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Behavior, Animal - Top 30 Publications

Intranasal administration of tetrabromobisphenol A bis(2-hydroxyethyl ether) induces neurobehavioral changes in neonatal Sprague Dawley rats.

Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) and its derivatives are now being highly concerned due to their emerging environmental occurrence and deleterious effects on non-target organisms. Considering the potential neurotoxicity of TBBPA derivatives which has been demonstrated in vitro, what could happen in vivo is worthy of being studied. Tetrabromobisphenol A bis(2-hydroxyethyl ether) (TBBPA-BHEE), a representative TBBPA derivative, was selected for a 21-day exposure experiment on neonatal Sprague Dawley (SD) rats through intranasal administration. The neurobehavioral, histopathological changes, and differentially expressed genes based on RNA microarray were investigated to evaluate the neurological effects of this chemical. The results indicated that TBBPA-BHEE exposure significantly compromised the motor co-ordination performance and the locomotor activities (p<0.05). The neurobehavioral phenotype could be attributed to the obvious histopathological changes in both cerebrum and cerebellum, such as neural cell swelling, microglial activation and proliferation. A total of 911 genes were up-regulated, whereas 433 genes were down-regulated. Gene set enrichment analysis showed multiple signaling pathways, including ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis and wingless-int (Wnt) signaling pathway etc. were involved due to TBBPA-BHEE exposure. The gene ontology enrichment analysis showed the basic cellular function and the neurological processes like synaptic transmission were influenced. The toxicological effects of TBBPA-BHEE observed in this study suggested the potential neuronal threaten from unintended exposure, which would be of great value in the biosafety evaluation of TBBPA derivatives.

Behavioural responses of krill and cod to artificial light in laboratory experiments.

Most fishes and crustaceans respond to light, and artificial light sources may therefore be an efficient stimulus to manipulate behaviours in aquatic animals. It has been hypothesised that the catch efficiency of pots could be increased if prey, for example krill, can be attracted into the pots providing a visual stimulus and a source of live bait. To find which light characteristics are most attractive to krill, we tested the effects of light intensity and wavelength composition on Northern krill's (Meganyctiphanes norvegica) behavioural response to an artificial light source. The most attractive individual wavelength was 530 nm (green light), while broadband (425-750 nm) white light was an equally attractive light source. The intensity of the emitted light did not appear to have a direct effect on attraction to the light source, however it did significantly increase swimming activity among the observed krill. The most promising light stimuli for krill were tested to determine whether they would have a repulsive or attractive effect on cod (Gadus morhua); These light stimuli appeared to have a slightly repulsive, but non-significant, effect on cod. However, we suggest that a swarm of krill attracted to an artificial light source may produce a more effective visual stimulus to foraging cod.

Vocal complexity and sociality in spotted paca (Cuniculus paca).

The evolution of sociality is related to many ecological factors that act on animals as selective forces, thus driving the formation of groups. Group size will depend on the payoffs of group living. The Social Complexity Hypothesis for Communication (SCHC) predicts that increases in group size will be related to increases in the complexity of the communication among individuals. This hypothesis, which was confirmed in some mammal societies, may be useful to trace sociality in the spotted paca (Cuniculus paca), a Neotropical caviomorph rodent reported as solitary. There are, however, sightings of groups in the wild, and farmers easily form groups of spotted paca in captivity. Thus, we aimed to describe the acoustic repertoire of captive spotted paca to test the SCHC and to obtain insights about the sociability of this species. Moreover, we aimed to verify the relationship between group size and acoustic repertoire size of caviomorph rodents, to better understand the evolution of sociality in this taxon. We predicted that spotted paca should display a complex acoustic repertoire, given their social behavior in captivity and group sightings in the wild. We also predicted that in caviomorph species the group size would increase with acoustic repertoire, supporting the SCHC. We performed a Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA) based on acoustic parameters of the vocalizations recorded. In addition, we applied an independent contrasts approach to investigate sociality in spotted paca following the social complexity hypothesis, independent of phylogeny. Our analysis showed that the spotted paca's acoustic repertoire contains seven vocal types and one mechanical signal. The broad acoustic repertoire of the spotted paca might have evolved given the species' ability to live in groups. The relationship between group size and the size of the acoustic repertoires of caviomorph species was confirmed, providing additional support for the SCHC in yet another group of diverse mammals-caviomorph rodents.

Phenomena of synchronized response in biosystems and the possible mechanism.

Phenomena of synchronized response is common among organs, tissues and cells in biosystems. We have analyzed and discussed three examples of synchronization in biosystems, including the direction-changing movement of paramecia, the prey behavior of flytraps, and the simultaneous discharge of electric eels. These phenomena and discussions support an electrical communication mechanism that in biosystems, the electrical signals are mainly soliton-like electromagnetic pulses, which are generated by the transient transmembrane ionic current through the ion channels and propagate along the dielectric membrane-based softmaterial waveguide network to complete synchronized responses. This transmission model implies that a uniform electrical communication mechanism might have been naturally developed in biosystem.

Chemotactic drift speed for bacterial motility pattern with two alternating turning events.

Bacterial chemotaxis is one of the most extensively studied adaptive responses in cells. Many bacteria are able to bias their apparently random motion to produce a drift in the direction of the increasing chemoattractant concentration. It has been recognized that the particular motility pattern employed by moving bacteria has a direct impact on the efficiency of chemotaxis. The linear theory of chemotaxis pioneered by de Gennes allows for calculation of the drift velocity in small gradients for bacteria with basic motility patterns. However, recent experimental data on several bacterial species highlighted the motility pattern where the almost straight runs of cells are interspersed with turning events leading to the reorientation of the cell swimming directions with two distinct angles following in strictly alternating order. In this manuscript we generalize the linear theory of chemotaxis to calculate the chemotactic drift speed for the motility pattern of bacteria with two turning angles. By using the experimental data on motility parameters of V. alginolyticus bacteria we can use our theory to relate the efficiency of chemotaxis and the size of bacterial cell body. The results of this work can have a straightforward extension to address most general motility patterns with alternating angles, speeds and durations of runs.

Comparative metabolic ecology of tropical herbivorous echinoids on a coral reef.

The metabolic rate of consumers is a key driver of ecosystem dynamics. On coral reefs, herbivorous echinoids consume fleshy algae, facilitating the growth of reef-building calcified organisms; however, little is known about differences among species in their metabolic and functional ecology. Here, we used log-linear (log-log) regression models to examine the allometric scaling of mass and routine metabolic rate for five common herbivorous echinoids on a Hawaiian coral reef: Echinothrix calamaris, E. diadema, Echinometra matthaei, Heterocentrotus mammillatus, and Tripneustes gratilla. Scaling relationships were then contrasted with empirical observations of echinoid ecology and general metabolic theory to broaden our understanding of diversity in the metabolic and functional ecology of tropical herbivorous echinoids.

The motivation-based calving facility: Social and cognitive factors influence isolation seeking behaviour of Holstein dairy cows at calving.

In order to improve animal welfare it is recommended that dairy farmers move calving cows from the herd to individual pens when calving is imminent. However, the practicality of moving cows has proven a challenge and may lead to disturbance of the cows rather than easing the process of calving. One solution may be to allow the cow to seek isolation prior to calving. This study examined whether pre-parturient dairy cows will isolate in an individual calving pen placed in a group calving setting and whether a closing gate in this individual calving pen will cause more cows to isolate prior to calving. Danish Holstein cows (n = 66) were housed in groups of six in a group pen with access to six individual calving pens connected to the group area. Cows were trained to use one of two isolation opportunities i.e. individual calving pens with functional closing gates (n = 35) allowing only one cow access at a time, or individual calving pens with permanently open gates allowing free cow traffic between group area and individual pen (n = 31). The response variables were calving site, calving behaviour and social behaviour. Unexpectedly, a functional gate did not facilitate isolation seeking, perhaps because the cows were not able to combine a learnt response with the motivation to isolate. Dominant cows had the highest chance of calving in an individual calving pen. If an alien calf was present in the group pen or any of the individual pens, cows were less likely to calve in an individual calving pen. Future studies should allow cows easy access to an individual calving pen and explore what motivates pre-parturient cows to seek isolation in order to facilitate voluntary use of individual calving pens.

Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor controls neural and behavioral plasticity in response to cocaine.

Cocaine addiction is characterized by dysfunction in reward-related brain circuits, leading to maladaptive motivation to seek and take the drug. There are currently no clinically available pharmacotherapies to treat cocaine addiction. Through a broad screen of innate immune mediators, we identify granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) as a potent mediator of cocaine-induced adaptations. Here we report that G-CSF potentiates cocaine-induced increases in neural activity in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and prefrontal cortex. In addition, G-CSF injections potentiate cocaine place preference and enhance motivation to self-administer cocaine, while not affecting responses to natural rewards. Infusion of G-CSF neutralizing antibody into NAc blocks the ability of G-CSF to modulate cocaine's behavioral effects, providing a direct link between central G-CSF action in NAc and cocaine reward. These results demonstrate that manipulating G-CSF is sufficient to alter the motivation for cocaine, but not natural rewards, providing a pharmacotherapeutic avenue to manipulate addictive behaviors without abuse potential.

Novel signature fatty acid profile of the giant manta ray suggests reliance on an uncharacterised mesopelagic food source low in polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Traditionally, large planktivorous elasmobranchs have been thought to predominantly feed on surface zooplankton during daytime hours. However, the recent application of molecular methods to examine long-term assimilated diets, has revealed that these species likely gain the majority from deeper or demersal sources. Signature fatty acid analysis (FA) of muscle tissue was used to examine the assimilated diet of the giant manta ray Mobula birostris, and then compared with surface zooplankton that was collected during feeding and non-feeding events at two aggregation sites off mainland Ecuador. The FA profiles of M. birostris and surface zooplankton were markedly different apart from similar proportions of arachidonic acid, which suggests daytime surface zooplankton may comprise a small amount of dietary intake for M. birostris. The FA profile of M. birostris muscle was found to be depleted in polyunsaturated fatty acids, and instead comprised high proportions of 18:1ω9 isomers. While 18:1ω9 isomers are not explicitly considered dietary FAs, they are commonly found in high proportions in deep-sea organisms, including elasmobranch species. Overall, the FA profile of M. birostris suggests a diet that is mesopelagic in origin, but many mesopelagic zooplankton species also vertically migrate, staying deep during the day and moving to shallower waters at night. Here, signature FA analysis is unable to resolve the depth at which these putative dietary items were consumed and how availability of this prey may drive distribution and movements of this large filter-feeder.

Biting mechanics and niche separation in a specialized clade of primate seed predators.

We analyzed feeding biomechanics in pitheciine monkeys (Pithecia, Chiropotes, Cacajao), a clade that specializes on hard-husked unripe fruit (sclerocarpy) and resistant seeds (seed predation). We tested the hypothesis that pitheciine crania are well-suited to generate and withstand forceful canine and molar biting, with the prediction that they generate bite forces more efficiently and better resist masticatory strains than the closely-related Callicebus, which does not specialize on unripe fruits and/or seeds. We also tested the hypothesis that Callicebus-Pithecia-Chiropotes-Cacajao represent a morphocline of increasing sclerocarpic specialization with respect to biting leverage and craniofacial strength, consistent with anterior dental morphology. We found that pitheciines have higher biting leverage than Callicebus and are generally more resistant to masticatory strain. However, Cacajao was found to experience high strain magnitudes in some facial regions. We therefore found limited support for the morphocline hypothesis, at least with respect to the mechanical performance metrics examined here. Biting leverage in Cacajao was nearly identical (or slightly less than) in Chiropotes and strain magnitudes during canine biting were more likely to follow a Cacajao-Chiropotes-Pithecia trend of increasing strength, in contrast to the proposed morphocline. These results could indicate that bite force efficiency and derived anterior teeth were selected for in pitheciines at the expense of increased strain magnitudes. However, our results for Cacajao potentially reflect reduced feeding competition offered by allopatry with other pitheciines, which allows Cacajao species to choose from a wider variety of fruits at various stages of ripeness, leading to reduction in the selection for robust facial features. We also found that feeding biomechanics in sympatric Pithecia and Chiropotes are consistent with data on food structural properties and observations of dietary niche separation, with the former being well-suited for the regular molar crushing of hard seeds and the latter better adapted for breaching hard fruits.

Integrating direct observation and GPS tracking to monitor animal behavior for resource management.

Monitoring the behavior of pack animals in protected areas informs management about use patterns and the potential associated negative impacts. However, systematic assessments of behavior are uncommon due to methodological and logistical constraints. This study integrated behavior mapping with GPS tracking, and applied behavior change point analysis, as an approach to monitor the behaviors of pack animals during overnight periods. The integrated approach identified multiple grazing patterns (i.e., locally intense grazing, ambulatory grazing) not feasible through a single methodology alone. Monitoring behavior and corresponding environmental conditions aid managers in implementing strategies designed to mitigate impacts associated with pack animals in natural areas. Results also contrast the influence of temporal scale on behavior segmentation to inform decisions for further monitoring and management of domestic animal use and impacts in natural areas. This integrated approach reduced time and logistical constraints of each method individually to promote ongoing monitoring and highlight how multiple management tactics could reduce impacts to sensitive habitats.

Breaking Habits: The Effect of the French Vending Machine Ban on School Snacking and Sugar Intakes.

This paper estimates the effect of the 2005 vending machine ban in French secondary schools on nutrient intakes and on the frequency of morning snacking at school. Using data before and after the ban, and exploiting the discontinuity associated with the age-dependent exposure to the ban, we specify a difference-in-differences regression discontinuity design. Since the relationship between age-at-interview and school level is not precise, we introduce fuzziness in the model. We find that the ban has generated a 10-gram reduction in sugar intakes from morning snacks at school, and a significant reduction in the frequency of these morning snacks. However, we find no evidence that the intervention affects total daily intakes, and our results are suggestive of compensation effects.

AZP-531, an unacylated ghrelin analog, improves food-related behavior in patients with Prader-Willi syndrome: A randomized placebo-controlled trial.

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is characterized by early-onset hyperphagia and increased circulating levels of the orexigenic Acylated Ghrelin (AG) hormone with a relative deficit of Unacylated Ghrelin (UAG). AZP-531, a first-in-class UAG analog, was shown to inhibit the orexigenic effect of AG in animals, to improve glycemic control and decrease body weight in humans. We aimed to investigate the safety and efficacy of AZP-531 in patients with PWS for whom no approved treatment for hyperphagia is currently available.

International migration patterns of Red-throated Loons (Gavia stellata) from four breeding populations in Alaska.

Identifying post-breeding migration and wintering distributions of migratory birds is important for understanding factors that may drive population dynamics. Red-throated Loons (Gavia stellata) are widely distributed across Alaska and currently have varying population trends, including some populations with recent periods of decline. To investigate population differentiation and the location of migration pathways and wintering areas, which may inform population trend patterns, we used satellite transmitters (n = 32) to describe migration patterns of four geographically separate breeding populations of Red-throated Loons in Alaska. On average (± SD) Red-throated Loons underwent long (6,288 ± 1,825 km) fall and spring migrations predominantly along coastlines. The most northern population (Arctic Coastal Plain) migrated westward to East Asia and traveled approximately 2,000 km farther to wintering sites than the three more southerly populations (Seward Peninsula, Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, and Copper River Delta) which migrated south along the Pacific coast of North America. These migration paths are consistent with the hypothesis that Red-throated Loons from the Arctic Coastal Plain are exposed to contaminants in East Asia. The three more southerly breeding populations demonstrated a chain migration pattern in which the more northerly breeding populations generally wintered in more northerly latitudes. Collectively, the migration paths observed in this study demonstrate that some geographically distinct breeding populations overlap in wintering distribution while others use highly different wintering areas. Red-throated Loon population trends in Alaska may therefore be driven by a wide range of effects throughout the annual cycle.

A time-lagged effect of conspecific density on habitat selection by snowshoe hare.

Ideal free distribution theory predicts that increased conspecific density redistributes individuals to low-density, suboptimal habitat. However, possible lags in response to population density remain poorly documented. Snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus) may exhibit density-dependent habitat selection due to its marked variation in population density. Based on 11 years (2004-2014) of snow tracking in Quebec (Canada), we investigated snowshoe hares' short-term and delayed habitat selection responses to population density. We predicted that at high densities, hare distribution expands into low-density habitat, thus weakening the association between hares and high-density habitat. We surveyed hare tracks along 95 km of transects on average each year and georeferenced 14,240 tracks. We used Generalized Estimating Equations for track count per 100 m transect segment as a function of the proportion of different forest age classes (0-20 y, 20-40 y and 40-80 y) within 50 m of the segments. We used model coefficients for each age class as a measure of habitat preference, and modeled those coefficients as a function of a population density index in current and previous winters. Coefficients for 20- to 40-y-old forests were positive each year, indicating that this habitat was preferred. The association between track counts and 20- to 40-y-old forest significantly declined with density during the previous winter, suggesting that hare spread from preferred forest with a lagged response to density. To our knowledge, no previous empirical studies have documented a lagged habitat selection response to population density. Time lags offer possible explanation for documented deviations from ideal free distribution models.

Diversity patterns, Leishmania DNA detection, and bloodmeal identification of Phlebotominae sand flies in villages in northern Colombia.

Leishmaniases are neglected tropical diseases exhibiting complex transmission cycles due to the number of parasite species circulating, sand fly species acting as vectors and infected mammals, including humans, which are defined in the New World as accidental hosts. However, current transmission scenarios are changing, and the disease is no longer exclusively related to forested areas but urban transmission foci occur, involving some species of domestic animals as suspected reservoirs. The aim of this study was to determine the transmission cycles in urban environments by evaluating sand fly diversity, detection of Leishmania DNA, and bloodmeal sources through intra and peridomestic collections. The study was carried out in Colombia, in 13 municipalities of Cordoba department, implementing a methodology that could be further used for the evaluation of vector-borne diseases in villages or towns. Our sampling design included 24 houses randomly selected in each of 15 villages distributed in 13 municipalities, which were sampled in two seasons in 2015 and 2016. Sand flies were collected using CDC light traps placed in intra and peridomestic habitats. In addition to the morphological identification, molecular identification through DNA barcodes was also performed. A total of 19,743 sand flies were collected and 13,848 of them (10,268 females and 3,580 males) were used in molecular procedures. Circulation of two known parasite species-Leishmania infantum and Leishmania panamensis was confirmed. Blood source analyses showed that sand flies fed on humans, particularly in the case of the known L. infantum vector, P. evansi; further analyses are advised to evaluate the reservoirs involved in parasite transmission. Our sampling design allowed us to evaluate potential transmission cycles on a department scale, by defining suspected vector species, parasite species present in different municipalities and feeding habits.

Seabird parents provision their chick in a coordinated manner.

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). We expected that offspring would benefit if parents coordinate their foraging patterns: one making short trips in the time when the other performing the long one. We examined this hypothesis using Monte Carlo randomization tests on field data collected during observations of individually marked birds. We found that parents did indeed adjust provisioning, making their long and short trips in an alternating pattern with respect to each other. Furthermore, we found that a higher level of coordination is associated with a lower variability in the duration of inter-feeding intervals, although this does not affect chick growth. Nevertheless, our results provide compelling evidence on the coordinated behavior of breeding partners.

Killing wolves to prevent predation on livestock may protect one farm but harm neighbors.

Large carnivores, such as gray wolves, Canis lupus, are difficult to protect in mixed-use landscapes because some people perceive them as dangerous and because they sometimes threaten human property and safety. Governments may respond by killing carnivores in an effort to prevent repeated conflicts or threats, although the functional effectiveness of lethal methods has long been questioned. We evaluated two methods of government intervention following independent events of verified wolf predation on domestic animals (depredation) in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA between 1998-2014, at three spatial scales. We evaluated two intervention methods using log-rank tests and conditional Cox recurrent event, gap time models based on retrospective analyses of the following quasi-experimental treatments: (1) selective killing of wolves by trapping near sites of verified depredation, and (2) advice to owners and haphazard use of non-lethal methods without wolf-killing. The government did not randomly assign treatments and used a pseudo-control (no removal of wolves was not a true control), but the federal permission to intervene lethally was granted and rescinded independent of events on the ground. Hazard ratios suggest lethal intervention was associated with an insignificant 27% lower risk of recurrence of events at trapping sites, but offset by an insignificant 22% increase in risk of recurrence at sites up to 5.42 km distant in the same year, compared to the non-lethal treatment. Our results do not support the hypothesis that Michigan's use of lethal intervention after wolf depredations was effective for reducing the future risk of recurrence in the vicinities of trapping sites. Examining only the sites of intervention is incomplete because neighbors near trapping sites may suffer the recurrence of depredations. We propose two new hypotheses for perceived effectiveness of lethal methods: (a) killing predators may be perceived as effective because of the benefits to a small minority of farmers, and (b) if neighbors experience side-effects of lethal intervention such as displaced depredations, they may perceive the problem growing and then demand more lethal intervention rather than detecting problems spreading from the first trapping site. Ethical wildlife management guided by the "best scientific and commercial data available" would suggest suspending the standard method of trapping wolves in favor of non-lethal methods (livestock guarding dogs or fladry) that have been proven effective in preventing livestock losses in Michigan and elsewhere.

Fast intensity adaptation enhances the encoding of sound in Drosophila.

To faithfully encode complex stimuli, sensory neurons should correct, via adaptation, for stimulus properties that corrupt pattern recognition. Here we investigate sound intensity adaptation in the Drosophila auditory system, which is largely devoted to processing courtship song. Mechanosensory neurons (JONs) in the antenna are sensitive not only to sound-induced antennal vibrations, but also to wind or gravity, which affect the antenna's mean position. Song pattern recognition, therefore, requires adaptation to antennal position (stimulus mean) in addition to sound intensity (stimulus variance). We discover fast variance adaptation in Drosophila JONs, which corrects for background noise over the behaviorally relevant intensity range. We determine where mean and variance adaptation arises and how they interact. A computational model explains our results using a sequence of subtractive and divisive adaptation modules, interleaved by rectification. These results lay the foundation for identifying the molecular and biophysical implementation of adaptation to the statistics of natural sensory stimuli.

Developmental and reproductive performance of a specialist herbivore depend on seasonality of, and light conditions experienced by, the host plant.

Host plant phenology (as influenced by seasonality) and light-mediated changes in the phenotypic and phytochemical properties of leaves have been hypothesised to equivocally influence insect herbivore performance. Here, we examined the effects of seasonality, through host plant phenology (late growth-season = autumn vs flowering-season = winter) and light environment (shade vs full-sun habitat) on the leaf characteristics of the invasive alien plant, Chromolaena odorata. In addition, the performance of a specialist folivore, Pareuchaetes insulata, feeding on leaves obtained from both shaded and full-sun habitats during autumn and winter, was evaluated over two generations. Foliar nitrogen and magnesium contents were generally higher in shaded plants with much higher levels during winter. Leaf water content was higher in shaded and in autumn plants. Total non-structural carbohydrate (TNC) and phosphorus contents did not differ as a function of season, but were higher in shaded foliage compared to full-sun leaves. Leaf toughness was noticeably higher on plants growing in full-sun during winter. With the exception of shaded leaves in autumn that supported the best performance [fastest development, heaviest pupal mass, and highest growth rate and Host Suitability Index (HSI) score], full-sun foliage in autumn surprisingly also supported an improved performance of the moth compared to shaded or full-sun leaves in winter. Our findings suggest that shaded and autumn foliage are nutritionally more suitable for the growth and reproduction of P. insulata. However, the heavier pupal mass, increased number of eggs and higher HSI score in individuals that fed on full-sun foliage in autumn compared to their counterparts that fed on shaded or full-sun foliage in winter suggest that full-sun foliage during autumn is also a suitable food source for larvae of the moth. In sum, our study demonstrates that seasonal and light-modulated changes in leaf characteristics can affect insect folivore performance in ways that are not linear.

Space use by 4 strains of laying hens to perch, wing flap, dust bathe, stand and lie down.

The laying hen industry is implementing aviary systems intended to improve welfare by providing hens with more space and resources to perform species-specific behaviors. To date, limited research has examined spatial requirements of various strains of laying hens for performing key behaviors and none has been conducted within an alternative housing system. This study investigated the amount of space used by 4 strains of laying hens (Hy-Line Brown [HB], Bovans Brown [BB], DeKalb White [DW], and Hy-Line W36) to perform 5 different behaviors in the litter area of a commercial-style aviary. Hens were recorded standing [S], lying [L], perching [P], wing flapping [WF], and dust bathing [DB] on an open-litter area with an outer perch between 12:00 and 15:00 at peak lay (28 wk of age). Still images of each behavior were analyzed using ImageJ software for 16 hens per strain, and maximum hen length and width were used to calculate total area occupied per hen for each behavior. Brown hens required, on average, 89.6cm2 more space for S (P≤0.021) and 81.5cm2 more space for L (P≤0.013) than white hens. White hens used, on average, 572cm2 more space to perform WF than brown hens (P≤0.024) while brown hens used 170.3cm2 more space for DB than white hens (P≤0.022). On average, hens of all strains were wider while perching than the 15cm commonly recommended per hen (e.g., DW: 18.03; HB: 21.89cm), and brown hens required, on average, 3.38cm more space while perching than white hens (P≤0.01). Brown and white hens occupy different amounts of space when performing key behaviors. These differences, along with factors such as behavioral synchrony, clustering, and preferred inter-bird distances associated with these behaviors, should be considered when creating industry guidelines, crafting legislation and designing and stocking laying hen facilities to ensure hens can fulfill their behavioral needs.

The complex nest architecture of the Ponerinae ant Odontomachus chelifer.

In social insects, nests are very important structures built to provide a protected microhabitat for immature development and food storage and are the places where most interactions between all members of a colony occur. Considering that nest architecture is an important behavioural trait that can clarify essential points of the social level of the species, here we describe the architectural model of the Ponerinae ant Odontomachus chelifer. Five subterranean nests were excavated; one of them filled with liquid cement for extraction of casts of chambers, shafts and tunnels. All nests were found in a woodland area, with Dystrophic Red Latosol soil, associated with roots of large trees and, differently from the pattern currently described for this subfamily, presented a complex structure with multiple entrances and more than one vertical shaft connected by tunnels to relatively horizontal chambers. The number of chambers varied from 24 to 77, with mean volume ranging from 200.09 cm3 to 363.79 cm3, and maximum depth of 134 cm. Worker population varied between 304 and 864 individuals with on average 8.28 cm2 of area per worker. All nests had at least one Hall, which is a relatively larger chamber serving as a distribution centre of the nest, and to our knowledge, there is no record of Ponerinae species building similar structure. All nests had chambers "paved" with pieces of decaying plant material and on the floor of some of them, we found a fungus whose identification and function are being investigated. Thus, our findings provide evidence to suggest that nests of O. chelifer can be considered complex, due to the great number and organization of chambers, shafts and connections, compared to those currently described for Ponerinae species.

Experience-based mediation of feeding and oviposition behaviors in the cotton bollworm: Helicoverpa armigera (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae).

Experience is well known to affect sensory-guided behaviors in many herbivorous insects. Here, we investigated the effects of natural feeding experiences of Helicoverpa armigera larvae on subsequent preferences of larval approaching and feeding, as well as the effect of host-contacting experiences of mated females on subsequent ovipositional preference. The results show that the extent of experience-induced preference, expressed by statistical analysis, depended on the plant species paired with the experienced host plant. Larval feeding preference was much easier to be induced by natural feeding experience than larval approaching preference. Naïve larvae, reared on artificial diet, exhibited clear host-ranking order as follows: tobacco ≥ cotton > tomato > hot pepper. Feeding experiences on hot pepper and tobacco could always induce positive feeding preference, while those on cotton often induced negative effect, suggesting that the direction of host plant experience-induced preference is not related to innate feeding preference. Inexperienced female adults ranked tobacco as the most preferred ovipositional host plant, and this innate preference could be masked or weakened but could not be reversed by host-contacting experience after emergence.

Bioenergetics modeling of the annual consumption of zooplankton by pelagic fish feeding in the Northeast Atlantic.

The present study uses bioenergetics modeling to estimate the annual consumption of the main zooplankton groups by some of the most commercially important planktivorous fish stocks in the Northeast Atlantic, namely Norwegian spring-spawning (NSS) herring (Clupea harengus), blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) and NEA mackerel (Scomber scombrus). The data was obtained from scientific surveys in the main feeding area (Norwegian Sea) in the period 2005-2010. By incorporating novel information about ambient temperature, seasonal growth and changes in the diet from stomach content analyses, annual consumption of the different zooplankton groups by pelagic fish is estimated. The present study estimates higher consumption estimates than previous studies for the three species and suggests that fish might have a greater impact on the zooplankton community as foragers. This way, NEA mackerel, showing the highest daily consumption rates, and NSS herring, annually consume around 10 times their total biomass, whereas blue whiting consume about 6 times their biomass in zooplankton. The three species were estimated to consume an average of 135 million (M) tonnes of zooplankton each year, consisting of 53-85 M tonnes of copepods, 20-32 M tonnes of krill, 8-42 M tonnes of appendicularians and 0.2-1.2 M tonnes of fish, depending on the year. For NSS herring and NEA mackerel the main prey groups are calanoids and appendicularians, showing a peak in consumption during June and June-July, respectively, and suggesting high potential for inter-specific feeding competition between these species. In contrast, blue whiting maintain a low consumption rate from April to September, consuming mainly larger euphausiids. Our results suggest that the three species can coexist regardless of their high abundance, zooplankton consumption rates and overlapping diet. Accordingly, the species might have niche segregation, as they are species specific, showing annual and inter-annual variability in total consumption of the different prey species. These estimates and their inter-annual and inter-specific variation are fundamental for understanding fundamental pelagic predator-prey interactions as well as to inform advanced multispecies ecosystem models.

Seasonal regulation of condensed tannin consumption by free-ranging goats in a semi-arid savanna.

Although condensed tannins (CTs) are known to reduce forage intake by mammalian herbivores in controlled experiments, few studies have tested these effects in the field. Thus the role of CTs on foraging ecology of free-ranging herbivores is inadequately understood. To investigate the effects of CTs under natural savanna conditions, we pre-dosed groups of goats with polyethylene glycol (PEG, a CT-neutralising chemical), CT powder or water before observing their foraging behaviour. While accounting for the effects of season and time of the day, we tested the hypothesis that herbivores forage in ways that reduce the intake rate (g DM per minute) of CTs. We expected pre-dosing goats with CTs to reduce CT intake rates by (1) consuming diets low in CTs, (2) reducing bite rates, (3) increasing the number of foraging bouts, or (4) reducing the length of foraging bouts. Lastly, (5) expected CT to have no influence the number of dietary forage species. In both wet and dry seasons, pre-dosing goats with CTs resulted in lower CT consumption rates compared to PEG goats which seemed relieved from the stress associated with CT consumption. During dry season, the number of dietary forage species was similar across treatments, although goats that were dosed with PEG significantly increased this number in the wet season. Dosing goats with PEG increased the number and length of browsing bouts compared to goats from the other treatments. Pre-loading goats with PEG also tended to increase bite rates on browse forages, which contributed to increased consumption rates of CTs. Based on the behavioural adjustments made by goats in this study and within the constraints imposed by chemical complexity in savanna systems, we concluded that herbivores under natural conditions foraged in ways that minimised CTs consumption. More research should further elucidate the mechanism through which CTs regulated feeding behaviour.

Assessment of dietary habits and nutritional status of depressive patients, depending on place of residence.

An increased incidence of depressive disorders observed in recent years in the Polish and world population is a serious health problem. The aim of the study was to compare dietary habits and nutritional status of patients with recurrent depressive disorders, depending on their place of residence. Their impact on selected metabolic parameters was also considered.

Acrylamide in food products - eating habits and consumer awareness among Medical School students.

Acrylamide is formed in several foods during high-temperature processing. In view of reports written about the neurotoxic, genotoxic and carcinogenic effects of acrylamide, it was considered that the presence of this substance in food products might pose a risk for human health. Currently, according to EU Commission recommendations, the content of acrylamide in food should be monitored.

Effects on schooling function in mackerel of sub-lethal capture related stressors: Crowding and hypoxia.

The selectivity of fishing gears with respect to fish species and size is important, both for fisheries management and fishing operations. Purse seining is an efficient, environmentally friendly fish capture methodology generally targeting single species aggregations, but once a fish school has been selected and surrounded by the seine, there is no selections for individual size, species or catch quantity. A common practice for evaluating the catch is to haul the seine to a point where physical samples or inspections of catch composition can be made. The release process is called slipping and may lead to mortality in the released fish. The objective of this study was to simulate a crowding situation and investigate how the behaviour was affected in response to increased fish density, decreased oxygen levels, or a combination of the two, and to see if there is a behavioural measure that can be used to set safe crowding limits. The experiment was conducted on Mackerel (Scomber scombrus) held in net pens. The volume of the net pen was reduced to increase fish density, and a tarpaulin bag was wrapped around the pen to reduce the oxygen levels. Oxygen, fish density and space occupancy was monitored during the experiment, and the behavioural reactions was assessed using an imaging sonar. The main result was that the schooling function, i.e. the response to a predator model, was significantly reduced during crowding but not in response to hypoxia. There were some indications of a slow recovery of the function post-treatment. We conclude that crowding causes behavioural responses that occur before densities that induce fish mortality. Consequently, there is a behavioural response that could be used as a proxy for setting safe crowding limits.

EAG response and behavioral orientation of Dastarcus helophoroides (Fairmaire) (Coleoptera: Bothrideridae) to synthetic host-associated volatiles.

Dastarcus helophoroides Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Bothrideridae) is an effective predatory beetle of larvae and pupae of several cerambycid beetles including Monochamus alternatus and Anoplophora glabripennis. Electroantennography (EAG) and a dynamic two-choice olfactometer were respectively used to measure the antennal and behavioral responses of both sexes to selected volatile compounds. Female and male D. helophoroides exhibited similar EAG and behavioral responses. Significant dose-dependent EAG responses in both sexes were elicited by nonanal, octanal, cis-3-hexenol, 3-carene, (R)-(+)-α-pinene, (S)-(-)-α-pinene, (R)-(+)-limonene and (S)-(-)-limonene. Female and male beetles were repelled at high concentration by cis-3-hexenol and (S)-(-)-limonene, respectively. Both sexes of D. helophoroides were significantly attracted to nonanal, cis-3-hexenol, 3-carene and (R)-(+)-limonene even at low concentrations. These compounds might be used either individually or in mixtures for developing biological control methods to attract this predatory beetle into forest stands threatened by cerambycid beetles.

Nest signature changes throughout colony cycle and after social parasite invasion in social wasps.

Social insects recognize their nestmates by means of a cuticular hydrocarbon signature shared by colony members, but how nest signature changes across time has been rarely tested in longitudinal studies and in the field. In social wasps, the chemical signature is also deposited on the nest surface, where it is used by newly emerged wasps as a reference to learn their colony odor. Here, we investigate the temporal variations of the chemical signature that wasps have deposited on their nests. We followed the fate of the colonies of the social paper wasp Polistes biglumis in their natural environment from colony foundation to decline. Because some colonies were invaded by the social parasite Polistes atrimandibularis, we also tested the effects of social parasites on the nest signature. We observed that, as the season progresses, the nest signature changed; the overall abundance of hydrocarbons as well as the proportion of longer-chain and branched hydrocarbons increased. Where present, social parasites altered the host-nest signature qualitatively (adding parasite-specific alkenes) and quantitatively (by interfering with the increase in overall hydrocarbon abundance). Our results show that 1) colony odor is highly dynamic both in colonies controlled by legitimate foundresses and in those controlled by social parasites; 2) emerged offspring contribute little to colony signature, if at all, in comparison to foundresses; and 3) social parasites, that later mimic host signature, initially mark host nests with species-specific hydrocarbons. This study implies that important updating of the neural template used in nestmate recognition should occur in social insects.