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Die Naturwissenschaften

Pauline Provini, Anick Abourachid
Previous studies showed that birds primarily use their hindlimbs to propel themselves into the air in order to take-off. Yet, it remains unclear how the different parts of their musculoskeletal system move to produce the necessary acceleration. To quantify the relative motions of the bones during the terrestrial phase of take-off, we used biplanar fluoroscopy in two species of birds, diamond dove (Geopelia cuneata) and zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). We obtained a detailed 3D kinematics analysis of the head, the trunk and the three long bones of the left leg...
January 6, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Sean O'Donnell
Directional climate change (global warming) is causing rapid alterations in animals' environments. Because the nervous system is at the forefront of animals' interactions with the environment, the neurobiological implications of climate change are central to understanding how individuals, and ultimately populations, will respond to global warming. Evidence is accumulating for individual level, mechanistic effects of climate change on nervous system development and performance. Climate change can also alter sensory stimuli, changing the effectiveness of sensory and cognitive systems for achieving biological fitness...
January 6, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Canchao Yang, Qiuli Huang, Longwu Wang, Wei-Guo Du, Wei Liang, Anders Pape Møller
Obligate brood parasites have evolved unusually thick-shelled eggs, which are hypothesized to possess a variety of functions such as resistance to puncture ejection by their hosts. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that obligate brood parasites lay unusually thick-shelled eggs to retain more heat for the developing embryo and thus contribute to early hatching of parasite eggs. By doing so, we used an infrared thermal imaging system as a non-invasive method to quantify the temperature of eggshells of common cuckoos (Cuculus canorus) and their Oriental reed warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis) hosts in an experiment that artificially altered the duration of incubation...
January 2, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
G S Balamurali, Elizabeth Nicholls, Hema Somanathan, Natalie Hempel de Ibarra
The spontaneous occurrence of colour preferences without learning has been demonstrated in several insect species; however, the underlying mechanisms are still not understood. Here, we use a comparative approach to investigate spontaneous and learned colour preferences in foraging bees of two tropical and one temperate species. We hypothesised that tropical bees utilise different sets of plants and therefore might differ in their spontaneous colour preferences. We tested colour-naive bees and foragers from colonies that had been enclosed in large flight cages for a long time...
January 2, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Verónica Gomes, Miguel A Carretero, Antigoni Kaliontzopoulou
A central issue in evolutionary biology is how morphology, performance, and habitat use coevolve. If morphological variation is tightly associated with habitat use, then differences in morphology should affect fitness through their effect on performance within specific habitats. In this study, we investigate how evolutionary forces mold morphological traits and performance differently given the surrounding environment, at the intraspecific level. For this purpose, we selected populations of the lizard Podarcis bocagei from two different habitat types, agricultural walls and dunes, which we expected to reflect saxicolous vs ground-dwelling habits...
January 2, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Nikolai W F Bode, Michael J Seitz
The movement of animals in groups is widespread in nature. Understanding this phenomenon presents an important problem in ecology with many applications that range from conservation to robotics. Underlying all group movements are interactions between individual animals and it is therefore crucial to understand the mechanisms of this social behaviour. To date, despite promising methodological developments, there are few applications to data of practical statistical techniques that inferentially investigate the extent and nature of social interactions in group movement...
December 27, 2017: Die Naturwissenschaften
Renata Jach, Stanisław Knutelski, Alfred Uchman, Helena Hercman, Marek Dohnalik
Abundant bog oak trunks occur in alluvial deposits of the Raba River in the village of Targowisko (southern Poland). Several of them contain galleries of the great capricorn beetle (Cerambyx cerdo L.). A well-preserved subfossil larva and pupa, as well as adults of this species, are concealed in some of the galleries. These galleries co-occur with boring galleries of other insects such as ship-timber beetles (Lymexylidae) and metallic wood borers (Buprestidae). A dry larva of a stag beetle (Lucanidae) and a mite (Acari) have been found in the C...
December 27, 2017: Die Naturwissenschaften
Magali Combes, David Pinaud, Christophe Barbraud, Jacques Trotignon, François Brischoux
Severe population declines of amphibians have been shown to be attributed to climate change. Nevertheless, the various mechanisms through which climate can influence population dynamics of amphibians remain to be assessed, notably to disentangle the relative synergetic or antagonistic influences of temperature and precipitations on specific life history stages. We investigated the impact of rainfall and temperature on the egg-clutch abundance in a population of agile frog (Rana dalmatina) during 29 years (1987-2016) on 14 breeding sites located in Brenne Natural Park, France...
December 19, 2017: Die Naturwissenschaften
Min Kong, Fengjuan Wang, Liuying Tian, Hui Tang, Liping Zhang
Glutathione (GSH) fulfills a variety of metabolic functions, participates in oxidative stress response, and defends against toxic actions of heavy metals and xenobiotics. In this study, GSH was detected in Rhodosporidium diobovatum by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Then, two novel enzymes from R. diobovatum were characterized that convert glutamate, cysteine, and glycine into GSH. Based on reverse transcription PCR, we obtained the glutathione synthetase gene (GSH2), 1866 bp, coding for a 56...
December 15, 2017: Die Naturwissenschaften
Eva Turk, Matjaž Kuntner, Simona Kralj-Fišer
Males and females are often subjected to different selection pressures for homologous traits, resulting in sex-specific optima. Because organismal attributes usually share their genetic architectures, sex-specific selection may lead to intralocus sexual conflict. Evolution of sexual dimorphism may resolve this conflict, depending on the degree of cross-sex genetic correlation (r MF) and the strength of sex-specific selection. In theory, high r MF implies that sexes largely share the genetic base for a given trait and are consequently sexually monomorphic, while low r MF indicates a sex-specific genetic base and sexual dimorphism...
December 5, 2017: Die Naturwissenschaften
Anna Gorczyca, Andrzej Oleksy, Dorota Gala-Czekaj, Monika Urbaniak, Magdalena Laskowska, Agnieszka Waśkiewicz, Łukasz Stępień
Durum wheat (Triticum turgidum var. durum) is an important crop in Europe, particularly in the Mediterranean countries. Fusarium head blight (FHB) is considered as one of the most damaging diseases, resulting in yield and quality reduction as well as contamination of grain with mycotoxins. Three winter durum wheat cultivars originating from Austria, Slovakia, and Poland were analyzed during 2012-2014 seasons for FHB incidence and Fusarium mycotoxin accumulation in harvested grain. Moreover, the effects of sowing density and delayed sowing date were evaluated in the climatic conditions of Southern Poland...
December 5, 2017: Die Naturwissenschaften
James C O'Hanlon, Anne E Wignall, Marie E Herberstein
Male reproductive performance can vary with condition, age and future reproductive opportunities. Web-building spiders are ideal models to examine the effects of senescence on fitness-related behaviours due to strong selection on male courtship to reduce pre-copulatory sexual cannibalism. Argiope keyserlingi spiders generate courtship vibrations, or 'shudders', that reduce female aggression. We found that male A. keyserlingi courtship slowed with chronological age. Older males took longer to travel across the courtship thread, and overall number of shudders increased...
December 5, 2017: Die Naturwissenschaften
Fakhar Ul Islam, Samina Jalali, Mustafa Nawaz Shafqat, Syed Tahir Abbas Shah
Endosulfan is an organochlorine pesticide that is toxic to aquatic life. Endosulfan might hamper the reproductive health of indigenous fish in agricultural areas of Pakistan where this pesticide is sprayed widely. The aim of the current study is to investigate the toxic effects of endosulfan on selected reproductive parameters of male freshwater fish, Cyprinion watsoni. Two concentrations of endosulfan (0.5 and 1 ppb for 30 days exposure) were tested for their effects on body weight, body length, and testicular weight, length, and width...
November 20, 2017: Die Naturwissenschaften
Cristina Nava, Verónica C Neves, Malvina Andris, Marie-Pierre Dubois, Philippe Jarne, Mark Bolton, Joël Bried
Bottleneck episodes may occur in small and isolated animal populations, which may result in decreased genetic diversity and increased inbreeding, but also in mating strategy adjustment. This was evaluated in the vulnerable and socially monogamous Monteiro's Storm-petrel Hydrobates monteiroi, a seabird endemic to the Azores archipelago which has suffered a dramatic population decline since the XVth century. To do this, we conducted a genetic study (18 microsatellite markers) in the population from Praia islet, which has been monitored over 16 years...
November 15, 2017: Die Naturwissenschaften
José C Noguera, Neil B Metcalfe, Pat Monaghan
Poor early-life nutrition could reduce adult reproductive success by negatively affecting traits linked to sexual attractiveness such as song complexity. If so, this might favor strategic mate choice, allowing males with less complex songs to tailor their mating tactics to maximize the reproductive benefits. However, this possibility has been ignored in theoretical and empirical studies. By manipulating the micronutrient content of the diet (e.g., low or high) during the postnatal period of male zebra finches, we show for the first time (1) that males reared on a poor (low) micronutrient diet had less complex songs as adults; (2) that these males, in contrast to the high micronutrient diet group, were more selective in their mating strategies, discriminating against those females most likely to reduce their clutch size when paired with males having less complex songs; and (3) that by following different mating strategies, males reared on the contrasting diets obtained similar reproductive benefits...
November 14, 2017: Die Naturwissenschaften
Katarzyna Wojczulanis-Jakubas, Małgorzata E Chrostek, Frédéric Jiguet, Carlos Zumalacárregui Martínez, David Miguélez, Júlio M Neto
Differential migration has been extensively reported in spring, but less so in autumn, particularly in relation to sex in monomorphic bird species. Here, we analysed the autumn passage of a monomorphic, globally threatened passerine, the Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola throughout Western Europe, with regard to age and sex. We showed that, overall, adults migrated earlier than first-year birds, and males migrated earlier than females during the autumn migration. This may be caused by an overall social dominance of adults over immatures, and differentiated migration strategy of males and females...
November 14, 2017: Die Naturwissenschaften
Dina Cīrule, Tatjana Krama, Ronalds Krams, Didzis Elferts, Ants Kaasik, Markus J Rantala, Pranas Mierauskas, Severi Luoto, Indrikis A Krams
Animals normally respond to stressful environmental stimuli by releasing glucocorticoid hormones. We investigated whether baseline corticosterone (CORT), handling-induced corticosterone concentration(s), and body condition indices of members of willow tit (Poecile montanus) groups differed while wintering in old growth forests and managed young forests in mild weather conditions and during cold spells. Willow tits spend the winter season in non-kin groups in which dominant individuals typically claim their priority to access resources, while subordinate individuals may experience greater levels of stress and higher mortality, especially during cold spells...
November 14, 2017: Die Naturwissenschaften
Masayuki K Sakata, Nobutaka Maki, Hideki Sugiyama, Toshifumi Minamoto
Freshwater biodiversity has been severely threatened in recent years, and to conserve endangered species, their distribution and breeding habitats need to be clarified. However, identifying breeding sites in a large area is generally difficult. Here, by combining the emerging environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis with subsequent traditional collection surveys, we successfully identified a breeding habitat for the critically endangered freshwater fish Acheilognathus typus in the mainstream of Omono River in Akita Prefecture, Japan, which is one of the original habitats of this species...
November 14, 2017: Die Naturwissenschaften
Stijn Goolaerts, Julien Denayer, Bernard Mottequin
The taxonomic affinities of fossils from the Frasnian succession of Belgium previously described as phyllopod and phyllocarid crustacean shields are discussed. The rediscovery of the holotype of Ellipsocaris dewalquei, the type species of the genus Ellipsocaris Woodward in Dewalque, 1882, allows to end the discussion on the taxonomic assignation of the genus Ellipsocaris. It is removed from the phyllopod crustaceans as interpreted originally and considered here as an ammonoid anaptychus. Furthermore, it is considered to be a junior synonym of the genus Sidetes Giebel, 1847...
November 3, 2017: Die Naturwissenschaften
Wenjie Jin, Yishu Jia, E Tan, Gengsi Xi
Estrogen-related receptor gene (ERR) and ecdysone receptor gene (EcR) belong to the nuclear receptor gene superfamily, both of which are associated with the regulation of insect reproductive development. However, the relationship between ERR and EcR and whether ERR participates in the 20E signal pathway during male reproduction are unclear. In this paper, adult male crickets Teleogryllus emma Ohmschi & Matsumura were divided into the experimental group, negative group, and control group. Crickets of the experimental group were injected with TeERR or TeEcR-dsRNA, and those in the negative group received EGFP-dsRNA...
October 30, 2017: Die Naturwissenschaften
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