Breeding Cycle (breeding + cycle)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

The effects of polychlorinated biphenyls (Aroclor 1242) on thyroxine, estradiol, molt, and plumage characteristics in the American kestrel (Falco sparverius)

Michael J. Quinn Jr.
Abstract The purpose of this experiment was to determine the effects of Aroclor 1242, a mixture of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), on plumage characteristics and molt in the American kestrel, Falco sparverius. Several characteristics of plumage, including color and molt schedule, are modulated by hormonal signals and hence may be modified by endocrine-active contaminants. If so, the functions of plumage (e.g., communication for mating or territorial defense) may be compromised by exposure to such compounds. Captive American kestrels were fed Aroclor 1242 at 0, 6.0, and 60.0 ppm (n = 6 males and 6 females per treatment) mixed in their normal diet. Concentrations of plasma estradiol and thyroxine were measured weekly from the beginning of treatment. Measured plumage characteristics included width of the black subterminal band on the tail, color (a composite index of hue and saturation), reflectance from 230 to 800 nm, pattern of feather loss and regrowth on the tail and wing, and timing of onset and duration of molt. Aroclor 1242 depressed plasma thyroxine. Plasma estradiol levels remained low due to the phase of the breeding cycle. Treatments did not disrupt the measured plumage characteristics. This may be due to timing or dose of exposure or to genetic factors. [source]

Enemy Recognition of Reed Warblers (Acrocephalus scirpaceus): Threats and Reproductive Value Act Independently in Nest Defence Modulation

ETHOLOGY, Issue 6 2010
Daniela Campobello
Organisms should respond more aggressively towards species perceived as a danger to their offspring, but intensity of defence may be gauged by the value of current offspring weighed against the value of future reproductive opportunities. We tested whether defensive responses of nesting reed warblers (Acrocephalus scirpaceus) are the result of an interaction effect between the type of stimulus confronted and the value of the warbler's nesting attempt. We quantified the ability of reed warblers to discriminate among brood parasites, nestling predators and non-threatening species at different stages of the breeding cycle. We also determined whether variables that influence the value of offspring, such as time of season, size and age of clutch or brood, and time of day and number of visits to the nest, explain variation in the intensity of defence recorded during the egg and nestling stages. Responses to the three stimuli differed significantly, as reed warblers consistently directed their mobbing calls and attacks towards parasites, whereas they were less conspicuous when confronted with models of predators. Reed warblers modulated their responses towards each stimulus in accordance with the threat each posed at a specific nesting stage, whereas they were not affected by other variables relative to their reproductive potential. The churr call, however, was uttered independently of the stimulus, as it was triggered by the mere presence of nestlings in the nest. [source]

Is there a cost of reproduction for Marsh Tits Parus palustris in a primeval forest?

IBIS, Issue 1 2006
We looked for evidence of a cost of reproduction in the Marsh Tit Parus palustris living in the last fragments of primeval temperate forest (Bia,owie,a National Park, eastern Poland). Potential nest-holes were superabundant but the birds had to cope with a diverse set of predators, dangerous both to broods and to parents. Taking advantage of the natural variation in realized reproductive investment that this caused in terms of the loss of nests or mates, we expected to find differences in survival and future fecundity between birds which had lost broods (reduced effort), had reared young (controls) or were either provisioning young single-handed or had laid replacement clutches (increased effort). Despite 13 years of observation, even during seasons with very strenuous conditions, we have failed to demonstrate that the observed range of variation in parental investment caused any demographic cost of reproduction. Incubating females were regularly killed on the nest, which could indicate the existence of a cost operating in the earlier stages of the breeding cycle. Overall, these results suggest that the reproductive rate in Marsh Tits is not controlled proximately by reproductive cost. [source]

Parental behaviour of a precocial species: implications for juvenile survival

Victoria J. Dreitz
Summary 1., Parents determine habitat selection for precocial young by leading their young to foraging areas until the chicks attain full independence. There are potential benefits and costs to reproductive success associated with changing habitats while caring for young. This study investigated the relationship between different types of habitats and their quality on chick survival and brood movements of a declining upland shorebird, the mountain plover Charadrius montanus. 2., From 2004 to 2006, a total of 153 mountain plover broods were monitored on the primary breeding habitats in eastern Colorado, USA; two shortgrass prairie habitats that were either occupied or unoccupied by black-tailed prairie dogs Cynomys ludovicianus and agricultural lands. Habitat quality hypotheses were tested using newly developed statistical applications to estimate survival of chicks and brood movement patterns. 3., Chick survival and brood movements were influenced by habitat. Chick survival over the 30-day brood-rearing period was substantially higher on nesting habitat of shortgrass occupied by prairie dogs compared with agricultural land and shortgrass unoccupied by prairie dogs. The rate of brood movement away from shortgrass with prairie dogs was lower than shortgrass without prairie dogs, but higher than agricultural lands for each year of the study. 4., This study suggests that complex processes influence how different habitats affect brood-rearing activity of mountain plovers. Even though broods moved off nesting habitat of shortgrass occupied by prairie dogs, this habitat had the highest survival rate and is highly important to mountain plover reproductive success. 5.,Synthesis and applications. In order to develop effective conservation strategies, the provision of adequate breeding habitat should include information on patterns of habitat selection for all stages of the breeding cycle, including the nesting and dependent young periods. From a conservation perspective, understanding the habitat use of young birds is critical when population dynamics show great sensitivity to survival of young. Previous studies on mountain plovers have suggested that nest success is similar among shortgrass prairie habitats and agricultural lands. Thus, conservation measures that increase nest success may be ineffective for mountain plovers unless they are accompanied by measures promoting chick survival. [source]

Does supplementary feeding reduce predation of red grouse by hen harriers?

Stephen M. Redpath
Summary 1Hen harriers Circus cyaneus can reduce the numbers of red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus available for shooting. We conducted a supplementary feeding experiment on Langholm Moor, UK, in 1998 and 1999 to determine whether feeding hen harriers could reduce the numbers of red grouse killed. The experiment was done at two distinct stages of the breeding cycle: prior to incubation (spring experiment) and after hatching (summer experiment). In spring, Langholm Moor was divided into two areas, one with food and one without. In summer a number of birds were provided with food in both areas. 2Providing harriers with food in spring had no significant effect on the breeding density of males or females, although feeding was associated with an increase in density on one area in one year. In addition, over the 2 years of the experiment, there was no evidence that feeding led to more chicks returning to breed in subsequent years. Fed harriers had larger clutches but did not lay earlier than unfed birds. 3A minimum of 78% of the radio-tagged grouse that were killed during spring were killed by raptors. The mortality rates of adult grouse did not differ between the two areas or between the two years despite the availability of supplementary food and the large differences in harrier breeding density between areas. We infer that other raptors were responsible for much of the predation of adult grouse. 4During the nestling period, female harriers took supplementary food at a higher rate than males. Females that were fed during the spring took more supplementary food in summer than those fed only during summer. Fed birds did not deliver more food overall to nests than those not provided with food. 5Both male and female harriers at nests where supplementary food was available caught grouse chicks at a lower rate than harriers at nests not provided with food. For both years combined, fed harriers delivered on average 05 grouse chicks to their nests per 100 h, compared with 37 grouse chicks delivered to nests without supplementary food. 6We estimated that feeding all harriers at Langholm would cost approximately 11 000 per annum. In both 1998 and 1999, the numbers of grouse chicks lost were 10 times higher than expected from harrier predation rates. Some other, unknown, factor had a strong influence on grouse chick survival in these years. Feeding some of the breeding harriers did not lead to an increase in grouse density at Langholm. 7The results suggest that supplementary feeding may provide a useful tool in reducing the number of grouse chicks taken by harriers. Further experiments are now necessary to see under what conditions this reduced predation will lead to increases in grouse density. [source]

Relative influence of male and female care in determining nestling mass in a migratory songbird

Kirk W. Stodola
Biparental care is common in birds, with the allocation of effort being highly variable between the sexes. In most songbird species, the female typically provides the most care early in the breeding cycle with both parents providing care when provisioning young. Food provisioning should be directly related to offspring quality; however, the relative influence each parent has on offspring quality has rarely been assessed at the nest level. Consequently, we were interested in assessing the relative influence male and female provisioning has on one measurement of offspring quality, nestling mass, in the black-throated blue warbler Dendroica caerulescens. Over a six year period, 2003,2008, we collected information on average nestling mass per brood on day 6 of the nestling cycle and parental provisioning rates on day 7 of the nestling cycle from 182 first brood nests on three different study plots. We found that average nestling mass was directly related to male provisioning rate, while it was not related to female provisioning rate. On the other hand, estimated biomass provisioned had little influence on average nestling mass, calling into question its utility in assessing parental quality. Finally, there was some indication that parental influence on average nestling mass was dependent on the other parent's provisioning rate, suggesting that parents work in concert to influence nestling quality. [source]

The influence of age on reproductive performance in the Brown Thornbill

David J. Green
I examined age effects on reproduction in the Brown Thornbill Acanthiza pusilla in Canberra, Australia. I found that the reproductive performance of both males and females improved with age, although only age-related improvement in male performance had a significant effect on annual reproductive success. Reproductive success improved with male age as a result of improved performance during two stages of the breeding cycle: first-year males were less likely to fledge young than those aged two or more, while both first and second-year males were less successful at raising fledglings to independence than males of three or more. Male performance appears to improve over three years as they gain experience at provisioning nestlings and caring for fledglings without attracting predators, rather than as a direct result of improved foraging skills. In contrast, reproductive success only improved slightly with female age, although females of two or more years initiated their first clutch earlier in the season than one-year-old females, and tended to be more likely to re-nest if a breeding attempt failed. The poor performance of young females appears unlikely to be related to their foraging ability but may be associated with costs imposed by dispersing to a breeding vacancy earlier in the year. Although the reproductive performance of Brown Thornbills improves considerably with age I found no evidence that performance improved as a result of repeated breeding attempts with the same partner. [source]

Quantifying habitat use in satellite-tracked pelagic seabirds: application of kernel estimation to albatross locations

A. G. Wood
We develop a new approach to quantifying habitat use within the foraging ranges of satellite-tracked seabirds. We applied kernel estimation techniques to 167 days (3738 locations) of data from Black-browed and Grey-headed albatrosses Diomedea melanophris and D. chrysostoma during the chick-rearing period of the breeding cycle at South Georgia. At this time the activity range of these two species covers an estimated 440,000 and 640,000 km2, respectively, with very substantial overlap. In contrast, kernel estimation reveals that the main foraging areas of these two sympatric, congeneric species are very distinct. Based on location density categories accounting for 50% of locations, the foraging areas cover c. 81,500 and c. 119,700 km2, respectively, with 42% and 50% of the range of one species overlapping with that of the other. [source]

Effect of Ligula intestinalis on the reproductive capacity of Rastrineobola argentea in Lake Victoria

I. G. Cowx
This study examined the potential effect of the cestode Ligula intestinalis on the reproduction of the indigenous cyprinid Rastrineobola argentea in Lake Victoria. Ligula intestinalis had a marked effect on the breeding cycle of R. argentea. The proportion of the infected population in advanced stages of maturation prior to spawning was considerably reduced compared with uninfected fish. Infection by L. intestinalis significantly reduced the fecundity of individual fish, particularly in the 45,60 mm size range; the component of the population that makes the greatest contribution to reproductive output. The reduction in reproductive output of the R. argentea population could potentially affect replenishment of stocks in this important fishery. [source]

Evidence for Increased Neuropeptide Y Synthesis in Mediobasal Hypothalamus in Relation to Parental Hyperphagia and Gonadal Activation in Breeding Ring Doves

S. Ramakrishnan
Like lactating mammals, male and female ring dove parents increase their food consumption to meet the energetic challenges of provisioning their young. To clarify the neurochemical mechanisms involved, the present study investigated the relationship between parental hyperphagia and changes in activity of the potent orexigen neuropeptide Y (NPY) in the hypothalamus of breeding doves. Changes in NPY-immunoreactive (NPY-ir) cell numbers in the tuberal hypothalamus of male and female doves were examined by immunocytochemistry at six stages of the breeding cycle. Parallel NPY mRNA measurements were recorded in mediobasal hypothalamus (which includes the tuberal hypothalamus) by semiquantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction using 18S rRNA as the internal standard. NPY mRNA changes were also measured in the mediobasal hypothalamus of nonbreeding doves following intracranial administration of prolactin, an orexigenic hormone that is elevated in the plasma of parent doves, and in response to food deprivation, which mimics the negative energy state that develops in parents as they provision their growing young. NPY-ir cell numbers in the tuberal hypothalamus and NPY mRNA levels in the mediobasal hypothalamus were significantly higher in breeding males and females during the period of parental hyperphagia after hatching than during the late incubation period when food intake remains unchanged. In nonbreeding doves, food deprivation and prolactin treatment increased NPY mRNA in this region by two- to three-fold, which suggests that NPY expression is sensitive to hormonal and metabolic signals associated with parenting. We conclude that NPY synthesis is increased in the mediobasal hypothalamus during the posthatching period, which presumably supports increased NPY release and resulting parental hyperphagia. NPY-ir and mRNA were also high in the mediobasal hypothalamus prior to egg laying when food intake remained unchanged. Several lines of evidence suggest that this elevation in NPY supports the increased gonadal activity that accompanies intense courtship and nest building interactions in breeding doves. [source]

Changes in central steroid receptor expression, steroid synthesis, and dopaminergic activity related to the reproductive cycle of the ring dove

Robert W. Lea
This review examines possible neural mechanisms involved in the expression of parental behavior in the ring dove, Streptopelia risoria. This avian species has proved an excellent animal model for studies concerning endocrine-behavior interactions for many years. Studies were performed to localize the expression of central androgen and progesterone receptor in both sexes. Expression of androgen receptor (androgen receptor immunoreactivity, AR-ir) was widespread but increased, similarly in both sexes, with increasing day-length. Progesterone receptor-immunoreactivity (PR-ir) was more localized in several discrete areas of the hypothalamus. Similarly, no sex differences were observed in PR-ir, and expression increased in birds maintained on long days. AR-ir demonstrated dramatic changes over the breeding cycle, being greatest in courting birds and almost undetectable in parenting birds of both sexes brooding their young. PR-ir showed a differential expression over the breeding cycle relative to its hypothalamic localization. PR-ir decreased in the tuberal hypothalamic area in brooding birds of both sexes; whereas in the preoptic area, PR-ir was maintained. Significant increases in dopaminergic activity during the parenting phase of the breeding cycle occurred in specific neural regions including the PVM and DMA. Studies demonstrated the ability of the diencephalon of both sexes of the ring dove brain to synthesize progesterone, with indications that in the male brooding dove, synthesis is increased. Finally, a model is presented that proposes a mechanism whereby these central systems may interact to result in the expression of full parental behavior in both sexes of the ring dove. Microsc. Res. Tech. 55:12,26, 2001. 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Ecology of the coprophagous moth Trisyntopa neossophila Edwards (Lepidoptera: Oecophoridae)

Stuart J N Cooney
Abstract Trisyntopa neossophila Edwards (Lepidoptera: Oecophoridae) is an unusual moth whose breeding cycle is closely synchronised with a termite mound nesting parrot of northern Australia; the hooded parrot (Psephotus dissimilis Collet). T. neossophila is one of three coprophagous, nest dwelling moths in the genus Trisyntopa Lower 1918. True coprophagy is rare in the Lepidoptera, although some species occasionally consume faeces to gain rare nutrients. We present observations of the life cycle of T. neossophila, a moth that lays its eggs in the nest of a hooded parrot, so that larvae hatch in synchrony with the hatching of the parrot's eggs. The larvae spend their larval period in the nest and exclusively consume the excrement of the nestling parrots. When the parrot chicks fledge, the larvae move to the walls of the nest cavity to pupate, emerging the following wet season to repeat the process during the next parrot breeding season. [source]

A food safety control low mass-range proteomics platform for the detection of illicit treatments in veal calves by MALDI-TOF-MS serum profiling

Lorenza Della Donna
Abstract Performance enhancing agents (PEAs) are illegally used in cattle and other meat producing species to increase food conversion and lean meat production. Due to the very short breeding cycle, veal calves represent the meat producing bovine category mostly subjected to illicit treatments. These chemical agents are difficult to detect by conventional analytical approaches due to the employment of synergistic formulations at very low dosage and given the use of uncharacterized novel compounds. Such a scenario has fostered a strong interest in the discovery of functional molecular biomarkers for the detection of growth promoting agents in meat producing species. A multivariate MALDI-TOF-MS proteomics platform has been developed using bovine serum samples. Analytical performances have been thoroughly evaluated in order to enable reproducible profiles from 10 ,L sera samples. We propose univariate and multivariate discrimination models capable to identify calves undergoing illicit treatments. In particular, we found a strong discrimination power associated with a polypeptide fragment from ,2-glycoprotein-I. We provide a fundamental proof of concept in the potential application of MALDI-TOF-MS proteomics profiling in the food safety control. [source]

Reliable high-throughput screening with Pichia pastoris by limiting yeast cell death phenomena

Roland Weis
Abstract Comparative screening of gene expression libraries employing the potent industrial host Pichia pastoris for improving recombinant eukaryotic enzymes by protein engineering was an unsolved task. We simplified the protocol for protein expression by P. pastoris and scaled it down to 0.5-ml cultures. Optimising standard growth conditions and procedures, programmed cell death and necrosis of P. pastoris in microscale cultures were diminished. Uniform cell growth in 96-deep-well plates now allows for high-throughput protein expression and screening for improved enzyme variants. Furthermore, the change from one host for protein engineering to another host for enzyme production becomes dispensable, and this accelerates the protein breeding cycles and makes predictions for large-scale production more accurate. [source]