Matching Items (38)

Tell It to the Frogs: Fukushima’s nuclear disaster and its impact on the Japanese Tree Frog

Description

“Tell It to the Frogs: Fukushima’s nuclear disaster and its impact on the Japanese Tree Frog” is a representation of the work from Giraudeau et. al’s “Carotenoid distribution in wild Japanese tree frogs (Hyla japonica) exposed to ionizing radiation in

“Tell It to the Frogs: Fukushima’s nuclear disaster and its impact on the Japanese Tree Frog” is a representation of the work from Giraudeau et. al’s “Carotenoid distribution in wild Japanese tree frogs (Hyla japonica) exposed to ionizing radiation in Fukushima.” This paper looked to see if carotenoid levels in the tree frog’s vocal sac, liver, and blood were affected by radiation from Fukushima’s power plant explosion. Without carotenoids, the pigment that gives the frogs their orange color on their necks, their courtship practices would be impacted and would not be as able to show off their fitness to potential mates. The artwork inspired by this research displayed the tree frog’s degradation over time due to radiation, starting with normal life and ending with their death and open on the table. The sculptures also pinpoint where the carotenoids were being measured with a brilliant orange glaze. Through ceramic hand building, the artist created larger than life frogs in hopes to elicit curiosity about them and their plight. While the paper did not conclude any changes in the frog’s physiology after 18 months of exposure, there are still questions that are left unanswered. Why did these frogs not have any reaction? Could there be any effects after more time has passed? Is radiation leakage as big of a problem as previously thought? The only way to get the answers to these questions is to be aware of these amphibians, the circumstances that led them to be involved, and continued research on them and radiation.

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Date Created
2019-05

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Feather morphological predictors of angle-dependent color changes in parrot plumage

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Among the most ornate animal traits in nature are the angle-dependent (i.e. iridescent) structural colors of many birds, beetles, and butterflies. Though we now have a solid understanding of the mechanisms, function, and evolution of these features in several groups,

Among the most ornate animal traits in nature are the angle-dependent (i.e. iridescent) structural colors of many birds, beetles, and butterflies. Though we now have a solid understanding of the mechanisms, function, and evolution of these features in several groups, less attention has been paid to the potential for angle-dependent reflectance in otherwise matte-appearing (i.e. not thought to be structurally colored) tissues. Here for the first time we describe non-iridescent angle-dependent coloration from the tail and wing feathers of several parrot species (Psittaciformes). We employed a novel approach \u2014 by calculating chromatic and achromatic contrasts (in just noticeable differences, JNDs) of straight and angled measurements of the same feather patch \u2014 to test for perceptually relevant angle-dependent changes in coloration on dorsal and ventral feather surfaces. We found, among the 15 parrot species studied, significant angle dependence for nearly all parameters (except chromatic JNDs on the ventral side of wing feathers). We then measured microstructural features on each side of feathers, including size and color of barbs and barbules, to attempt to predict interspecific variation in degree of angle-dependent reflectance. We found that hue, saturation, and brightness of feather barbs, barbule saturation, and barb:barbule coverage ratio were the strongest predictors of angle-dependent coloration. Interestingly, there was significant phylogenetic signal in only one of the seven angle-dependence models tested. These findings deepen our views on the importance of microscopic feather features in the production of directional animal coloration, especially in tissues that appear to be statically colored.

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Date Created
2018-05

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Urban Impacts on Oxidative Balance and Animal Signals

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Though many animal ornaments and signals are sensitive to and encode information about the oxidative balance (OB) of individuals (e.g., antioxidant supplies/activity, reactive oxygen species, cellular oxidative damage/repair), often the environmental and/or physiological sources of such OB are unknown. Urban

Though many animal ornaments and signals are sensitive to and encode information about the oxidative balance (OB) of individuals (e.g., antioxidant supplies/activity, reactive oxygen species, cellular oxidative damage/repair), often the environmental and/or physiological sources of such OB are unknown. Urban development is among the most recent, pervasive, and persistent human stressors on the planet and impacts many environmental and physiological parameters of animals. Here we review the mechanistic underpinnings and functional consequences of how human urbanization drives antioxidant/oxidative status in animals and how this affects signal expression and use. Although we find that urbanization has strong negative effects on signal quality (e.g., visual, auditory, chemical) and OB across a range of taxa, few urban ecophysiological studies address signals and oxidative stress in unison, and even fewer in a fitness context. We also highlight particular signal types, taxa, life-histories, and anthropogenic environmental modifications on which future work integrating OB, signals, and urbanization could be centered. Last, we examine the conceptual and empirical framework behind the idea that urban conditions may disentangle signal expression from honesty and affect plasticity and adaptedness of sexually selected traits and preferences in the city.

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Date Created
2016-05-19

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Exposure to Artificial Light at Night Increases Innate Immunity During Development in a Precocial Bird

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Humans have greatly altered the night-time photic environment via the production of artificial light at night (ALAN; e.g. street lights, car traffic, billboards, lit buildings). ALAN is problematic because it may significantly alter the seasonal/daily physiological rhythms or behaviors of

Humans have greatly altered the night-time photic environment via the production of artificial light at night (ALAN; e.g. street lights, car traffic, billboards, lit buildings). ALAN is problematic because it may significantly alter the seasonal/daily physiological rhythms or behaviors of animals. There has been considerable interest in the impacts of ALAN on health in humans and lab animals, but most such work has centered on adults and we know comparatively little about effects on young animals. We exposed 3-week-old king quail (Excalfactoria chinensis) to a constant overnight blue-light regime for 6 weeks and assessed weekly bactericidal activity of plasma against Escherichia coli - a commonly employed metric of innate immunity in animals. We found that chronic ALAN exposure significantly increased immune function, and that this elevation in immune performance manifested at different developmental time points in males and females. These results counter the pervasive notion that overnight light exposure is universally physiologically harmful to diurnal organisms and indicate that ALAN can provide sex-specific, short-term immunological boosts to developing animals.

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Date Created
2017-12

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The Effects of Sun Exposure on Carotenoid Accumulation and Oxidative Stress in the Retina of the House Finch (Haemorhous Mexicanus)

Description

Background: Diet-derived carotenoid pigments are concentrated in the retinas of birds and serve a variety of functions, including photoprotection. In domesticated bird species (e.g., chickens and quail), retinal carotenoid pigmentation has been shown to respond to large manipulations in light exposure

Background: Diet-derived carotenoid pigments are concentrated in the retinas of birds and serve a variety of functions, including photoprotection. In domesticated bird species (e.g., chickens and quail), retinal carotenoid pigmentation has been shown to respond to large manipulations in light exposure and provide protection against photodamage. However, it is not known if or how wild birds respond to ecologically relevant variation in sun exposure.

Methods: We manipulated the duration of natural sunlight exposure and dietary carotenoid levels in wild-caught captive House Finches (Haemorhous mexicanus), then measured carotenoid accumulation and oxidative stress in the retina.

Results: We found no significant effects of sun exposure on retinal levels of carotenoids or lipid peroxidation, in replicate experiments, in winter (Jan–Mar) and spring/summer (May–June). Dietary carotenoid supplementation in the spring/summer experiment led to significantly higher retinal carotenoid levels, but did not affect lipid peroxidation. Carotenoid levels differed significantly between the winter and spring/summer experiments, with higher retinal and lower plasma carotenoid levels in birds from the later experiment.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that variation in the duration of exposure to direct sunlight have limited influence on intraspecific variation in retinal carotenoid accumulation, but that accumulation may track other seasonal–environmental cues and physiological processes.

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Created

Date Created
2016-03-29

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The Effect of Carotenoid Supplementation on Immune System Development in Juvenile Male Veiled Chameleons (Chamaeleo Calyptratus)

Description

Introduction: Nutrient availability, assimilation, and allocation can have important and lasting effects on the immune system development of growing animals. Though carotenoid pigments have immunostimulatory properties in many animals, relatively little is known regarding how they influence the immune system during

Introduction: Nutrient availability, assimilation, and allocation can have important and lasting effects on the immune system development of growing animals. Though carotenoid pigments have immunostimulatory properties in many animals, relatively little is known regarding how they influence the immune system during development. Moreover, studies linking carotenoids to health at any life stage have largely been restricted to birds and mammals. We investigated the effects of carotenoid supplementation on multiple aspects of immunity in juvenile veiled chameleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus). We supplemented half of the chameleons with lutein (a xanthophyll carotenoid) for 14 weeks during development and serially measured multiple aspects of immune function, including: agglutination and lysis performance of plasma, wound healing, and plasma nitric oxide concentrations before and after wounding.

Results: Though lutein supplementation effectively elevated circulating carotenoid concentrations throughout the developmental period, we found no evidence that carotenoid repletion enhanced immune function at any point. However, agglutination and lysis scores increased, while baseline nitric oxide levels decreased, as chameleons aged.

Conclusions: Taken together, our results indicate that body mass and age, but not carotenoid access, may play an important role in immune performance of growing chameleons. Hence, studying well-understood physiological processes in novel taxa can provide new perspectives on alternative physiological processes and nutrient function.

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Created

Date Created
2014-03-22

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Mate Choice for a Male Carotenoid-Based Ornament is Linked to Female Dietary Carotenoid Intake and Accumulation

Description

Background: The coevolution of male traits and female mate preferences has led to the elaboration and diversification of sexually selected traits; however the mechanisms that mediate trait-preference coevolution are largely unknown. Carotenoid acquisition and accumulation are key determinants of the expression

Background: The coevolution of male traits and female mate preferences has led to the elaboration and diversification of sexually selected traits; however the mechanisms that mediate trait-preference coevolution are largely unknown. Carotenoid acquisition and accumulation are key determinants of the expression of male sexually selected carotenoid-based coloration and a primary mechanism maintaining the honest information content of these signals. Carotenoids also influence female health and reproduction in ways that may alter the costs and benefits of mate choice behaviors and thus provide a potential biochemical link between the expression of male traits and female preferences. To test this hypothesis, we manipulated the dietary carotenoid levels of captive female house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) and assessed their mate choice behavior in response to color-manipulated male finches.

Results: Females preferred to associate with red males, but carotenoid supplementation did not influence the direction or strength of this preference. Females receiving a low-carotenoid diet were less responsive to males in general, and discrimination among the colorful males was positively linked to female plasma carotenoid levels at the beginning of the study when the diet of all birds was carotenoid-limited.

Conclusions: Although female preference for red males was not influenced by carotenoid intake, changes in mating responsiveness and discrimination linked to female carotenoid status may alter how this preference is translated into choice. The reddest males, with the most carotenoid rich plumage, tend to pair early in the breeding season. If carotenoid-related variations in female choice behavior shift the timing of pairing, then they have the potential to promote assortative mating by carotenoid status and drive the evolution of carotenoid-based male plumage coloration.

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Created

Date Created
2012-01-10

Song Characteristics Track Bill Morphology Along a Gradient of Urbanization in House Finches (Haemorhous Mexicanus)

Description

Introduction: Urbanization can considerably impact animal ecology, evolution, and behavior. Among the new conditions that animals experience in cities is anthropogenic noise, which can limit the sound space available for animals to communicate using acoustic signals. Some urban bird species increase

Introduction: Urbanization can considerably impact animal ecology, evolution, and behavior. Among the new conditions that animals experience in cities is anthropogenic noise, which can limit the sound space available for animals to communicate using acoustic signals. Some urban bird species increase their song frequencies so that they can be heard above low-frequency background city noise. However, the ability to make such song modifications may be constrained by several morphological factors, including bill gape, size, and shape, thereby limiting the degree to which certain species can vocally adapt to urban settings. We examined the relationship between song characteristics and bill morphology in a species (the house finch, Haemorhous mexicanus) where both vocal performance and bill size are known to differ between city and rural animals.

Results: We found that bills were longer and narrower in more disturbed, urban areas. We observed an increase in minimum song frequency of urban birds, and we also found that the upper frequency limit of songs decreased in direct relation to bill morphology.

Conclusions: These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that birds with longer beaks and therefore longer vocal tracts sing songs with lower maximum frequencies because longer tubes have lower-frequency resonances. Thus, for the first time, we reveal dual constraints (one biotic, one abiotic) on the song frequency range of urban animals. Urban foraging pressures may additionally interact with the acoustic environment to shape bill traits and vocal performance.

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Created

Date Created
2014-11-12

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Environmental and Parental Influences on Offspring Health and Growth in Great Tits (Parus Major)

Description

Sexual selection requires both that there is heritable variation in traits related to fitness, and that either some of this variation is linked to traits of the parents, and/or that there are direct benefits of choosing particular individuals as mates.

Sexual selection requires both that there is heritable variation in traits related to fitness, and that either some of this variation is linked to traits of the parents, and/or that there are direct benefits of choosing particular individuals as mates. This suggests that if direct benefits are important offspring performance should be predicted by traits of the rearing adults. But if indirect benefits are more significant offspring performance should be predicted by traits of the adults at the nest-of-origin. We conducted cross-fostering experiments in great tits (Parus major) over four years, in two of which we manipulated environmental conditions by providing supplemental food. In a third year, some nestlings were directly supplemented with carotenoids. Nestlings in broods whose rearing adults received supplemental food were heavier and had improved immune responses even when controlling for body mass. Nestling immune function was related to measures of the yellow plumage color of both the rearing male and the putative father. Nestling body mass was influenced by the coloration of both the rearing female and the genetic mother. Our results suggest that features of both their social and putative genetic parents influence nestling health and growth. From this it would appear that females could be gaining both direct and indirect benefits through mate choice of male plumage traits and that it would be possible for males to similarly gain through mate choice of female traits.

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Created

Date Created
2013-07-30

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Differential Effects of Early- and Late-Life Access to Carotenoids on Adult Immune Function and Ornamentation in Mallard Ducks (Anas Platyrhynchos)

Description

Environmental conditions early in life can affect an organism’s phenotype at adulthood, which may be tuned to perform optimally in conditions that mimic those experienced during development (Environmental Matching hypothesis), or may be generally superior when conditions during development were

Environmental conditions early in life can affect an organism’s phenotype at adulthood, which may be tuned to perform optimally in conditions that mimic those experienced during development (Environmental Matching hypothesis), or may be generally superior when conditions during development were of higher quality (Silver Spoon hypothesis). Here, we tested these hypotheses by examining how diet during development interacted with diet during adulthood to affect adult sexually selected ornamentation and immune function in male mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos). Mallards have yellow, carotenoid-pigmented beaks that are used in mate choice, and the degree of beak coloration has been linked to adult immune function. Using a 2×2 factorial experimental design, we reared mallards on diets containing either low or high levels of carotenoids (nutrients that cannot be synthesized de novo) throughout the period of growth, and then provided adults with one of these two diets while simultaneously quantifying beak coloration and response to a variety of immune challenges.

We found that both developmental and adult carotenoid supplementation increased circulating carotenoid levels during dietary treatment, but that birds that received low-carotenoid diets during development maintained relatively higher circulating carotenoid levels during an adult immune challenge. Individuals that received low levels of carotenoids during development had larger phytohemagglutinin (PHA)-induced cutaneous immune responses at adulthood; however, dietary treatment during development and adulthood did not affect antibody response to a novel antigen, nitric oxide production, natural antibody levels, hemolytic capacity of the plasma, or beak coloration. However, beak coloration prior to immune challenges positively predicted PHA response, and strong PHA responses were correlated with losses in carotenoid-pigmented coloration. In sum, we did not find consistent support for either the Environmental Matching or Silver Spoon hypotheses. We then describe a new hypothesis that should be tested in future studies examining developmental plasticity.

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Created

Date Created
2012-05-30