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Oliver Padget, Sarah L Bond, Marwa M Kavelaars, Emiel van Loon, Mark Bolton, Annette L Fayet, Martyna Syposz, Stephen Roberts, Tim Guilford
Compass orientation is central to the control of animal movement from the scale of local food-caching movements around a familiar area in parids [1] and corvids [2, 3] to the first autumn vector navigation of songbirds embarking on long-distance migration [4-6]. In the study of diurnal birds, where the homing pigeon, Columba livia, has been the main model, a time-compensated sun compass [7] is central to the two-step map-and-compass process of navigation from unfamiliar places, as well as guiding movement via a representation of familiar area landmarks [8-12]...
January 5, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Melissa Judith Chalada, John Stenos, Gemma Vincent, Dayana Barker, Richard Stewart Bradbury
Central Queensland (CQ) is a large and isolated, low population density, remote tropical region of Australia with a varied environment. The region has a diverse fauna and several species of ticks that feed upon that fauna. This study examined 518 individual ticks: 177 Rhipicephalus sanguineus (brown dog tick), 123 Haemaphysalis bancrofti (wallaby tick), 102 Rhipicephalus australis (Australian cattle tick), 47 Amblyomma triguttatum (ornate kangaroo tick), 57 Ixodes holocyclus (paralysis tick), 9 Bothriocroton tachyglossi (CQ short-beaked echidna tick), and 3 Ornithodoros capensis (seabird soft tick)...
January 16, 2018: Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Guilherme Tavares Nunes, Sophie Bertrand, Leandro Bugoni
Identifying associations between phenotypes and environmental parameters is crucial for understanding how natural selection acts at the individual level. In this context, genetically isolated populations can be useful models for identifying the forces selecting fitness-related traits. Here, we use a comprehensive dataset on a genetically and ecologically isolated population of the strictly marine bird, the brown booby Sula leucogaster, at the tropical and remote Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago, mid-Atlantic Ocean, in order to detect phenotypic adjustments from interindividual differences in diet, foraging behaviour, and nest quality...
January 12, 2018: Scientific Reports
Katarzyna Wojczulanis-Jakubas, Marcelo Araya-Salas, Dariusz Jakubas
Pair collaborative behavior may play an important role in avian reproduction. However, evidence for this mainly comes from certain ecological groups (e.g. passerines). We studied the coordination of parents in foraging and its effect on food provisioning rate and chick growth in a small seabird, the Dovekie (Little auk, Alle alle). The species exhibits a dual foraging strategy, where provisioning adults make foraging trips of short (mean ~2 h; to provide food for the chick) and long duration (mean ~ 13 h; mainly for adults self-maintenance, although the food is also brought to the chick)...
2018: PloS One
Stephen Votier
Migratory animals show great diversity of movement within populations, but the causes and consequences of this variability are poorly understood. Tracking a migratory seabird across its range reveals how environmental, latitudinal and demographic conditions shape migratory journeys and fitness.
January 8, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Terri J Maness, David J Anderson
This study reports body mass and serum chemistry reference values of 121 male and 57 female Nazca boobies (Sulidae: Sula granti) from a colony on Isla Española, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. Circulating aspartate aminotransferase, creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase, total protein, immunoglobulin Y, uric acid, blood urea nitrogen, triglycerides, cholesterol, and creatinine were quantified and analyzed by sex. Sex explained little variance in all examined variables except mass; females were heavier than males, as expected for sulids...
December 2017: Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine: Official Publication of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
S Seif, J F Provencher, S Avery-Gomm, P-Y Daoust, M L Mallory, P A Smith
Plastic debris is recognized as a widespread, common and problematic environmental pollutant. An important consequence of this pollution is the ingestion of plastic debris by wildlife. Assessing the degree to which different species ingest plastics, and the potential effects of these plastics on their health are important research needs for understanding the impacts of plastic pollution. We examined debris (plastic and other types) ingestion in three sympatric overwintering gull species (Herring gulls Larus smithsonianus, Great Black-backed Gulls Larus marinus, and Iceland Gulls Larus glaucoides) to understand how debris ingestion differs among species, age classes and sexes in gulls...
December 27, 2017: Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Casey Youngflesh, Stephanie Jenouvrier, Jefferson T Hinke, Lauren DuBois, Judy St Leger, Wayne Z Trivelpiece, Susan G Trivelpiece, Heather J Lynch
1.Phenological changes have been observed in a variety of systems over the past century. There is concern that, as a consequence, ecological interactions are becoming increasingly mismatched in time, with negative consequences for ecological function. 2.Significant spatial heterogeneity (inter-site) and temporal variability (inter-annual) can make it difficult to separate intrinsic, extrinsic, and stochastic drivers of phenological variability. The goal of this study was to understand the timing and variability of breeding phenology of Adélie penguins under fixed environmental conditions, and to use those data to identify a 'null model' appropriate for disentangling the sources of variation in wild populations...
December 26, 2017: Journal of Animal Ecology
Katherine L Moon, Steven L Chown, Siew-May Loh, Charlotte L Oskam, Ceridwen I Fraser
Lyme borreliosis (or Lyme Disease) is an emerging threat to human health in the Northern Hemisphere caused by tick-borne bacteria from the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (Bbsl) complex. Seabirds are important reservoir hosts of some members of the Bbsl complex in the Northern Hemisphere, and some evidence suggests this may be true of penguins in the Southern Hemisphere. While the Bbsl complex has not been detected in Australia, a novel Borrelia species ('Candidatus Borrelia tachyglossi') was recently sequenced from native ticks (Ixodes holocyclus and Bothriocroton concolor) parasitising echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus), suggesting unidentified borreliae may be circulating amongst native wildlife and their ticks...
December 15, 2017: Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases
Marianna Chimienti, Thomas Cornulier, Ellie Owen, Mark Bolton, Ian M Davies, Justin M J Travis, Beth E Scott
Detailed information acquired using tracking technology has the potential to provide accurate pictures of the types of movements and behaviors performed by animals. To date, such data have not been widely exploited to provide inferred information about the foraging habitat. We collected data using multiple sensors (GPS, time depth recorders, and accelerometers) from two species of diving seabirds, razorbills (Alca torda, N = 5, from Fair Isle, UK) and common guillemots (Uria aalge, N = 2 from Fair Isle and N = 2 from Colonsay, UK)...
December 2017: Ecology and Evolution
Mette Dalgaard Agersted, Eva Friis Møller, Kim Gustavson
Oil and gas exploration in the Arctic will increase the risk for accidental oil spills and thereby have a potential impact on the ecosystem and the organisms inhabiting these areas. Lipid rich copepods are an important food source for higher trophic levels in Arctic marine ecosystems. However, high lipid content and a slower metabolism increase the risk for bioaccumulation in Arctic species. Here we exposed three late development stages of the lipid rich high-Arctic copepod species Calanus hyperboreus to two different 14C-marked crude oil model compounds, the alkane dodecane (log Kow 6...
December 5, 2017: Aquatic Toxicology
Ricardo De Paoli-Iseppi, Andrea M Polanowski, Clive McMahon, Bruce E Deagle, Joanne L Dickinson, Mark A Hindell, Simon N Jarman
Most seabirds do not have any outward identifiers of their chronological age, so estimation of seabird population age structure generally requires expensive, long-term banding studies. We investigated the potential to use a molecular age biomarker to estimate age in short-tailed shearwaters (Ardenna tenuirostris). We quantified DNA methylation in several A. tenuirostris genes that have shown age-related methylation changes in mammals. In birds ranging from chicks to 21 years of age, bisulphite treated blood and feather DNA was sequenced and methylation levels analysed in 67 CpG sites in 13 target gene regions...
2017: PloS One
Mindaugas Mitkus, Gabrielle A Nevitt, Almut Kelber
Little is known about the development of vision in wild birds. It is unknown, for example, whether the ability to see can be predicted by the level of prenatal growth or whether the eyes are open at hatching in a particular species. In this study, we investigated the growth of eyes, the formation of retinal ganglion cell topography, and the appearance of simple, visually guided behaviours in chicks of a small procellariiform seabird, Leach's storm petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa). This semi-precocial species, which has a well-developed sense of smell, nests in underground burrows where adults provision chicks for 6-8 weeks in the dark before fledging...
December 7, 2017: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
Annette L Fayet, Robin Freeman, Tycho Anker-Nilssen, Antony Diamond, Kjell E Erikstad, Dave Fifield, Michelle G Fitzsimmons, Erpur S Hansen, Mike P Harris, Mark Jessopp, Amy-Lee Kouwenberg, Steve Kress, Stephen Mowat, Chris M Perrins, Aevar Petersen, Ib K Petersen, Tone K Reiertsen, Gregory J Robertson, Paula Shannon, Ingvar A Sigurðsson, Akiko Shoji, Sarah Wanless, Tim Guilford
Which factors shape animals' migration movements across large geographical scales, how different migratory strategies emerge between populations, and how these may affect population dynamics are central questions in the field of animal migration [1] that only large-scale studies of migration patterns across a species' range can answer [2]. To address these questions, we track the migration of 270 Atlantic puffins Fratercula arctica, a red-listed, declining seabird, across their entire breeding range. We investigate the role of demographic, geographical, and environmental variables in driving spatial and behavioral differences on an ocean-basin scale by measuring puffins' among-colony differences in migratory routes and day-to-day behavior (estimated with individual daily activity budgets and energy expenditure)...
November 23, 2017: Current Biology: CB
Leah R Johnson, Philipp H Boersch-Supan, Richard A Phillips, Sadie J Ryan
Animal movement patterns contribute to our understanding of variation in breeding success and survival of individuals, and the implications for population dynamics. Over time, sensor technology for measuring movement patterns has improved. Although older technologies may be rendered obsolete, the existing data are still valuable, especially if new and old data can be compared to test whether a behavior has changed over time. We used simulated data to assess the ability to quantify and correctly identify patterns of seabird flight lengths under observational regimes used in successive generations of wet/dry logging technology...
November 2017: Ecology and Evolution
M Genovart, J Bécares, J M Igual, A Martínez-Abraín, R Escandell, A Sánchez, B Rodríguez, J M Arcos, D Oro
Marine megafauna, including seabirds, are critically affected by fisheries bycatch. However, bycatch risk may differ on temporal and spatial scales due to the uneven distribution and effort of fleets operating different fishing gear, and to focal species distribution and foraging behaviour. Scopoli's shearwater Calonectris diomedea is a long-lived seabird that experiences high bycatch rates in longline fisheries and strong population-level impacts due to this type of anthropogenic mortality. Analyzing a long-term data set on individual monitoring, we compared adult survival (by means of multi-event capture-recapture models) among three close predator-free Mediterranean colonies of the species...
November 27, 2017: Global Change Biology
Lorien Pichegru, Reason Nyengera, Alistair M McInnes, Pierre Pistorius
Seismic surveys in search for oil or gas under the seabed, produce the most intense man-made ocean noise with known impacts on invertebrates, fish and marine mammals. No evidence to date exists, however, about potential impacts on seabirds. Penguins may be expected to be particularly affected by loud underwater sounds, due to their largely aquatic existence. This study investigated the behavioural response of breeding endangered African Penguins Spheniscus demersus to seismic surveys within 100 km of their colony in South Africa, using a multi-year GPS tracking dataset...
November 24, 2017: Scientific Reports
Dariusz Jakubas, Katarzyna Wojczulanis-Jakubas, Lech M Iliszko, Hallvard Strøm, Lech Stempniewicz
Here, we model current and future distribution of a foraging Arctic endemic species, the little auk (Alle alle), a small zooplanktivorous Arctic seabird. We characterized environmental conditions [sea depth, sea surface temperature (SST), marginal sea ice zone (MIZ)] at foraging positions of GPS-tracked individuals from three breeding colonies in Svalbard: one located at the southern rim of the Arctic zone (hereafter 'boreo-Arctic') and two in the high-Arctic zone on Spitsbergen ('high-Arctic'). The birds from one 'high-Arctic' colony, influenced by cold Arctic water, foraged in the shallow shelf zone near the colony...
November 24, 2017: Scientific Reports
Corey A Clatterbuck, Rebecca L Lewison, Nathan G Dodder, Catherine Zeeman, Kenneth Schiff
Seabirds are often cited as sentinels of the marine environment, but are rarely used in traditional ocean and coastal contaminant monitoring. Four classes of persistent organic pollutants (POPs, n=68) and three trace elements (mercury, selenium, and arsenic) were measured in the eggs of California least terns (Sterna antillarum browni), caspian terns (Hydroprogne caspia), double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus), and western gulls (Larus occidentalis) that nest in the Southern California Bight. Building on a periodic five year regional monitoring program, we measured contaminant exposure and assessed the utility of seabirds as regional contaminant biomonitors...
November 16, 2017: Science of the Total Environment
Emily R Whitmer, Becky A Elias, Danielle J Harvey, Michael H Ziccardi
Following an oil spill in the marine environment, chemical dispersants, which increase oil droplet formation and distribution into the water column, are assumed to provide a net benefit to seabirds by reducing the risk of exposure to oil on the water surface. However, few data are available regarding acute, external impacts of exposure to dispersed oil. We evaluated the effects of known concentrations of dispersant and crude oil in artificial seawater on live Common Murres (Uria aalge). Waterproofing and microscopic feather geometry were evaluated over time and compared to pre-exposure values...
November 17, 2017: Journal of Wildlife Diseases
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