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Holly F Goyert, Beth Gardner, Rahel Sollmann, Richard R Veit, Andrew T Gilbert, Emily E Connelly, Kathryn A Williams
Proposed offshore wind energy development on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf has brought attention to the need for baseline studies of the distribution and abundance of marine birds. We compiled line transect data from 15 shipboard surveys (June 2012-April 2014), along with associated remotely sensed habitat data, in the lower Mid-Atlantic Bight off the coast of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, USA. We implemented a recently developed hierarchical community distance sampling model to estimate the seasonal abundance of 40 observed marine bird species...
September 2016: Ecological Applications: a Publication of the Ecological Society of America
Liqiang Xu, Xiaodong Liu, Libin Wu, Liguang Sun, Jinjun Zhao, Lin Chen
Based on three ornithogenic sediment profiles and seabird subfossils therein from the Xisha Islands, South China Sea, the relative population size of seabirds over the past 1000 years was reconstructed using reflectance spectrum. Here we present an apparent increase and subsequent decline of seabirds on these islands in the South China Sea. Seabird populations peaked during the Little Ice Age (LIA, 1400-1850 AD), implying that the cool climate during the LIA appears to have been more favorable to seabirds on the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea...
October 17, 2016: Scientific Reports
Christine V Fiorello, Kate Freeman, Becky A Elias, Emily Whitmer, Michael H Ziccardi
The safety of chemical dispersants used during oil spill responses is largely unknown in birds. We captured common murres in Monterey Bay, CA and exposed them to Corexit EC9500a, crude oil, or a combination in artificial seawater. We performed ophthalmic examinations and measured intraocular pressures and tear production before and after exposure. Loglinear analysis found that exposure to oil or dispersant was related to the development of conjunctivitis and corneal ulcers. Odds ratios for birds exposed to oil or dispersant were positive and significant for the development of conjunctivitis, while odds ratios for the development of corneal ulcers were positive and significant only for birds exposed to a high concentration of oil...
October 12, 2016: Marine Pollution Bulletin
Birgit M Braune, Mark L Mallory
Polychorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) such as the non-ortho PCBs (nPCBs) persist in the environment despite international measures to ban their emissions. We determined congener patterns and temporal trends for PCDDs, PCDFs, nPCBs as well as their toxic equivalents (TEQs) in eggs of thick-billed murres (Uria lomvia) and northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) sampled from Prince Leopold Island in the Canadian Arctic between 1975 and 2014...
October 11, 2016: Environmental Pollution
Gemma V Clucas, Jane L Younger, Damian Kao, Alex D Rogers, Jonathan Handley, Gary D Miller, Pierre Jouventin, Paul Nolan, Karim Gharbi, Karen J Miller, Tom Hart
BACKGROUND: Seabirds are important components of marine ecosystems, both as predators and as indicators of ecological change, being conspicuous and sensitive to changes in prey abundance. To determine whether fluctuations in population sizes are localised or indicative of large-scale ecosystem change, we must first understand population structure and dispersal. King penguins are long-lived seabirds that occupy a niche across the sub-Antarctic zone close to the Polar Front. Colonies have very different histories of exploitation, population recovery, and expansion...
October 13, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Marlène Dupraz, Céline Toty, Valérie Noël, Agustin Estrada-Peňa, Jacob González-Solís, Thierry Boulinier, Jean-Pierre Dujardin, Karen D McCoy
Host specific adaptations in parasites can lead to the divergence of conspecific populations. However, this divergence can be difficult to measure because morphological changes may not be expressed or because obvious changes may simply reflect phenotypic plasticity. Combining both genetic and phenotypic information can enable a better understanding of the divergence process and help identify the underlying selective forces, particularly in closely-related species groups. Here, we link genetic and morphometric data to understand divergence patterns within the Ornithodoros (Carios) capensis complex, a group of soft ticks (Argasidae) exploiting colonial seabirds across the globe...
October 8, 2016: Infection, Genetics and Evolution
S L Cox, P I Miller, C B Embling, K L Scales, A W J Bicknell, P J Hosegood, G Morgan, S N Ingram, S C Votier
Oceanic fronts are key habitats for a diverse range of marine predators, yet how they influence fine-scale foraging behaviour is poorly understood. Here, we investigated the dive behaviour of northern gannets Morus bassanus in relation to shelf-sea fronts. We GPS (global positioning system) tracked 53 breeding birds and examined the relationship between 1901 foraging dives (from time-depth recorders) and thermal fronts (identified via Earth Observation composite front mapping) in the Celtic Sea, Northeast Atlantic...
September 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Mohammed Hashim Al-Yasiri, Anne-Cécile Normand, Renaud Piarroux, Stéphane Ranque, Jean-François Mauffrey
Yellow-legged gulls have been reported to carry antibiotic-resistant Enterobacteriaceae; however, the gut mycobiota of these birds has not yet been described. In this study, we analyzed the gut yeast communities in five yellow-legged gull breeding colonies along the Mediterranean littoral in southern France. Gull fecal samples were inoculated onto four types of culture media, including one supplemented with itraconazole. Yeast species richness, abundance, and diversity were estimated, and factorial analysis was used to highlight correspondences between breeding colonies...
October 4, 2016: Medical Mycology: Official Publication of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology
Brian Chang, Matthew Croson, Lorian Straker, Sean Gart, Carla Dove, John Gerwin, Sunghwan Jung
In nature, several seabirds (e.g., gannets and boobies) dive into water at up to 24 m/s as a hunting mechanism; furthermore, gannets and boobies have a slender neck, which is potentially the weakest part of the body under compression during high-speed impact. In this work, we investigate the stability of the bird's neck during plunge-diving by understanding the interaction between the fluid forces acting on the head and the flexibility of the neck. First, we use a salvaged bird to identify plunge-diving phases...
October 4, 2016: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Christina Bauch, Juliane Riechert, Simon Verhulst, Peter H Becker
Telomere length is a candidate biomarker of ageing and phenotypic quality, but little is known of the (physiological) causes of telomere length variation. We previously showed that individual common terns Sterna hirundo with high reproductive success had short telomeres independent of age, and this pattern was particularly strong in the longer telomeres of the within-individual telomere length distribution. To test whether this relation can be attributed to effects of reproductive effort, we investigated baseline corticosterone in relation to reproductive success (number of fledglings) and telomere length...
October 1, 2016: Molecular Ecology
F Aguado-Giménez, A Sallent-Sánchez, S Eguía-Martínez, J Martínez-Ródenas, M D Hernández-Llorente, C Palanca-Maresca, J L Molina-Pardo, B López-Pastor, F A García-Castellanos, M Ballester-Moltó, G Ballesteros-Pelegrín, B García-García, G G Barberá
Cage aquaculture aggregates wild fauna due to food provision. Several seabirds frequent fish farms, including the European storm-petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus melitensis). This work investigates the presence of storm-petrels around two aquaculture areas interspersed between breeding colonies in western Mediterranean Sea. Contribution of aquaculture-derived resources to their diet was assessed. Storm-petrels were mist-netted at the colonies and marked by bleaching feathers. Density around aquaculture areas was estimated through visual counts...
September 19, 2016: Marine Environmental Research
Teresa J Lorenz, Martin G Raphael, Thomas D Bloxton
The marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) is a declining seabird that is well-known for nesting in coastal old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest. Most studies of habitat selection have focused on modeling terrestrial nesting habitat even though marine habitat is believed to be a major contributor to population declines in some regions. To address this information gap, we conducted a 5-year study of marine resource selection by murrelets in Washington, which contains a population experiencing the steepest documented declines and where marine habitat is believed to be compromised...
2016: PloS One
Sylwia Zielińska, Dorota Kidawa, Lech Stempniewicz, Marcin Łoś, Joanna M Łoś
Due to deposition of birds' guano, eggshells or feathers, the vicinity of a large seabirds' breeding colony is expected to have a substantial impact on the soil's physicochemical features as well as on diversity of vegetation and the soil invertebrates. Consequently, due to changing physicochemical features the structure of bacterial communities might fluctuate in different soil environments. The aim of this study was to investigate the bacterial assemblages in the Arctic soil within the area of a birds' colony and in a control sample from a topographically similar location but situated away from the colony's impact area...
2016: Frontiers in Microbiology
Adil Bakir, Isabel A O'Connor, Steven J Rowland, A Jan Hendriks, Richard C Thompson
It has been hypothesised that, if ingested, plastic debris could act as vector for the transfer of chemical contaminants from seawater to organisms, yet modelling suggest that, in the natural environment, chemical transfer would be negligible compared to other routes of uptake. However, to date, the models have not incorporated consideration of the role of gut surfactants, or the influence of pH or temperature on desorption, whilst experimental work has shown that these factors can enhance desorption of sorbed contaminants several fold...
September 20, 2016: Environmental Pollution
Martin Renner, Sigrid Salo, Lisa B Eisner, Patrick H Ressler, Carol Ladd, Kathy J Kuletz, Jarrod A Santora, John F Piatt, Gary S Drew, George L Hunt
Timing of spring sea-ice retreat shapes the southeast Bering Sea food web. We compared summer seabird densities and average bathymetry depth distributions between years with early (typically warm) and late (typically cold) ice retreat. Averaged over all seabird species, densities in early-ice-retreat-years were 10.1% (95% CI: 1.1-47.9%) of that in late-ice-retreat-years. In early-ice-retreat-years, surface-foraging species had increased numbers over the middle shelf (50-150 m) and reduced numbers over the shelf slope (200-500 m)...
September 2016: Biology Letters
Nicholas Per Huffeldt, Flemming R Merkel
In contrast to daily rhythms that are common in the presence of the geophysical light-dark cycle, organisms at polar latitudes exhibit many diel activity patterns during natural periods of continuous solar light or darkness (polar day and night, respectively), from 24 h rhythms to arrhythmicity. In Arctic Greenland (73.7° N, 56.6° W) during polar day, we observed breeding-site attendance rhythms of thick-billed murres (Uria lomvia; n = 21 pairs), a charadriiform seabird, which provide biparental care at the colony...
September 2016: Biology Letters
Elizabeth C Kain, Jennifer L Lavers, Carl J Berg, André F Raine, Alexander L Bond
The ingestion of plastic by seabirds has been used as an indicator of pollution in the marine environment. On Kaua'i, HI, USA, 50.0 % of Newell's (Puffinus newelli) and 76.9 % of wedge-tailed shearwater (Ardenna pacifica) fledglings necropsied during 2007-2014 contained plastic items in their digestive tract, while 42.1 % of adult wedge-tailed shearwaters had ingested plastic. For both species, the frequency of plastic ingestion has increased since the 1980s with some evidence that the mass and the number of items ingested per bird have also increased...
September 15, 2016: Environmental Science and Pollution Research International
Jacob E Schmidt, Aubrey E Sirman, Jeffrey D Kittilson, Mark E Clark, Wendy L Reed, Britt J Heidinger
Telomere dynamics in blood cells have been linked to aging in a variety of organisms. However, whether blood telomeres are correlated with telomeres in other parts of the body is not well known, especially during early life when telomere loss is expected to be most rapid. We investigated this question in Franklin's gulls (Leucophaeus pipixcan) by measuring telomere lengths in blood and several other tissues including: heart, liver, and skeletal muscle at the end of embryonic (n=31) and post-natal development (n=20)...
September 12, 2016: Experimental Gerontology
David J Hawke, Roseanna Gamlen-Greene, Jon S Harding, Dana Leishman
Endemic Westland petrels (Procellaria westlandica) are a remnant of extensive seabird populations that occupied the forested hill country of prehuman New Zealand. Because seabird guano is rich in Se, an often-deficient essential element, we proposed that Westland petrels enhance Se concentrations in ecosystems associated with their breeding grounds. We sampled terrestrial (soil, plants, riparian spiders) and freshwater (benthic invertebrates, fish) components from Westland petrel-enriched and non-seabird forests on the western coast of New Zealand's South Island, an area characterised by highly leached, nutrient-poor soils...
September 11, 2016: Science of the Total Environment
Holly L Hennin, Jöel Bêty, Pierre Legagneux, H Grant Gilchrist, Tony D Williams, Oliver P Love
The influence of variation in individual state on key reproductive decisions impacting fitness is well appreciated in evolutionary ecology. Rowe et al. (1994) developed a condition-dependent individual optimization model predicting that three key factors impact the ability of migratory female birds to individually optimize breeding phenology to maximize fitness in seasonal environments: arrival condition, arrival date, and ability to gain in condition on the breeding grounds. While empirical studies have confirmed that greater arrival body mass and earlier arrival dates result in earlier laying, no study has assessed whether individual variation in energetic management of condition gain effects this key fitness-related decision...
October 2016: American Naturalist
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