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Nina J O'Hanlon, Neil A James, Elizabeth A Masden, Alexander L Bond
Marine plastic pollution is an increasing, and global, environmental issue. Numerous marine species are affected by plastic debris through entanglement, nest incorporation, and ingestion, which can lead to lethal and sub-lethal impacts. However, in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean, an area of international importance for seabirds, there has been little effort to date to assess information from studies of wildlife and plastic to better understand the spatiotemporal variation of how marine plastic affects different seabird species...
September 13, 2017: Environmental Pollution
Allison Cornell, Tony D Williams
In avian species, little is known about the development of physiological traits in the days preceding fledging, a critical life history transition marked by a high mortality rate. Developmental trajectory during this period may be flexible based on ecological context or hardwired, with potential costs for variation in growth in the form of oxidative stress. Patterns in development are likely to relate to variation in life history, for which seabirds and aerial insectivores have been well studied, while our focal species is a grassland ground forager, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris)...
September 15, 2017: Journal of Experimental Biology
Michael J Yabsley, Ralph E T Vanstreels, Barbara C Shock, Michaelle Purdee, Elizabeth C Horne, Michael A Peirce, Nola J Parsons
There are 16 recognized species of avian-infecting Babesia spp. (Piroplasmida: Babesiidae). While the classification of piroplasmids has been historically based on morphological differences, geographic isolation and presumed host and/or vector specificities, recent studies employing gene sequence analysis have provided insight into their phylogenetic relationships and host distribution and specificity. In this study, we analyzed the sequences of the 18S rRNA gene and ITS-1 and ITS-2 regions of two Babesia species from South African seabirds: Babesia peircei from African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) and Babesia ugwidiensis from Bank and Cape cormorants (Phalacrocorax neglectus and P...
December 2017: International Journal for Parasitology. Parasites and Wildlife
Andrés Domingo, Sebastián Jiménez, Martin Abreu, Rodrigo Forselledo, Oliver Yates
Industrial longline fisheries cause the death of large numbers of seabirds annually. Various mitigation measures have been proposed, including the use of tori lines. In this study the efficiency of a single tori line to reduce seabird bycatch was tested on pelagic longline vessels (25-37m length). Thirteen fishing trips were carried out in the area and season of the highest bycatch rates recorded in the southwest Atlantic (2009-2011). We deployed two treatments in random order: sets with a tori line and without a tori line (control treatment)...
2017: PloS One
Karina Petersen, Maria T Hultman, Jenny Bytingsvik, Mikael Harju, Anita Evenset, Knut Erik Tollefsen
Contaminants from various anthropogenic activities are detected in the Arctic due to long-range atmospheric transport, ocean currents, and living organisms such as migrating fish or seabirds. Although levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in Arctic fish are generally low, local hot spots of contamination were found in freshwater systems such as Lake Ellasjøen at Bjørnøya (Bear Island, Norway). Higher concentrations of organic halogenated compounds (OHC), and higher levels of cytochrome P450 and DNA-double strand breaks were reported in Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) from this lake compared to fish from other lakes on Bjørnøya...
September 1, 2017: Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. Part A
Matthew S Savoca, Martha E Wohlfeil, Susan E Ebeler, Gabrielle A Nevitt
Plastic debris is ingested by hundreds of species of organisms, from zooplankton to baleen whales, but how such a diversity of consumers can mistake plastic for their natural prey is largely unknown. The sensory mechanisms underlying plastic detection and consumption have rarely been examined within the context of sensory signals driving marine food web dynamics. We demonstrate experimentally that marine-seasoned microplastics produce a dimethyl sulfide (DMS) signature that is also a keystone odorant for natural trophic interactions...
November 2016: Science Advances
Juliet S Lamb, Yvan G Satgé, Patrick G R Jodice
Density-dependent competition for food resources influences both foraging ecology and reproduction in a variety of animals. The relationship between colony size, local prey depletion, and reproductive output in colonial central-place foragers has been extensively studied in seabirds; however, most studies have focused on effects of intraspecific competition during the breeding season, while little is known about whether density-dependent resource depletion influences individual migratory behavior outside the breeding season...
August 2017: Ecology and Evolution
O Padget, G Dell'Ariccia, A Gagliardo, J González-Solís, T Guilford
Shearwaters deprived of their olfactory sense before being displaced to distant sites have impaired homing ability but it is unknown what the role of olfaction is when birds navigate freely without their sense of smell. Furthermore, treatments used to induce anosmia and to disrupt magneto-reception in displacement experiments might influence non-specific factors not directly related to navigation and, as a consequence, the results of displacement experiments can have multiple interpretations. To address this, we GPS-tracked the free-ranging foraging trips of incubating Scopoli's shearwaters within the Mediterranean Sea...
August 29, 2017: Scientific Reports
Christopher Revell, Marius Somveille
In this paper, we introduce a mechanistic model of migratory movement patterns in birds, inspired by ideas and methods from physics. Previous studies have shed light on the factors influencing bird migration but have mainly relied on statistical correlative analysis of tracking data. Our novel method offers a bottom up explanation of population-level migratory movement patterns. It differs from previous mechanistic models of animal migration and enables predictions of pathways and destinations from a given starting location...
August 29, 2017: Scientific Reports
Dan C Rapp, Sarah M Youngren, Paula Hartzell, K David Hyrenbach
Between 2006 and 2013, we salvaged and necropsied 362 seabird specimens from Tern Island, French Frigate Shoals, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Plastic ingestion occurred in 11 of the 16 species sampled (68.75%), representing four orders, seven families, and five foraging guilds: four plunge-divers, two albatrosses, two nocturnal-foraging petrels, two tuna-birds, and one frigatebird. Moreover, we documented the first instance of ingestion in a previously unstudied species: the Brown Booby. Plastic prevalence (percent occurrence) ranged from 0% to 100%, with no significant differences across foraging guilds...
August 22, 2017: Marine Pollution Bulletin
Lene Buhl-Mortensen, Pål Buhl-Mortensen
Litter has been found in all marine environments and is accumulating in seabirds and mammals in the Nordic Seas. These ecosystems are under pressure from climatic change and fisheries while the human population is small. The marine landscapes in the area range from shallow fishing banks to deep-sea canyons. We present density, distribution and composition of litter from the first large-scale mapping of sea bed litter in arctic and subarctic waters. Litter was registered from 1778 video transects, of which 27% contained litter...
August 23, 2017: Marine Pollution Bulletin
Mayumi L Arimitsu, Keith A Hobson, D'Arcy N Webber, John F Piatt, Eran W Hood, Jason B Fellman
Nearly half of the freshwater discharge into the Gulf of Alaska originates from landscapes draining glacier runoff, but the influence of the influx of riverine organic matter on the trophodynamics of coastal marine food webs is not well understood. We quantified the ecological impact of riverine organic matter subsidies to glacier-marine habitats by developing a multi-trophic level Bayesian three-isotope mixing model. We utilized large gradients in stable (δ(13) C, δ(15) N, δ(2) H) and radiogenic (Δ(14) C) isotopes that trace riverine and marine organic matter sources as they are passed from lower to higher trophic levels in glacial-marine habitats...
August 21, 2017: Global Change Biology
Katherine A Booth Jones, Malcolm A C Nicoll, Claire Raisin, Deborah A Dawson, Helen Hipperson, Gavin J Horsburgh, Jim J Groombridge, Stefanie M H Ismar, Paul Sweet, Carl G Jones, Vikash Tatayah, Kevin Ruhomaun, Ken Norris
Global-scale gene flow is an important concern in conservation biology as it has the potential to either increase or decrease genetic diversity in species and populations. Although many studies focus on the gene flow between different populations of a single species, the potential for gene flow and introgression between species is understudied, particularly in seabirds. The only well studied example of a mixed-species, hybridising population of petrels exists on Round Island, in the Indian Ocean. Previous research assumed that Round Island represents a point of secondary contact between Atlantic (Pterodroma arminjoniana) and Pacific species (P...
August 21, 2017: Molecular Ecology
Emily M Tompkins, Howard M Townsend, David J Anderson
Climate change effects on population dynamics of natural populations are well documented at higher latitudes, where relatively rapid warming illuminates cause-effect relationships, but not in the tropics and especially the marine tropics, where warming has been slow. Here we forecast the indirect effect of ocean warming on a top predator, Nazca boobies in the equatorial Galápagos Islands, where rising water temperature is expected to exceed the upper thermal tolerance of a key prey item in the future, severely reducing its availability within the boobies' foraging envelope...
2017: PloS One
María Soledad Leonardi, Flavio Quintana
Forty-one imperial shag chicks were sampled for lice during the breeding season of 2014 in Punta León, Argentina. We found 2 lice species, Pectinopygus turbinatus infesting the body and Piagetiella caputincisum present in the oral cavity of the birds. This constitutes the first host record for P. turbinatus and the first record for the continental Argentina for P. caputincisum. Ninety-three percent of the chicks were infested by at least one lice species. P. turbinatus was present in all of the lousy chicks, while P...
December 2017: International Journal for Parasitology. Parasites and Wildlife
Anna Tigano, Timothy B Sackton, Vicki L Friesen
Thanks to a dramatic reduction in sequencing costs followed by a rapid development of bioinformatics tools, genome assembly and annotation have become accessible to many researchers in recent years. Among tetrapods, birds have genomes that display many features that facilitate their assembly and annotation, such as small genome size, low number of repeats, and highly conserved genomic structure. However, we found that high genomic heterozygosity could have a great impact on the quality of the genome assembly of the thick-billed murre (Uria lomvia), an arctic colonial seabird...
August 16, 2017: Molecular Ecology Resources
Michelle H Reynolds, Paul Berkowitz, John L Klavitter, Karen N Courtot
Earthquake-generated tsunamis threaten coastal areas and low-lying islands with sudden flooding. Although human hazards and infrastructure damage have been well documented for tsunamis in recent decades, the effects on wildlife communities rarely have been quantified. We describe a tsunami that hit the world's largest remaining tropical seabird rookery and estimate the effects of sudden flooding on 23 bird species nesting on Pacific islands more than 3,800 km from the epicenter. We used global positioning systems, tide gauge data, and satellite imagery to quantify characteristics of the Tōhoku earthquake-generated tsunami (11 March 2011) and its inundation extent across four Hawaiian Islands...
August 2017: Ecology and Evolution
Meagan L Dewar, John P Y Arnould, Theo R Allnutt, Tamsyn Crowley, Lutz Krause, John Reynolds, Peter Dann, Stuart C Smith
The establishment and early colonisation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract has been recognised as a crucial stage in chick development, with pioneering microbial species responsible for influencing the development of the GI tract and influencing host health, fitness and disease status throughout life. Development of the microbiota in long lived seabirds is poorly understood. This study characterised the microbial composition of little penguin and short-tailed shearwater chicks throughout development, using Quantitative Real Time PCR (qPCR) and 16S rRNA sequencing...
2017: PloS One
Nicolas J Rawlence, Charlotte E Till, Luke J Easton, Hamish G Spencer, Rob Schuckard, David S Melville, R Paul Scofield, Alan J D Tennyson, Matt J Rayner, Jonathan M Waters, Martyn Kennedy
New Zealand's endemic King Shag (Leucocarbo carunculatus) has occupied only a narrow portion of the northeastern South Island for at least the past 240years. However, pre-human Holocene fossil and archaeological remains have suggested a far more widespread distribution of the three Leucocarbo species (King, Otago, Foveaux) on mainland New Zealand at the time of Polynesian settlement in the late 13th Century CE. We use modern and ancient DNA, and morphometric and osteological analyses, of modern King Shags and Holocene fossil Leucocarbo remains to assess the pre-human distribution and taxonomic status of the King Shag on mainland New Zealand, and the resultant conservation implications...
August 10, 2017: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Hannah J Munro, Nicholas H Ogden, L Robbin Lindsay, Gregory J Robertson, Hugh Whitney, Andrew S Lang
The first report of members of the spirochete genus Borrelia in the seabird tick, Ixodes uriae, and seabird colonies occurred during the early 1990s. Since then, Borrelia spp. have been detected in these ticks and seabird colonies around the world. To-date, the primary species detected has been B. garinii, with rare occurrences of B. burgdorferi sensu stricto and B. lusitaniae. During our research on Borrelia and I. uriae in seabird colonies of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, we have identified B. bavariensis in I...
August 11, 2017: Applied and Environmental Microbiology
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