of abundance were Culicoides obsoletus and Culicoides scoticus (of the Obsoletus Complex), Culicoides dewulfi, Culicoides pulicaris and Culicoides chiopterus; Culicoides imicola, the principal Mediterranean (and African) vector of BTV, was absent. 2339 Culicoides representing seven species were captured inside (endophily) the cattle shed; >95% comprised the Obsoletus Complex and C. dewulfi. Conversely, the Pulicaris Complex, represented by five species and including C. pulicaris, showed strong exophily with >97% captured outside the shed. 7032 Culicoides were captured outside the shed, approximately threefold more than inside. This trend was reversed on an overcast day, when eightfold more Culicoides were captured inside; this indicates that when the light intensity outdoors is low Culicoides will attack (i) earlier in the day while cattle are still at pasture, and (ii) might follow cattle into the sheds in the late afternoon leading to elevated numbers of biting midges being trapped inside the shed during the subsequent hours of darkness. Culicoides were captured inside the shed on all 14 sampling nights. On occasion up to 33% were freshly blood fed indicating they had avidly attacked the cattle inside (endophagy); because half the cattle had seroconverted to BTV, and because no cattle were left outdoors at night, the data indicate that (i) the housing of animals in partially open buildings does not interrupt the transmission of BTV, and/or (ii) BTV is being transmitted while cattle are grazing outdoors during the