PMCC PMCC

Search tips
Search criteria

Advanced
Results 1-11 (11)
 

Clipboard (0)
None

Select a Filter Below

Journals
Year of Publication
Document Types
1.  Songbird frequency selectivity and temporal resolution vary with sex and season 
Many species of songbirds exhibit dramatic seasonal variation in song output. Recent evidence suggests that seasonal changes in auditory processing are coincident with seasonal variation in vocal output. Here, we show, for the first time, that frequency selectivity and temporal resolution of the songbird auditory periphery change seasonally and in a sex-specific manner. Male and female house sparrows (Passer domesticus) did not differ in their frequency sensitivity during the non-breeding season, nor did they differ in their temporal resolution. By contrast, female house sparrows showed enhanced frequency selectivity during the breeding season, which was matched by a concomitant reduction of temporal resolution. However, males failed to show seasonal plasticity in either of these auditory properties. We discuss potential mechanisms generating these seasonal patterns and the implications of sex-specific seasonal changes in auditory processing for vocal communication.
doi:10.1098/rspb.2012.2296
PMCID: PMC3574405  PMID: 23193125
house sparrow; auditory-evoked potentials; seasonality; communication; plasticity
2.  Energy Reallocation to Breeding Performance through Improved Nest Building in Laboratory Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74153.
Mice are housed at temperatures (20-26°C) that increase their basal metabolic rates and impose high energy demands to maintain core temperatures. Therefore, energy must be reallocated from other biological processes to increase heat production to offset heat loss. Supplying laboratory mice with nesting material may provide sufficient insulation to reduce heat loss and improve both feed conversion and breeding performance. Naïve C57BL/6, BALB/c, and CD-1breeding pairs were provided with bedding alone, or bedding supplemented with either 8g of Enviro-Dri, 8g of Nestlets, for 6 months. Mice provided with either nesting material built more dome-like nests than controls. Nesting material improved feed efficiency per pup weaned as well as pup weaning weight. The breeding index (pups weaned/dam/week) was higher when either nesting material was provided. Thus, the sparing of energy for thermoregulation of mice given additional nesting material may have been responsible for the improved breeding and growth of offspring.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074153
PMCID: PMC3770541  PMID: 24040193
3.  Linking social complexity and vocal complexity: a parid perspective 
The Paridae family (chickadees, tits and titmice) is an interesting avian group in that species vary in important aspects of their social structure and many species have large and complex vocal repertoires. For this reason, parids represent an important set of species for testing the social complexity hypothesis for vocal communication—the notion that as groups increase in social complexity, there is a need for increased vocal complexity. Here, we describe the hypothesis and some of the early evidence that supported the hypothesis. Next, we review literature on social complexity and on vocal complexity in parids, and describe some of the studies that have made explicit tests of the social complexity hypothesis in one parid—Carolina chickadees, Poecile carolinensis. We conclude with a discussion, primarily from a parid perspective, of the benefits and costs of grouping and of physiological factors that might mediate the relationship between social complexity and changes in signalling behaviour.
doi:10.1098/rstb.2011.0222
PMCID: PMC3367703  PMID: 22641826
communication; flock; information; parid; social organization; vocal complexity
4.  Heat or Insulation: Behavioral Titration of Mouse Preference for Warmth or Access to a Nest 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e32799.
In laboratories, mice are housed at 20–24°C, which is below their lower critical temperature (≈30°C). This increased thermal stress has the potential to alter scientific outcomes. Nesting material should allow for improved behavioral thermoregulation and thus alleviate this thermal stress. Nesting behavior should change with temperature and material, and the choice between nesting or thermotaxis (movement in response to temperature) should also depend on the balance of these factors, such that mice titrate nesting material against temperature. Naïve CD-1, BALB/c, and C57BL/6 mice (36 male and 36 female/strain in groups of 3) were housed in a set of 2 connected cages, each maintained at a different temperature using a water bath. One cage in each set was 20°C (Nesting cage; NC) while the other was one of 6 temperatures (Temperature cage; TC: 20, 23, 26, 29, 32, or 35°C). The NC contained one of 6 nesting provisions (0, 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10g), changed daily. Food intake and nest scores were measured in both cages. As the difference in temperature between paired cages increased, feed consumption in NC increased. Nesting provision altered differences in nest scores between the 2 paired temperatures. Nest scores in NC increased with increasing provision. In addition, temperature pairings altered the difference in nest scores with the smallest difference between locations at 26°C and 29°C. Mice transferred material from NC to TC but the likelihood of transfer decreased with increasing provision. Overall, mice of different strains and sexes prefer temperatures between 26–29°C and the shift from thermotaxis to nest building is seen between 6 and 10 g of material. Our results suggest that under normal laboratory temperatures, mice should be provided with no less than 6 grams of nesting material, but up to 10 grams may be needed to alleviate thermal distress under typical temperatures.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032799
PMCID: PMC3316552  PMID: 22479340
5.  The role of testosterone in male downy woodpeckers in winter home range use, mate interactions and female foraging behaviour 
Animal behaviour  2006;71(3):695-707.
Studies of the role of testosterone (T) in birds have typically focused on sexual or aggressive behaviours of males during the breeding period, but males of nonmigratory species may invest in mate and territory long before breeding, and the influence of T in facilitating nonbreeding-season behaviours is poorly understood. We gave free-living male downy woodpeckers, Picoides pubescens, T-implants during the winter to determine whether elevated levels of T increased a male’s ability to exclusively occupy territory-based resources, and whether elevated T strengthened a male’s investment in an existing pair bond relationship. We also explored how a female’s foraging efficiency might be affected by her mate’s behaviour if he had elevated T. We found little difference between control and T-implanted males with regard to home range exclusivity. Surprisingly, male–male display rates were significantly lower in T-implanted males than in controls. Regarding male–female interactions, T-implanted males that experienced high incursion rates from other males maintained more frequent spatial association with their mate, suggesting that T facilitates male behaviours that could restrict the mate’s access to other male birds. Female mates of T-males showed reduced foraging rates, but because male–female aggression was similar between treatment groups, the cause for this reduction is unknown. The results indicate that exogenous T during winter affects a variety of behaviours in male woodpeckers, and proximate influences on pair bond maintenance in winter may be a fruitful avenue for future research.
doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2005.07.012
PMCID: PMC1552107  PMID: 16932805
6.  Fecal corticosterone, body mass, and caching rates of Carolina chickadees (Poecile carolinensis) from disturbed and undisturbed sites 
Hormones and behavior  2006;49(5):634-643.
We tested for hormonal and behavioral differences between Carolina chickadees (Poecile carolinensis) taken from a disturbed (recently logged) forest, an undisturbed forest, or a residential site. We measured fecal corticosterone and body mass levels in the field, and fecal corticosterone, body mass, and caching behavior in an aviary experiment. In the field, birds from the disturbed forest exhibited significantly higher fecal corticosterone levels than birds from either the undisturbed forest or from the residential site. Birds from the disturbed forest also exhibited lower body mass than those from the undisturbed forest but higher body mass than those from the residential site. Our aviary results suggest that these physiological differences between field sites are the result of short-term responses to ecological factors: Neither body mass nor fecal corticosterone levels varied between birds captured at different sites. Aviary sample sizes were sufficient to detect seasonal variation in fecal corticosterone (lowest in summer), body mass (highest in spring), and rate of gain in body mass (highest in winter). Under “closed-economy” aviary conditions (all food available from a feeder in the aviary), there were no site differences in the percent of seeds taken from the feeder that were cached. However, under “open-economy” conditions (food occasionally available ad libitum), significantly fewer seeds were cached by birds from the disturbed forest compared to the undisturbed or residential sites. On average, there was only a two-fold difference in population-levels of fecal corticosterone. This difference is about the same as an increase in fecal corticosterone induced by a two-hour increase in food deprivation, and can not be considered to be an acute stress response to disturbance.
doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2005.12.012
PMCID: PMC1540716  PMID: 16458312
Chickadee; Poecile carolinensis; fecal corticosterone; forestry effects; caching; forest disturbance; stress; energy regulation
7.  Continental variation in relative hippocampal volume in birds: the phylogenetic extent of the effect and the potential role of winter temperatures 
Biology letters  2005;1(3):330-333.
Hippocampal (HC) volume has been hypothesized to increase with an increase in food-hoarding specialization in corvids and parids. Recent studies revealed that (i) the HC/hoarding relationship is significant when a difference in HC volume between Eurasian and North American species is controlled for and (ii) the evolutionary association has been acting on a broader phylogenetic context involving avian families outside the Corvidae and Paridae. However, the phylogenetic extent of the continent effect has not been previously addressed. Using data representing 48 avian species, we performed a phylogenetic analysis to test if continental effects are important in a wider evolutionary spectrum. Our results support the observation that Eurasian species have generally larger HC than North American species if variation in food hoarding, which also varied between continents, was held constant. Surprisingly, the relationship between continental distribution and relative HC volume was significant when we included only non-hoarding families in our analysis, indicating that the extent of the continent effect is much broader than originally described. We investigated the potential role of minimal winter temperatures at the northernmost distribution borders in mediating continent effects. The effect of winter temperatures on HC volume was weak and it did not vary consistently along continents. We suggest that the general continental differences in relative HC size are independent of food hoarding and that its determinants should be sought among other ecological factors and life-history traits.
doi:10.1098/rsbl.2005.0328
PMCID: PMC1523380  PMID: 16878181
Corvidae; food caching; hippocampus; Paridae; phylogeny
8.  Does hippocampal size correlate with the degree of caching specialization? 
A correlation between the degree of specialization for food hoarding and the volume of the hippocampal formation in passerine birds has been accepted for over a decade. The relationship was first demonstrated in family-level comparisons, and subsequently in species comparisons within two families containing a large number of hoarding species, the Corvidae and the Paridae. Recently, this approach has been criticized as invalid and excessively adaptationist. A recent test of the predicted trends with data pooled from previous studies found no evidence for such a correlation in either of these two families. This result has been interpreted as support for the critique. Here we reanalyse the original dataset and also include additional new data on several parid species. Our results show a surprising difference between continents, with North American species possessing significantly smaller hippocampi than Eurasian ones. Controlling for the continent effect makes the hoarding capacity/hippocampal formation correlation clearly significant in both families. We discuss possible reasons for the continent effect.
doi:10.1098/rspb.2004.2912
PMCID: PMC1523289  PMID: 15590591
9.  Continental variation in relative hippocampal volume in birds: the phylogenetic extent of the effect and the potential role of winter temperatures 
Biology Letters  2005;1(3):330-333.
Hippocampal (HC) volume has been hypothesized to increase with an increase in food-hoarding specialization in corvids and parids. Recent studies revealed that (i) the HC/hoarding relationship is significant when a difference in HC volume between Eurasian and North American species is controlled for and (ii) the evolutionary association has been acting on a broader phylogenetic context involving avian families outside the Corvidae and Paridae. However, the phylogenetic extent of the continent effect has not been previously addressed. Using data representing 48 avian species, we performed a phylogenetic analysis to test if continental effects are important in a wider evolutionary spectrum. Our results support the observation that Eurasian species have generally larger HC than North American species if variation in food hoarding, which also varied between continents, was held constant. Surprisingly, the relationship between continental distribution and relative HC volume was significant when we included only non-hoarding families in our analysis, indicating that the extent of the continent effect is much broader than originally described. We investigated the potential role of minimal winter temperatures at the northernmost distribution borders in mediating continent effects. The effect of winter temperatures on HC volume was weak and it did not vary consistently along continents. We suggest that the general continental differences in relative HC size are independent of food hoarding and that its determinants should be sought among other ecological factors and life-history traits.
doi:10.1098/rsbl.2005.0328
PMCID: PMC1523380  PMID: 16878181
Corvidae; food caching; hippocampus; Paridae; phylogeny
10.  Does hippocampal size correlate with the degree of caching specialization? 
A correlation between the degree of specialization for food hoarding and the volume of the hippocampal formation in passerine birds has been accepted for over a decade. The relationship was first demonstrated in family-level comparisons, and subsequently in species comparisons within two families containing a large number of hoarding species, the Corvidae and the Paridae. Recently, this approach has been criticized as invalid and excessively adaptationist. A recent test of the predicted trends with data pooled from previous studies found no evidence for such a correlation in either of these two families. This result has been interpreted as support for the critique. Here we reanalyse the original dataset and also include additional new data on several parid species. Our results show a surprising difference between continents, with North American species possessing significantly smaller hippocampi than Eurasian ones. Controlling for the continent effect makes the hoarding capacity/hippocampal formation correlation clearly significant in both families. We discuss possible reasons for the continent effect.
doi:10.1098/rspb.2004.2912
PMCID: PMC1523289  PMID: 15590591
hippocampus; hippocampal formation; neuroecology; Paridae; Corvidae
11.  Timing of Induction of Osmotically Controlled Genes in Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium, Determined with Quantitative Real-Time Reverse Transcription-PCR 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2005;71(12):8273-8283.
The signals that control the transcription of osmoregulated genes are not understood satisfactorily. The “turgor control model” suggested that the primary osmoregulatory signal in Enterobacteriaceae is turgor loss, which induces the kdp K+ transport operon and activates the Trk K+ permease. The ensuing increase in cytoplasmic K+ concentration was proposed to be the signal that turns on all secondary responses, including the induction of the proU (proline-glycine betaine transport) operon. The “ionic strength model” proposed that the regulatory signal for all osmotically controlled responses is the increase in the cytoplasmic ionic strength or macromolecular crowding after an osmotic upshift. The assumption in the turgor control model that the induction of kdp is a primary response to osmotic shock predicts that this response should precede all secondary responses. Both models predict that the induction of all osmotically activated responses should be independent of the chemical nature of the solute used to impose osmotic stress. We tested these predictions by quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR analysis of the expression of six osmotically regulated genes in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. After shock with 0.3 M NaCl, proU was induced at 4 min, proP and rpoS were induced at 4 to 6 min, kdp was induced at 8 to 9 min, and otsB and ompC were induced at 10 to 12 min. After an equivalent osmotic shock with 0.6 M sucrose, proU was induced with kinetics similar to those seen with NaCl, but induction of kdp was reduced 150-fold in comparison to induction by NaCl. Our results are inconsistent with both the turgor control and the ionic strength control models.
doi:10.1128/AEM.71.12.8273-8283.2005
PMCID: PMC1317391  PMID: 16332813

Results 1-11 (11)