Breeding Season (breeding + season)

Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Life Sciences

Kinds of Breeding Season

  • consecutive breeding season
  • one breeding season

  • Selected Abstracts

    Cumulus,Oocyte Communications in the Horse: Role of the Breeding Season and of the Maturation Medium

    S Colleoni
    Contents Horse is a seasonal breeder and information on oocyte quality outside the breeding season is very limited. Ovaries obtained at the slaughterhouse are a convenient but often limited source of oocytes in this species. As the low quantity of ovaries leads to an intensive use of all available material, it would be useful to know whether ovaries collected during the non-breeding season are suitable for in vitro maturation (IVM). In an attempt to characterize the effect of season on oocyte quality, we investigated the permeability of the gap junctions (GJ) present between cumulus cells and oocytes because of their important role in oocyte growth and maturation. We also compared the effect of supplementing the maturation medium with bovine serum albumin (BSA) or oestrus mare serum (EMS). A total of 645 oocytes isolated from 158 and 154 ovaries collected during the breeding and the non-breeding season, respectively, were used in this study. Oocytes were matured for 30 h in TCM 199 supplemented either with 10% EMS or with 4 mg/ml BSA. The presence of permeable GJs between cumulus cells and oocytes was investigated with the injection of a 3% solution of the fluorescent dye Lucifer yellow into the ooplasm. No differences in efficiency of oocyte retrieval or oocyte meiotic competence were detected between oocytes collected during the breeding and non-breeding season. The vast majority (90%) of the oocytes collected during the breeding season had fully functional communications with their surrounding cumulus cells but such communications were completely interrupted in 55.3% of the oocytes collected during the non-breeding season. During the non-breeding season, the proportion of oocytes whose communications with cumulus cells were classified as closed or intermediate at the end of maturation was lower in the group matured with BSA than with EMS (71.4 vs 97.7, p < 0.05). The same trend, although not statistically significant, was observed during the breeding season also. The presence of BSA caused an incomplete cumulus expansion during both seasons. Our data indicate that oocytes collected during the non-breeding season do not show any meiotic deficiency but lack active communication with the surrounding cumulus cells at the time of their isolation from the ovary. No data are available at present for determining the consequences on the developmental competence even if data from other species suggest that this is likely. [source]

    Apoptotic Changes in the Epithelium Germinativum of the Cat (Felis catus s. domestica, L. 1758) at Different Ages and Breeding Seasons

    MJ SiemieniuchArticle first published online: 25 FEB 200
    Contents Apoptosis (programmed cell death) could be considered as a physiological process that takes part in a healthy organism, which helps to maintain organism homeostasis. The visible deterioration of semen quality and the number of germ cells is accompanied by a seasonal decrease of the reproductive activity in some species. This post-effect cascade is caused by apoptosis, which is the primary mechanism responsible for the elimination of germ cells during spermatogenesis. The aim of our study was to assess apoptotic changes in the epithelium germinativum in cat testes at different ages. One hundred and two pairs of testes were obtained from domestic cats aged between 4 months and 10 years. The paraffin-embedded tissue sections were labelled using the Oncogene and Calbiochem Research Products DNA Fragmentation Detection Kit (Cat# QIA21; Darmstadt, Germany), which allows the recognition of apoptotic nuclei in tissue sections with Fragment End Labelling (FragELTM) of DNA. The activity of apoptotic processes in cat testes collected from the spring-summer period compared with the autumn-winter season revealed that, 59.42% and 51.51%, respectively, males testes were characterized by insignificant changes. The obtained data revealed a distinctive apoptotic changes in the young animal testes before spermatogenesis onset. An intensification of programmed death cells in the epithelium germinativum in the elder cats (between 3,6 and 6,10 years) was not observed. Apoptotic changes slightly intensified in cats aged between 12 and 36 months. [source]

    Remarkable Amphibian Biomass and Abundance in an Isolated Wetland: Implications for Wetland Conservation

    biodiversidad; declinación de anfibios; recuperación de humedales sequía; uso de suelo Abstract:,Despite the continuing loss of wetland habitats and associated declines in amphibian populations, attempts to translate wetland losses into measurable losses to ecosystems have been lacking. We estimated the potential productivity from the amphibian community that would be compromised by the loss of a single isolated wetland that has been protected from most industrial, agricultural, and urban impacts for the past 54 years. We used a continuous drift fence at Ellenton Bay, a 10-ha freshwater wetland on the Savannah River Site, near Aiken, South Carolina (U.S.A.), to sample all amphibians for 1 year following a prolonged drought. Despite intensive agricultural use of the land surrounding Ellenton Bay prior to 1951, we documented 24 species and remarkably high numbers and biomass of juvenile amphibians (>360,000 individuals; >1,400 kg) produced during one breeding season. Anurans (17 species) were more abundant than salamanders (7 species), comprising 96.4% of individual captures. Most (95.9%) of the amphibian biomass came from 232095 individuals of a single species of anuran (southern leopard frog[Rana sphenocephala]). Our results revealed the resilience of an amphibian community to natural stressors and historical habitat alteration and the potential magnitude of biomass and energy transfer from isolated wetlands to surrounding terrestrial habitat. We attributed the postdrought success of amphibians to a combination of adult longevity (often >5 years), a reduction in predator abundance, and an abundance of larval food resources. Likewise, the increase of forest cover around Ellenton Bay from <20% in 1951 to >60% in 2001 probably contributed to the long-term persistence of amphibians at this site. Our findings provide an optimistic counterpoint to the issue of the global decline of biological diversity by demonstrating that conservation efforts can mitigate historical habitat degradation. Resumen:,A pesar de la pérdida de hábitats de humedales y las declinaciones asociadas de poblaciones de anfibios, se han realizado pocos intentos para traducir las pérdidas de humedales en pérdidas mensurables en los ecosistemas. Estimamos la productividad potencial de la comunidad de anfibios que se afectaría por la pérdida de un humedal aislado que ha estado protegido de los impactos industriales, agrícolas y urbanos durante los últimos 54 años. Utilizamos un cerco de desvío en la Bahía Ellentonn, un humedal dulceacuícola de 10 ha en el Río Savannah, cerca de Aiken, Carolina del Sur (E.U.A.), para muestrear todos los anfibios durante 1 año después de una sequía prolongada. A pesar del intensivo uso agrícola del suelo alrededor de la Bahía Ellenton antes de 1951, documentamos 24 especies y números y biomasa de anfibios juveniles notablemente altos (>360,000 individuos; >1,400 kg) en una temporada reproductiva. Los anuros (17 especies) fueron más abundantes que las salamandras (7 especies), y comprendieron 96.4% de las capturas individuales. La mayor parte (95.9%) de la biomasa provino de 232095 individuos de una sola especie de anuro (Rana sphenocephala). Nuestros resultados revelaron que la resiliencia de la comunidad de anfibios a los estresantes naturales y a la alteración histórica del hábitat y la magnitud potencial de la transferencia de biomasa y energía desde los humedales aislados hacia el hábitat terrestre circundante. Atribuimos el éxito post-sequía de los anfibios a una combinación de longevidad de adultos (a menudo > 5 años), la reducción de la abundancia de depredadores y la abundancia de recursos alimenticios para las larvas. Asimismo, el incremento de la cobertura forestal alrededor de la Bahía Ellerton de < 20% en 1951 a > 60% en 2001 probablemente contribuyó a la persistencia de los anfibios a largo plazo en este sitio. Nuestros hallazgos proporcionan un contrapunto optimista al tema de la declinación global de la diversidad biológica al demostrar que los esfuerzos de conservación pueden mitigar a la degradación histórica del hábitat. [source]

    Physiological and Behavioral Differences in Magellanic Penguin Chicks in Undisturbed and Tourist-Visited Locations of a Colony

    corticoesterona; ecoturismo; perturbación humana; Spheniscus magellanicus Abstract:,Studies examining anthropogenic effects on wildlife typically focus on adults and on behavioral responses rather than the physiological consequences of human disturbances. Here we examined how Magellanic Penguin ( Spheniscus magellanicus) chicks living in either tourist-visited or undisturbed areas of a breeding colony were affected by human visitation by comparing the baseline and stress-induced levels of corticosterone during three periods of the breeding season. Newly hatched chicks in visited areas had higher corticosterone stress responses than newly hatched chicks in undisturbed areas (p =0.007), but baseline levels were similar (p =0.61). By 40,50 days of age and around fledging time, both visited and undisturbed chicks showed a robust corticosterone stress response to capture. Tourist-visited chicks did not flee when approached by humans, however, whereas undisturbed chicks fled significantly sooner (i.e., when approached no closer than 9 m; p < 0.0001). Although it is unknown whether Magellanic Penguin chicks raised in visited areas suffer negative consequences from the elevation of the corticosterone stress response at hatching, they do exhibit behavioral habituation to human contact by the time they are ready to fledge. Unlike adults living in tourist areas, however, fledging chicks in visited areas do not have a decreased stress response to capture and restraint. Our results show that the coupling of behavioral and physiological habituation in Magellanic Penguins is complex and life-history context may greatly affect the ability of wildlife to adapt to anthropogenic disturbances. Resumen:,Los estudios de los efectos antropogénicos sobre la vida silvestre se centran típicamente en adultos y en las respuestas conductuales en lugar de las consecuencias fisiológicas de las perturbaciones humanas. Aquí examinamos el efecto de la visita de humanos sobre pollos de pingüino (Spheniscus magellanicus) en áreas visitadas por turistas o no perturbadas mediante la comparación de los niveles, base e inducidos por estrés, de corticoesterona durante tres períodos de la temporada reproductiva. Los pollos recién eclosionados en áreas visitadas tuvieron mayor respuesta de la corticoesterona al estrés que los pollos recién eclosionados en áreas no perturbadas (p =0.007), pero los niveles básicos fueron similares (p =0.61). A los 40,50 días y en la etapa de volantón, los pollos visitados y no perturbados mostraron una marcada respuesta de la corticoesterona al estrés al ser capturados. Sin embargo, los pollos visitados por turistas no huyeron cuando se les acercaron humanos, mientras que los pollos no perturbados huyeron significativamente antes (i.e., acercamiento a más de 9 m; p < 0.0001). Aunque se desconoce si los pollos de pingüino criados en áreas visitadas sufren consecuencias negativas por la elevación de la corticosterona en respuesta al estrés al eclosionar, si presentan acostumbramiento conductual al contacto con humanos al momento que están listos para dejar el nido. Sin embargo, a diferencia de adultos que viven en áreas turísticas, los pollos volantones en las áreas visitadas no tienen una disminución en la respuesta al estrés cuando son capturados y sujetados. Nuestros resultados muestran la complejidad de la combinación del acostumbramiento conductual y fisiológico en Spheniscus magellanicus y que el contexto de la historia de vida puede afectar a la habilidad de la vida silvestre para adaptarse a las perturbaciones antropogénicas. [source]

    Potential Effects of Passenger Pigeon Flocks on the Structure and Composition of Presettlement Forests of Eastern North America

    We suggest that the activities of roosting and nesting Passenger Pigeons caused widespread, frequent disturbances in presettlement eastern forests through tree limb and stem breakage and nutrient deposition from pigeon excrement. We suspect that the deposition of fine fuels resulting from such disturbances may have influenced fire intensity and frequency in presettlement forests. Further, we propose that consumption of vast quantities of acorns by pigeons during the spring breeding season may partially explain the dominance of white oak (Quercus alba) throughout much of the presettlement north-central hardwoods region. Consequently, the pigeon's extinction may have facilitated the increase and expansion of northern red oak (Quercus rubra) during the twentieth century. Although it is difficult to accurately quantify how physical and chemical disturbances and mast consumption by Passenger Pigeon flocks affected forest ecology, we suspect they shaped landscape structure and species composition in eastern forests prior to the twentieth century. We believe their impact should be accounted for in estimates of the range of natural variability of conditions in eastern hardwood forests. Resumen:,Consideramos los posibles efectos que pudieron haber tenido parvadas de Palomas Migratorias (Ectopistes migratorius) sobre el régimen de perturbación y la composición de especies de bosques en Norte América oriental antes de la colonización. Sugerimos que las actividades de perchado y anidación de las palomas causaron perturbaciones frecuentes y extensas en los bosques orientales antes de la colonización por medio de la ruptura de ramas y tallos de árboles y la deposición de nutrientes del excremento de las palomas. Sospechamos que la deposición de combustibles resultantes de tales perturbaciones pudo haber influido en la intensidad y frecuencia de incendios forestales. Más aún, proponemos que el consumo de grandes cantidades de bellotas por las palomas en la primavera puede parcialmente explicar la dominancia de roble blanco (Quercus alba) en muchos de los bosques nor-orientales. En consecuencia, la extinción de la paloma pudo haber facilitado el incremento y expansión del roble rojo (Quercus rubra) durante el siglo veinte. Aunque es difícil cuantificar con precisión como las perturbaciones físicas y químicas y el consumo masivo por parvadas de palomas migratorias afectaron a la ecología forestal, sospechamos que modelaron la estructura del paisaje y la composición de especies en los bosques orientales antes del siglo veinte. Creemos que su impacto debería ser considerado cuando se hacen estimaciones del rango de variabilidad natural de las condiciones en bosques orientales de maderas duras. [source]

    Brain aromatase, 5,-reductase, and 5,-reductase change seasonally in wild male song sparrows: Relationship to aggressive and sexual behavior

    Kiran K. Soma
    Abstract In many species, territoriality is expressed only during the breeding season, when plasma testosterone (T) is elevated. In contrast, in song sparrows (Melospiza melodia morphna), males are highly territorial during the breeding (spring) and nonbreeding (autumn) seasons, but not during molt (late summer). In autumn, plasma sex steroids are basal, and castration has no effect on aggression. However, inhibition of aromatase reduces nonbreeding aggression, suggesting that neural steroid metabolism may regulate aggressive behavior. In wild male song sparrows, we examined the neural distribution of aromatase mRNA and seasonal changes in the activities of aromatase, 5,-, and 5,-reductase, enzymes that convert T to 17,-estradiol, 5,-dihydrotestosterone (5,-DHT, a potent androgen), or 5,-DHT (an inactive metabolite), respectively. Enzyme activities were measured in the diencephalon, ventromedial telencephalon (vmTEL, which includes avian amygdala), caudomedial neostriatum (NCM), and the hippocampus of birds captured during spring, molt, or autumn. Aromatase and 5,-reductase changed seasonally in a region-specific manner. Aromatase in the diencephalon was higher in spring than in molt and autumn, similar to seasonal changes in male sexual behavior. Aromatase activity in the vmTEL was high in both spring and autumn but significantly reduced at molt, similar to seasonal changes in aggression. 5,-Reductase was not elevated during molt, suggesting that low aggression during molt is not a result of increased inactivation of androgens. These data highlight the relevance of neural steroid metabolism to the expression of natural behaviors by free-living animals. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Neurobiol 56: 209,221, 2003 [source]

    Effect of abiotic factors on reproduction in the centre and periphery of breeding ranges: a comparative analysis in sympatric harriers

    ECOGRAPHY, Issue 4 2001
    J. T. García
    Variables such as weather or other abiotic factors should have a higher influence on demographic rates in border areas than in central areas, given that climatic adaptation might be important in determining range borders. Similarly, for a given area, the relationship between weather and reproduction should be dissimilar for species which are in the centre of their breeding range and those that are near the edge. We tested this hypothesis on two sympatric ground-nesting raptors, the hen harrier Circus cyaneus and the Montagu's harrier Circus pygargus in Madrid, central Spain, where the hen harrier is at the southern edge of its breeding range in the western Palearctic and the Montagu's harrier is central in its distribution. We examined the reproductive success of both species during an 8-yr period, and looked at the influence of the most stressful abiotic factors in the study area (between-year variation in rainfall and within-year variation in temperature) on reproductive parameters. In the hen harrier, low levels of rainfall during the breeding season had a negative influence on annual fledging success and thus on population fledgling production. The relationship between rainfall and reproduction was probably mediated through food abundance, which in Mediterranean habitat depends directly on rainfall levels. In the Montagu's harrier, no negative effect of dry seasons on productivity was found. Additionally, in the hen harrier, the proportion of eggs that did not hatch in each clutch increased with higher temperatures during the incubation period. No such relationship was found in the Montagu's harrier. We interpret these between-species differences in terms of differences of breeding range and adaptations to the average conditions existing there. Hen harriers, commonest at northern latitudes, are probably best adapted to the most typical conditions at those latitudes, and have probably not developed thermoregulatory or behavioural mechanisms to cope with drought and high temperatures in Mediterranean habitats, in contrast to Montagu's harrier. Thus hen harrier distribution might be constrained by these variables, due to lower reproductive success or higher reproductive costs. Accordingly, a logistic regression analysis of the presence or absence of both species in 289 random points throughout the western Palearctic showed that the distribution of both species was related to temperature, but the relationship was in opposite directions for the two species: hen harriers had lower probability of breeding in areas with higher temperature (as expected in a species with a more northerly distribution). [source]

    Topographic spatial characterisation of grey seal Halichoerus grypus breeding habitat at a sub-seal size spatial grain

    ECOGRAPHY, Issue 3 2001
    S. D. Twiss
    Expansion within breeding colonies may critically depend upon the availability of suitable breeding habitat. Here we use topographic modelling in a GIS to characterise suitable pupping habitat and accurately predict the pattern of colonisation in an expanding grey seal breeding colony-the Isle of May (Scotland), We use high resolution images from large format aerial photographs of the colony to generate sub-metre accurate Digital Terrain Models (DTMs), GIS modelling with these DTMs provides topographic measures of elevation, slope and ease of access to sea and freshwater pools at a 2 m grid cell size. Seal locations during the 1994 breeding season, with sex-age class, were also digitised from the same images. We examine how the physical attributes of cells (locations) with and without pups differ and identify areas suitable for pupping but remaining unoccupied during 1994. We predict patterns of future colonisation by characterising areas differentiated by the densities of pups within 5 m grid cells and identifying areas, both occupied or unoccupied, with a potential for increased future pupping densities. Our predictions were tested by examining pup distributions observed in the 1998 breeding season. Occupied sites were significantly closer to freshwater pools and access to the sea (p < 0.001) than unoccupied sites suggesting that proximity to water may restrict colony expansion before all areas of suitably flat terrain are occupied. All pup density classes occurred in sites with similar slope values and distance to pools. However, higher pupping densities occurred closer to access points (p = 0.014). Pup densities observed in 1998 revealed that our 1994 predictions were accurate (p < 0.0001). Only 12% of 466 grid cells had higher densities in 1998 than predicted, of which 88% differed by only 1 pup. These incorrectly classified cells occurred at the expanding edge of the colony (in a more topographically homogenous area) and at the main access points from the sea (major traffic zones). These results demonstrate the value of the accurate quantification of topographic parameters at the appropriate spatial grain (in this case below the size of the individual) for use in habitat classification and predictions of habitat utilization. [source]

    Crowding and disease: effects of host density on response to infection in a butterfly,parasite interaction

    Abstract. 1. Hosts experiencing frequent variation in density are thought to benefit from allocating more resources to parasite defence when density is high (,density-dependent prophylaxis'). However, high density conditions can increase intra-specific competition and induce physiological stress, hence increasing host susceptibility to infection (,crowding-stress hypothesis'). 2. We studied monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) and quantified the effects of larval rearing density on susceptibility to the protozoan parasite Ophryocystis elektroscirrha. Larvae were inoculated with parasite spores and reared at three density treatments: low, moderate, and high. We examined the effects of larval density on parasite loads, host survival, development rates, body size, and wing melanism. 3. Results showed an increase in infection probability with greater larval density. Monarchs in the moderate and high density treatments also suffered the greatest negative effects of parasite infection on body size, development rate, and adult longevity. 4. We observed greater body sizes and shorter development times for monarchs reared at moderate densities, and this was true for both unparasitised and parasite-treated monarchs. We hypothesise that this effect could result from greater larval feeding rates at moderate densities, combined with greater physiological stress at the highest densities. 5. Although monarch larvae are assumed to occur at very low densities in the wild, an analysis of continent-wide monarch larval abundance data showed that larval densities can reach high levels in year-round resident populations and during the late phase of the breeding season. Treatment levels used in our experiment captured ecologically-relevant variation in larval density observed in the wild. [source]

    Differentiation in life cycle of sympatric populations of two forms of Hyphantria moth in central Missouri

    Makio TAKEDA
    Abstract Wing patterns of Hyphantria adult male moths collected in central Missouri were examined throughout the breeding season. Three major peaks of adult flight were observed: the first peak consisted mainly of adults with spotted wings, while the second and third peaks consisted of immaculate adults. Black-headed larvae appeared in the field following the first major peak of moth flight, and red-headed larvae appeared in the field following the second peak. Sympatric red-headed and black-headed forms were collected in the field and subsequently reared on an artificial diet under conditions of 16 h light : 8 h dark (LD 16:8) at 25°C. The larval period of the black-headed form was shorter than the red-headed, whereas the pupal period of the black-headed form was longer than the red-headed. Pupal development is retarded in some individuals at high temperatures in the black-headed form. Photoperiodic response curves for pupal diapause were different between the two forms. The critical photoperiod for pupal diapause was 15 h 10 min in the red-headed form, which was longer than that for the black-headed form (14 h 40 min). The two forms responded to shifts in photoperiod differently. These developmental responses temporally separate the two forms in the field; the red-headed and black-headed forms represent a set of adaptations favoring univoltinism and bivoltinism, respectively. Red-headed larvae fed mainly at night, while the black-headed larvae fed without a clear day,night rhythm. Nocturnal feeding in the red-headed form is adaptive to protection against predation, but fails to fully utilize heat units and thus to produce a second generation. [source]

    Burrowing owls and agricultural pesticides: Evaluation of residues and risks for three populations in California, USA

    Jennifer A. Gervais
    Abstract We examined selenium, organophosphorus, and organochlorine pesticide residues in egg, footwash, and feather samples from burrowing owls in three populations in central and southern California. Eggs from all sites contained detectable levels of p,p,-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene, with the San Joaquin Valley site containing up to 33 ,g/g (geometric mean x¯ = 7.52). Only low levels of polychlorinated biphenyls were detected, however (geometric mean x¯ = 1.98, n = 2). Selenuim concentrations were low in all samples (geometric mean x¯ = 0.426, n = 20). Eggshells collected in 1996 were 22% thinner than eggs collected prior to 1937. In addition, feather samples contained low levels of dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene, and footwash samples indicated exposure to the pesticide chlorpyrifos. Pesticide-use records indicated that one population might also be at risk from applications of aldicarb near nests during the breeding season. [source]

    Permanent colostomy after small colon prolapse in a parturient mare

    C. A. Espinosa Buschiazzo
    Summary Small colon prolapse is a possible complication during parturition and diarrhoea. A case diagnosed in a mare during birth labour was reduced by the attending veterinarian at the farm, and referred to the authors for evaluation. After thorough physical examination, blood and peritoneal fluid tests, a ruptured mesocolon was suspected and the mare explored under general anaesthesia by a median celiotomy approach. During the procedure the affected mesocolon-rectum was confirmed and a resection of the intestine elected. After prolapsing the segment of damaged viscera a permanent end colostomy was performed. Fourteen months later and after an uneventful recovery, the mare was in a very good physical condition and waiting to be covered for the next breeding season. [source]

    Effects of Rapid Broadband Trills on Responses to Song Overlapping in Nightingales

    ETHOLOGY, Issue 4 2010
    Philipp Sprau
    In communication, animals often use complex signals with different traits carrying different information. In the song of some songbirds, both trills and song overlapping signal arousal or the readiness to escalate a contest in male-male interactions, yet they also differ inherently from each other. Song overlapping is restricted to interactions and has a clear directive function as the songs are timed specifically to the songs of a counterpart. Trills, however, can be used without opponents actively singing and do not have such a directional character unless when combined with directed traits. This difference raises the question whether trills can enhance the agonistic function of song overlapping when being used simultaneously. Here, we exposed male nightingales (Luscinia megarhynchos) prior to pairing to overlapping playback treatments differing in the presence or absence of rapid broadband trills. Males responded differently to the two playback treatments suggesting that song overlapping and rapid broadband trills have some synergistic effects. Consequently, the separate or simultaneous use of trills and of song overlapping may allow males to adjust information encoded in their singing on a fine scale. Furthermore, males that remained unpaired throughout the breeding season responded differently to the playbacks than did subsequently paired males, emphasizing the implications of differences in territory defence behaviour on males subsequent pairing success. [source]

    When do the Costs of Spermatogenesis Constrain Sperm Expenditure?

    ETHOLOGY, Issue 1 2009
    Remarks on the Pattern of the Spermatogenic Cycle
    The costs of spermatogenesis constrain sperm expenditure when sperm production per day is limited. Thus, males are challenged to allocate available resources to sperm production and other life history functions. However, this prevailing assumption is not applicable to species in which spermatogenesis becomes quiescent during the breeding season. Males of these species prepare large quantities of sperm before the breeding season. Among these species, constraints on ejaculates have been intensively investigated in salamanders that deposit spermatophores. Although it is predicted that sperm expenditure should not be limited because of abundantly prepared sperm, spermatophore deposition is often limited during the breeding season when vas deferens are full of sperm. We tested a hypothesis regarding limited spermatophore deposition by measuring sperm quantity and volume of spermatophores sequentially deposited by male eastern newts Notophthalmus viridescens. A male newt rarely deposits more than three spermatophores per mating. If depletion of non-sperm components of spermatophores limits spermatophore deposition, we predicted that spermatophore volume decreases while sperm quantity remains constant as a male deposits more spermatophores. Alternatively, some regulative mechanisms allow a limited portion of available sperm to be expended per mating, in which sperm quantity is predicted to decrease while the spermatophore volume remains constant. Finally, depletion of non-sperm components may regulate sperm expenditure, which predicted that both spermatophore volume and sperm quantity decrease. We found that both sperm quantity and the spermatophore volume decreased as a male deposited more spermatophores during a single mating. Sperm expenditure was constrained without the costs involved in active spermatogenesis, and depletion of non-sperm components likely regulate sperm quantity loaded in spermatophores. In dissociated spermatogenesis, constrained sperm expenditure do not mean that costly spermatogenesis is directly limiting male mating capacity but rather suggest that the evolution of physiological mechanisms regulating sperm expenditure per mating maximizes male reproductive success. [source]

    The Influence of Exogenous Testosterone on the Dynamics of Nestling Provisioning in Dark-Eyed Juncos

    ETHOLOGY, Issue 1 2007
    Ethan D. Clotfelter
    In many songbird species, application of exogenous testosterone (T) during the breeding season has the general effects of reducing male parental investment and increasing allocation of time and energy to mating. Most studies record the number of feeding trips made by males as a function of their hormone treatment, but few have investigated the ways in which testosterone affects the dynamics of male and female provisioning behavior or the quantity of food delivered by males. We attempt to fill these gaps in our understanding of testosterone and male parental effort by utilizing data from a long-term study on the behavioral endocrinology of the dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis). We found that male and female feeding rates covaried positively, although to different degrees, throughout the nestling period, but that this relationship was degraded in pairs in which males were given T implants. We also found that the coefficients of variation in the duration of intervals between successive feeding trips by males and females were highly positively related in broods of older nestlings. Male hormone treatment, however, had no effect on the coefficients of variation in either male or female feeding intervals. Finally, we examined the quantity of prey delivered by males and found no significant effect of hormone treatment. [source]

    Individual Male Calling Pattern and Male Mating Success in the European Treefrog (Hyla arborea): Is there Evidence for Directional or Stabilizing Selection on Male Calling Behaviour?

    ETHOLOGY, Issue 2 2006
    Thomas W.P. Friedl
    In anurans, call properties are commonly classified based on within-male variability as being either static or dynamic. Numerous playback experiments in the laboratory have indicated that female preferences based on dynamic call properties are usually strongly directional, while female preferences based on static call properties are often stabilizing or weakly directional. However, there are only few studies demonstrating that female preferences for high values of dynamic call properties indeed exert directional selection on male calling behaviour in natural populations. Moreover, field studies investigating whether female preferences for values of static call properties around the mean of the population lead to currently operating stabilizing selection on male calling patterns in natural populations are completely lacking. Here I investigate for two consecutive breeding seasons male calling patterns and male mating success in a population of individually marked European treefrogs (Hyla arborea), a hylid frog with prolonged breeding season and a lek mating system. Individual male calling pattern as analysed in terms of seven temporal and spectral call properties did not differ between males that survived from one breeding season to the next and those not surviving. None of the seven call properties investigated differed significantly between mated and unmated males, indicating that there is no strong directional selection on male calling behaviour in the study population. However, in one study season males that produced calls with a number of pulses around the mean of the population were significantly more likely to obtain matings than males that produced calls with a number of pulses at the low or high end of the distribution. Thus, this study provides preliminary evidence for the operation of stabilizing selection on a static call property (i.e. the number of pulses per call) in a natural population of an anuran amphibian. [source]

    Strophe Length in Spontaneous Songs Predicts Male Response to Playback in the Hoopoe Upupa epops

    ETHOLOGY, Issue 5 2004
    Manuel Martín-Vivaldi
    Hoopoe (Upupa epops, Coraciformes) males produce a very simple song during the breeding season in order to attract females and repel intruders. Strophes vary in length (i.e. number of elements) both within and between males, and previous studies have shown that this song cue is positively correlated with male condition and breeding success. In the present study we tested whether strophe length of males influences male behaviour during intra-sexual contests, in a colour-ringed population in southeast Spain. Paired males were presented with a recorded song with long strophes during the pre-laying period, while they were near their mates, in order to provoke male mate-defence behaviour. Most males responded to the playback, but the strategy of defence adopted depended on their own strophe length in spontaneous songs recorded before the experiments. While singing responses were common to most of the males, only those using long strophes adopted the most risky strategy of approaching the loudspeaker. However, the males that approached produced abnormal songs during playback, that were shorter and with fewer strophes than those of males that did not approach, and used shorter strophes in comparison with spontaneous songs before the experiment. These differences in quality of the song produced in response to the playback suggest that long-strophe males were basing their response mainly on attacking rather than singing, while short-strophe males tried to resolve the contest at a distance by means of their song. These results show that strophe length reflects some component of the competitive ability of males (either physical strength or aggressiveness) in the hoopoe, which together with previous results regarding its role for female choice, show that it is a sexual signal with dual function. [source]

    Estrogen-dependent selectivity of genomic responses to birdsong

    Donna L. Maney
    Abstract Behavioral responses to sociosexual signals often depend on gonadal steroid hormones, which are thought to modulate behavior by acting on motivational systems in the brain. There is mounting evidence that sex steroids may also modulate perception of sociosexual signals by affecting sensory processing. In seasonally breeding songbirds such as the white-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis), the female's behavioral response to hearing male song depends on her plasma levels of estradiol (E2). Here, we examined whether plasma E2 also affects the selectivity of the song-induced zenk (egr-1) response in the auditory forebrain, which is known to vary according to the behavioral relevance of song stimuli. Non-breeding females were held on a winter-like photoperiod and implanted with silastic capsules containing either no hormone or E2. E2-treated birds hearing 42 min of conspecific song had more cells immunoreactive for the protein product of zenk in the auditory forebrain than did those hearing frequency-matched synthetic tones. In birds not treated with E2, however, the zenk response to song did not differ from that to tones. We found similar effects in the avian homolog of the inferior colliculus, indicating that E2 may affect the processing of auditory information upstream of the forebrain. Our data suggest that in females, zenk induction in the auditory system is selective for song only when plasma E2 exceeds non-breeding levels. E2-dependent plasticity of auditory pathways and processing centres may promote recognition of and attention to conspecific song during the breeding season. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 12 2007
    R. L. Nudds
    Ecogeographical rules provide potential to describe how organisms are morphologically constrained to climatic conditions. Allen's rule (relatively shorter appendages in colder environments) remains largely unsupported and there remains much controversy whether reduced surface area of appendages provides energetic savings sufficient to make this morphological trend truly adaptive. By showing for the first time that Allen's rule holds for closely related endothermic species, we provide persuasive support of the adaptive significance of this trend for multiple species. Our results indicate that reduction of thermoregulatory cost during the coldest part of the breeding season is the most likely mechanism driving Allen's rule for these species. Because for 54% of seabird species examined, rise in seasonal maximum temperature over 100 years will exceed that for minimum temperatures, an evolutionary mismatch will arise between selection for limb length reduction and ability to accommodate heat stress. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 5 2005
    Denson Kelly Mclain
    Abstract In Georgia (USA) the soldier beetle, Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus (Coleoptera; Cantharidae), exhibits clinal variation in the length of the spot on its elytron. This suggests that the viability of phenotypes varies by habitat. Evidence of viability selection comes from within-site changes in the spot length distribution across a breeding season. When males with spots of intermediate length became less frequent, they became disproportionately less likely to mate, consistent with either a loss of vigor among remaining males or female rejection of disfavored phenotypes. Persistent, daily courtship by males provides females with the opportunity to track changes in male phenotype frequency and to exercise choice for phenotypes favored under natural selection. A laboratory experiment in which the frequency of one spot morph (long) or the other (short) was increased from 25% to 75% over a period of 30 days revealed that females possess a flexible preference that leads them to prefer whichever spot type has become more common over time. A haploid genetic model demonstrates that a flexible female preference for the locally favored male phenotype can be selected for when different viability alleles, genetically correlated with the male trait, are favored in different habitats that are linked by gene flow. Thus, migration between different kinds of habitat patches of a metapopulation could maintain the variation in male quality. This variation favors female choice for any trait that is directly or indirectly favored by natural selection. Such choice imparts positive frequency-dependent selection that could rapidly fix traits pleiotropically linked to viability. Rapid fixation would cause differentiation between populations of colonizing species as females exercise choice for mates favored under new ecological conditions. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 3 2002
    Kenneth M. Fedorka
    Abstract In many insect systems, males donate nuptial gifts to insure an effective copulation or as a form of paternal investment. However, if gift magnitude is both body size-limited and positively related to fitness, then the opportunity exists for the gift to promote the evolution of large male size. In the striped ground cricket, Allonemobius socius, males transfer a body size-limited, somatic nuptial gift that is comprised primarily of hemolymph. To address the implications of this gift on male size evolution, we quantified the intensity and direction of natural (fecundity) and sexual (mating success) selection over multiple generations. We found that male size was under strong positive sexual selection throughout the breeding season. This pattern of selection was similar in successive generations spanning multiple years. Male size was also under strong natural selection, with the largest males siring the most offspring. However, multivariate selection gradients indicated that gift size, and not male size, was the best predictor of female fecundity. In other words, direct fecundity selection for larger gifts placed indirect positive selection on male body size, supporting the hypothesis that nuptial gifts can influence the evolution of male body size in this system. Although female size was also under strong selection due to a size related fecundity advantage, it did not exceed selection on male size. The implications of these results with regard to the maintenance of the female-biased size dimorphic system are discussed. [source]

    Differences in the skin peptides of the male and female Australian tree frog Litoria splendida

    FEBS JOURNAL, Issue 1 2000
    The discovery of the aquatic male sex pheromone splendipherin, a new antibiotic peptide caerin 1.10, together with Phe8 caerulein
    The skin secretions of female and male Litoria splendida have been monitored monthly over a three-year period using HPLC and electrospray mass spectrometry. Two minor peptides are present only in the skin secretion of the male. The first of these is the female-attracting aquatic male sex pheromone that we have named splendipherin, a 25 amino acid peptide (GLVSSIGKALGGLLADVVKSKGQPA-OH). This pheromone constitutes about 1% of the total skin peptides during the breeding season (January to March), dropping to about 0.1% during the period June to November. Splendipherin attracts the female in water at a concentration of 10,11,10,9 m, and is species specific. The second peptide is a wide-spectrum antibiotic of the caerin 1 group, a 25 residue peptide (GLLSVLGSVAKHVLPHVVPVIAEKL-NH2) named caerin 1.10. The neuropeptides of L. splendida are also seasonally variable, the change identical for both the female and male. During the period October to March, the sole neuropeptide present in skin secretions is caerulein [pEQDY(SO3)TGWMDF-NH2]; this is active on smooth muscle and is also an analgaesic. During the southern winter (June to September), more than half of the caerulein is hydrolysed to [pEQDYTGWMDF-NH2], a peptide that shows no smooth muscle activity. In place of caerulein, a new peptide, Phe8 caerulein [pEQDY(SO3)TGWFDF-NH2], becomes a major component of the skin secretion. Perhaps this seasonal change is involved in thermoregulation, that is, with the initiation and maintenance of the inactive (hibernation) phase of the animal. [source]

    Aseasonality in the abundance and life history of an ecologically dominant freshwater crab in the Rift Valley, Kenya

    FRESHWATER BIOLOGY, Issue 2 2007
    Summary 1. Freshwater crabs appear to show at least two alternative life history patterns, which differ in the timing of seasonal reproduction. Reproduction occurs during low flow among temperate lotic species, but during high water levels among wetland species. Crab biomass is often very high and both strategies would lead to spatial and temporal pulses in density and biomass. The life history and reproductive strategy adopted by tropical lotic species is poorly known, however, despite their importance in community and ecosystem dynamics. 2. In this study, we determined annual patterns of life history, density and biomass of a lotic freshwater crab in a small headwater stream in the East African highlands where it maintains high biomass. This crab is an as yet undescribed species of Potamonautes, here referred to as the Chinga crab. 3. Crabs were sampled non-destructively for 15 months using baited traps and benthic sampling with a Surber sampler. At the end of the study, an intensive hand search was carried out. Each method was biased towards different size classes of crabs and the efficiency of both long-term methods varied according to water levels in the stream. The intensive search was more effective than benthic sampling, but failed to record the large individuals caught by baited traps. 4. Population density and biomass remained constantly high throughout the study period. Reproduction, as evidenced by the presence of ovigerous females and small free-living juveniles, also showed no seasonality. As a consequence, the population size structure (size-frequency distribution) of crabs remained constant throughout the year. 5. The Chinga crab illustrates a third life history pattern, with no clear breeding season, and this may be common among tropical species. This is probably a consequence of the non-seasonal nature of its habitat: temperature varied little throughout the year and rainfall fluctuations were relatively small. This strategy allows the species to maintain high biomass without seasonal pulses and, perhaps, to dominate community and ecosystem processes. [source]

    Rainfall in arid zones: possible effects of climate change on the population ecology of blue cranes

    FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, Issue 5 2009
    Res Altwegg
    Summary 1.,Understanding the demographic mechanisms through which climate affects population dynamics is critical for predicting climate change impacts on biodiversity. In arid habitats, rainfall is the most important forcing climatic factor. Rainfall in arid zones is typically variable and unpredictable, and we therefore hypothesise that its seasonality and variability may be as important for the population ecology of arid zone animals as its total amount. 2.,Here we examine the effect of these aspects of rainfall on reproduction and age specific survival of blue cranes (Anthropoides paradiseus Lichtenstein) in the semi-arid eastern Nama Karoo, South Africa. We then use our results to predict the effect of changes in rainfall at the population level. 3.,Using combined capture-mark-resighting and dead-recovery models, we estimated average survival of cranes to be 0·53 in their first year, 0·73 in their second and third year, and 0·96 for older birds. 4.,We distinguished between three seasons, based on the blue cranes' breeding phenology: early breeding season, late breeding season and nonbreeding season. Cranes survived better with increasing rainfall during the late but not early breeding season. Based on road counts and success of monitored nests, reproduction was positively associated with rainfall during the early but not late breeding season. 5.,A matrix population model predicted that population growth rate would increase with increasing rainfall. A stochastic analysis showed that variation in early breeding season rainfall increased population growth slightly due to the nonlinear relationship between rainfall and reproduction. This effect was opposed by the effect of variation in late breeding season rainfall on survival and overall, variation in rainfall had a negligible effect on population growth. 6.,Our results allow predictions to be made for a range of climate-change scenarios. For example, a shift in seasonality with drier springs but wetter summers would likely decrease reproduction but increase survival, with little overall effect on population growth. [source]

    Testosterone response to GnRH in a female songbird varies with stage of reproduction: implications for adult behaviour and maternal effects

    FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, Issue 4 2007
    Summary 1Despite considerable recent interest in plasma and yolk testosterone (T) in female birds, relatively little is known about environmental regulation of female T, individual variation in female T or the relationship between plasma and yolk T. 2In breeding females of a wild population of dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis), we assessed variation in the responsiveness of the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis to a challenge with gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) by measuring circulating T before and 30 min after a standardized injection of GnRH. We asked whether response to challenge varied seasonally or with stage of reproduction and whether it was repeatable within individuals or related to T deposited in eggs. 3Initial and post-challenge levels of T were measured using enzyme immunoassay. In a subset of these females, luteinising hormone (LH) was measured using radioimmunoassay (RIA). In addition, eggs were collected from nests of 15 females that had received a GnRH challenge, and yolk T was measured using RIA. 4During most of the breeding season, plasma T did not increase in response to GnRH. GnRH consistently caused increases in plasma T only during the 7 days before oviposition, when females were rapidly depositing yolk in eggs but had not yet begun to lay them. Among a small subset of females we found a positive correlation between the magnitude of this increase in plasma T in response to GnRH during egg development and the amount of T deposited in the yolk of eggs collected at a later time. 5These results suggest that ovarian response to GnRH-induced increases in LH is greatest when females are actively depositing yolk into eggs. Factors that stimulate the release of GnRH during egg formation may result in higher levels of plasma T which could influence adult female behaviour. Further, because plasma T was correlated with later yolk T, factors that stimulate GnRH release may also lead to higher levels of yolk T potentially influencing offspring development or behaviour. [source]

    Increased mite parasitism as a cost of testosterone in male striped plateau lizards Sceloporus virgatus

    FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, Issue 2 2007
    Summary 1Testosterone (T) co-ordinates the seasonal and sex-specific expression of numerous physiological, behavioural and morphological traits that contribute to male reproductive success. However, increased susceptibility to parasitism has been proposed as a potential cost of elevated plasma T. 2During the spring breeding season, male striped plateau lizards Sceloporus virgatus harbour significantly more ectoparasitic mite larvae (Acari: Trombiculidae) than females. Plasma T levels are also elevated in males at this time, suggesting that sex differences in mite parasitism may be driven by underlying sex differences in circulating T. 3We tested this hypothesis experimentally by manipulating plasma T levels of yearling males via surgical castration and exogenous T implants. Upon recapture of free-living animals, we found significantly fewer mites on castrated males relative to either intact controls or castrated males that received T implants. 4After removing variance attributable to treatment effects, we observed (1) a positive correlation between residual measures of plasma T and mite load, and (2) a negative correlation between residual measures of mite load and growth rate. These correlations suggest a growth cost associated with mite parasitism. 5Previous studies have shown that exogenous T increases parasitism, but ours is one of the few to show that castration also reduces parasitism. This result, coupled with the fact that our induced plasma T levels remain within physiological limits, makes this one of the clearest demonstrations of a functional relationship between T and parasitism in any free-living vertebrate. [source]

    Testosterone and innate immune function inversely covary in a wild population of breeding Dark-Eyed Juncos (Junco hyemalis)

    FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, Issue 5 2006
    Summary 1Innate immunity refers to the non-specific components of the primary immune response, which act broadly to destroy pathogens. Effective innate immune responses may save an individual the energetic costs associated with activating subsequent specific immune responses. 2Testosterone can suppress immune function in vitro and in vivo. Most studies examining testosterone's effects on immunity have focused on experimentally elevated testosterone and acquired immune responses (e.g. humoral and cell-mediated responses to foreign antigens). Few studies have investigated the relationship between endogenous levels of testosterone and innate immunity. 3In a wild breeding population of Dark-Eyed Juncos (Junco hyemalis Linnaeus), we asked whether endogenous levels of testosterone measured at several points during the breeding season covaried with two components of innate immunity: total levels of non-specific immunoglobulin-G (IgG), and complement levels. 4Testosterone levels were significantly negatively correlated with both total IgG and complement activity. Both immune measures were also positively correlated with body mass. Taken together with experimental results from the same species, these results suggest that elevated testosterone levels may compromise innate as well as acquired immune function. [source]

    Does female nuptial coloration reflect egg carotenoids and clutch quality in the Two-Spotted Goby (Gobiusculus flavescens, Gobiidae)?

    FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, Issue 4 2006
    Summary 1Carotenoid-based ornamentation has often been suggested to signal mate quality, and species with such ornaments have frequently been used in studies of sexual selection. 2Female Gobiusculus flavescens (Two-Spotted Goby) develop colourful orange bellies during the breeding season. Belly coloration varies among mature females, and previous work has shown that nest-holding males prefer females with more colourful bellies. Because males invest heavily in offspring during incubation, the evolution of this preference can be explained if colourful females provide males with eggs of higher quality. 3We tested this hypothesis by allowing males to spawn with ,colourful' and ,drab' females and comparing parameters including egg carotenoid concentration, clutch size, hatchability and larval viability between groups. We also investigated relationships between egg carotenoid concentration and clutch quality parameters. 4Eggs from colourful females had significantly higher concentrations of total carotenoids than drab females, and photographically quantified belly coloration was a good predictor of egg carotenoid concentration. 5Colourful females produced slightly larger clutches, but female belly coloration was not related to any measure of clutch quality. In addition, there were no significant relationships between egg carotenoids and clutch quality. Females with high levels of egg carotenoids spawned slightly earlier, however, possibly because they were more ready to spawn or because of male mate choice. 6Our results call into question the generality of a causal link between egg carotenoids and offspring quality. [source]

    Experimental tail shortening in Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) affects haematocrit

    FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, Issue 5 2005
    J. J. CUERVO
    Summary 1Recent studies in Scotland suggest that the outermost tail feathers of Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica Linnaeus) may be around 10,12 mm longer than the aerodynamic optimum, with sexual selection for long tails accounting for this extra length. 2To test this hypothesis, we shortened the outermost tail feathers in male and female Barn Swallows in southern Spain by cutting 1, 11 or 21 mm from the tips of the feathers, and checked for change in haematocrit 1 month later. Haematocrit levels were high when birds arrived at the breeding grounds due to an intense effort for flight during migration, but these levels decreased during the breeding season. We predicted that this decrease would be more pronounced when tail length was closer to the aerodynamic optimum (tails shortened by 11 mm), and less pronounced as tail length was displaced from that optimum (tails shortened by 1 or 21 mm). 3Contrary to expectations, we found that the smaller the experimental reduction in tail length, the more pronounced the decrease in haematocrit. Barn Swallows with little parental effort and originally long tail feathers experienced a more pronounced decrease in haematocrit than individuals with strong parental effort and originally short tail feathers, respectively, although only in the group of birds with tails shortened by 21 mm. 4These results do not support the hypothesis that outermost tail feathers in Barn Swallows have been elongated because of sexual selection, at least in the population studied, but are consistent with tail length being at an aerodynamic optimum, or very close to it. Differences in tail length among populations might help to understand the disagreement with previous studies. [source]

    Relative influence of fisheries and climate on the demography of four albatross species

    Abstract Worldwide ecosystems are modified by human activities and climate change. To be able to predict future changes, it is necessary to understand their respective role on population dynamics. Among the most threatened species are top predators because of their position in the food web. Albatross populations are potentially affected by both human activities, especially longline fisheries, and climatic fluctuations. Based on long-term data (1985,2006), we conducted through a comparative approach a demographic analysis (adult survival and breeding success) on four albatross species breeding on the Indian Ocean sub-Antarctic Islands to assess the relative impact of climate and fisheries during and outside the breeding season. The study revealed that adult survival of almost all species was not affected by climate, and therefore probably canalized against climatic variations, but was negatively affected by tuna longlining effort in three species. Breeding success was affected by climate, with contrasted effects between species, with Southern Oscillation Index having an impact on all species but one. Differences in demographic responses depended on the foraging zone and season. In order to predict population trajectories of seabirds such as albatrosses, our results show the importance of assessing the relative influence of fishing and climate impacts on demography. [source]