• Pre- and peri-operative clinical information, physiological observations and outcome measures following flexible ureterorenoscopy (FURS), for the treatment of kidney stones. A single-centre observational clinical pilot-study in 51 patients

      Hughes, Stephen Fôn; orcid: 0000-0001-6558-9037; email: Stephen.hughes6@wales.nhs.uk; Moyes, Alyson Jayne; Jones, Kevin; Bell, Christopher; Duckett, Abigail; Moussa, Ahmed; Shergill, Iqbal (BioMed Central, 2022-07-14)
      Abstract: Background: Kidney stone disease contributes to a significant proportion of routine urological practice and remains a common cause of worldwide morbidity. The main aim of this clinical-pilot study was to investigate the effect of flexible ureterorenoscopy (FURS) on pre- and peri-operative clinical information, physiological observations and outcome measures. Methods: Included were 51 patients (31 males, 20 females), who underwent elective FURS, for the treatment of kidney stones. Pre-operative and peri-operative clinical information, and post-operative physiological observations and outcome measures were collected using a standard case report form. Pre-operative clinical information included age, gender, BMI, previous history of stone formation and hypertension. Pre-operative stone information included the size (mm), Hounsfield units (HU), laterality and intra-renal anatomical location. Peri-operative surgical details included surgical time in minutes; Laser use; Duration and energy of laser; and post-operative stenting. The physiological outcomes measured included systolic and diastolic blood pressure (mmHg), Likert pain score, temperature, heart rate (bpm) and respiration rate (bpm). Following initial descriptive analysis, a series of Pearson’s correlation coefficient tests were performed to investigate the relationship between surgical factors other variable factors. Results: A series of significant, positive correlations were observed between; age and surgical time (p = 0.014, r = 0.373); stone size and Hounsfield unit (p = 0.029, r = 0.406); surgical time and duration of laser (p < 0.001, r = 0.702); surgical time and BMI (p = 0.035, r = 0.322); baseline heart rate and Hounsfield unit (p = 0.026, r = − 0.414); base line heart rate and BMI (p = 0.030, r = 0.307).; heart rate at 120-min post FURS and age (p = 0.038, r = − 0.308); baseline pain score and BMI (p = 0.010, r = 0.361); baseline respiration rate and BMI (p = 0.037, r = 0.296); respiration rate at 240-min post FURS and BMI (p = 0.038, r = 0.329); respiration rate at 120 min post FURS and age (p = 0.022, r = − 0.330). Four patients developed post-operative complications (3—UTIs with urinary retention, 1–urosepsis). Conclusions: We report that following FURS there is an association between various physiological, clinical and surgical parameters. Although these correlations are weak, they warrant further investigation as these may be linked with untoward complications, such as infection that can occur following FURS. This data, however, will need to be validated and reproduced in larger multi-centre studies.
    • Long term analysis of social structure: evidence of age-based consistent associations in male Alpine ibex

      Brambilla, Alice; von Hardenberg, Achaz; Canedoli, Claudia; Brivio, Francesca; Sueur, Cédric; Stanley, Christina R.; University of Zurich; University of Chester; University of Milano Bicocca; University of Sassari; University de Strasbourg; Institut Universitaire de France (Wiley, 2022-06-28)
      Despite its recognized importance for understanding the evolution of animal sociality as well as for conservation, long term analysis of social networks of animal populations is still relatively uncommon. We investigated social network dynamics in males of a gregarious mountain ungulate (Alpine ibex, Capra ibex) over ten years focusing on groups, sub-groups and individuals, exploring the dynamics of sociality over different scales. Despite the social structure changing between seasons, the Alpine ibex population was highly cohesive: fission–fusion dynamics lead almost every male in the population to associate with each other male at least once. Nevertheless, we found that male Alpine ibex showed preferential associations that were maintained across seasons and years. Age seemed to be the most important factor driving preferential associations while other characteristics, such as social status, appeared less crucial. We also found that centrality measures were influenced by age and were also related to individual physical condition. The multi-scale and long-term frame of our study helped us show that ecological constrains, such as resource availability, may play a role in shaping associations in a gregarious species, but they cannot solely explain sociality and preferential association that are likely also to be driven by life-history linked physiological and social needs. Our results highlight the importance of long-term studies based on individually recognizable subjects to help us build on our understanding of the evolution of animal sociality.
    • Anthropogenic influences on habitat use by African Houbaras Chlamydotis undulata on Lanzarote, Canary Islands

      Geary, Matthew; Cooper, Joseph R.; Collar, Nigel J.; University of Chester; BirdLife International (Elsevier, 2022-06-27)
      African Houbara Chlamydotis undulata is threatened in North Africa by unsustainable hunting and massive overuse of captive-bred birds to replace wild losses. A small population on the Canary Islands is protected from these threats, but the archipelago is economically dependent on tourism which has led to extensive land-use change, particularly close to the coasts. We investigated the drivers of houbara distribution and abundance in and around the large semi-desert El Jable region of northern Lanzarote in order to identify potential measures to conserve this important population. All houbaras seen during point counts in the centre of 30 tetrads (2 km ×2 km) were recorded, along with their location. We used negative binomial regression to evaluate the effects of land use and human activity on the abundance of birds at tetrad scale. At finer scale we used logistic regression to assess the effect of land use on the distribution of displaying males. We recorded 196 houbara sightings on our surveys, although only 10 males were observed displaying. Houbara abundance had a quadratic relationship with the proportion of huerta (agricultural gardens) in a tetrad. The distribution of male displays was positively related to the proportion of long-abandoned farmland within a 100 m radius of their display site. African Houbaras favour the vicinity of small-scale agriculture and abandoned farmland, but avoid areas with higher levels of human land-use. Reduction of extensive land-use change and disturbance in El Jable are key conservation measures.
    • Social roles influence cortisol levels in captive Livingstone's fruit bats (Pteropus livingstonii)

      Edwards, Morgan J.; Stanley, Christina R.; Hosie, Charlotte A.; Richdon, Sarah; Price, Eluned; Wormell, Dominic; Smith, Tessa E.; University of Chester; Bristol Zoological Society; Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (Elsevier, 2022-06-27)
      A critical component of conserving and housing species ex situ is an explicit scientific understanding of the physiological underpinnings of their welfare. Cortisol has been repeatedly linked to stress, and therefore used as an indicator of welfare for many species. In order to measure cortisol in the Livingstone's fruit bat (Pteropus livingstonii; a critically endangered keystone species) without disturbing the captive population, we have developed and validated a non-invasive, novel hormone extraction procedure and faecal glucocorticoid assay. A total of 92 faecal samples, 73 from the P. livingstonii breeding colony at Jersey Zoo, Channel Islands and 19 samples from P. livingstonii housed at Bristol Zoological Gardens, UK, have been collected and analyzed. Mixed-effect modelling of the influence of physiological state variables on cortisol concentration revealed that lactating females had higher cortisol levels than non-lactating females, indicating that our assay is measuring biologically relevant hormone concentrations. Males and older bats also had higher cortisol than non-lactating females and younger individuals. Further analysis applied social network methodology to compare the cortisol levels of bats with different social roles. We found that individuals that linked social groups possessed higher than average cortisol levels and conversely, individuals with high-quality, positive relationships had lower cortisol levels. These results demonstrate, for the first time in a bat species, social mediation of stress hormones. Lastly, the frequency of vocalisation was found to positively correlate with cortisol concentration in males, suggesting that this behaviour may be used by animal management as a visual indicator of a bat's hormonal status. Hence, this research has provided unique insights and empirical scientific knowledge regarding the relationship between the physiology and social behaviour of P. livingstonii, therefore allowing for recommendations to be made to optimise bat welfare at the individual level.
    • Alpine ibex, Capra ibex, Linnaeus 1758

      Brambillla, Alice; Bassano, Bruno; Biebach, Iris; Bollmann, Kurt; Keller, Lukas; Toïgo, Carole; von Hardenberg, Achaz; University of Zurich; Gran Paradiso National Park; Swiss Federal Research Institute; Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage; University of Chester (Springer, 2022-05-26)
      In this chapter we review the current status of knowledge about Alpine ibex Capra ibex. We cover taxonomy, systematics, distribution, habitat, genetics, life history, behaviour, parasites and disease, population ecology and conservation. We conclude examining the future challenges for research and management of this species.
    • Extrinsic and intrinsic factors affecting the activity budget of alpine marmots ( Marmota marmota )

      Ferrari, Caterina; orcid: 0000-0002-6316-9706; email: caterina.ferrari@unito.it; email: caterinaww@gmail.com; Pasquaretta, Cristian; orcid: 0000-0001-8308-9968; Caprio, Enrico; orcid: 0000-0002-5997-5959; Ranghetti, Luigi; Bogliani, Giuseppe; orcid: 0000-0001-9066-6540; Rolando, Antonio; orcid: 0000-0002-3432-1780; Bertolino, Sandro; orcid: 0000-0002-1063-8281; Bassano, Bruno; von Hardenberg, Achaz; orcid: 0000-0002-9899-1687 (Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2022-03-15)
      Abstract: Extrinsic and intrinsic factors may influence the activity budget of wild animals, resulting in a variation in the time spent in different activities among populations or individuals of the same species. In this study, we examined how extrinsic and intrinsic factors affect the behaviour of the alpine marmot (Marmota marmota), a hibernating social rodent inhabiting high-elevation prairies in the European Alps. We collected behavioural observations during scan sampling sessions on marked individuals at two study sites with different environmental characteristics. We used Bayesian hierarchical multinomial regression models to analyse the influence of both intrinsic (sex and age-dominance status) and extrinsic (environmental and climatic variables) factors on the above-ground activity budget. Marmots spent most of their time above ground foraging, and were more likely to forage when it was cloudy. Extrinsic factors such as the site, period of the season (June, July–August, and August–September), and time of the day were all related to the probability of engaging in vigilance behaviour, which reaches its peak in early morning and late afternoon and during July, the second period included in the study. Social behaviours, such as affiliative and agonistic behaviours, were associated mostly with sex and age-dominance status, and yearlings were the more affiliative individuals compared to other status. Overall, our results suggest that in alpine marmots, intrinsic factors mostly regulate agonistic and affiliative behaviours, while extrinsic factors, with the unexpected exception of temperature, affect the probabilities of engaging in all types of behavioural categories.
    • Medieval fish remains on the Newport ship identified by ZooMS collagen peptide mass fingerprinting

      Buckley, Michael; Harvey, Virginia L.; Pettifer, David; Russ, Hannah; Wouters, Wim; Van Neer, Wim; University of Manchester; University of Birmingham; University of Wales Trinity Saint David; Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (Springer, 2022-02-11)
      Fish represent a key economic, social and ecological group of species that humans have exploited for tens of thousands of years. However, as many fish stocks are going into decline and with little known about the anthropogenic impacts on the health of the marine ecosystem pre-Industrial Revolution, understanding historical and archaeological exploitation of fish species is key to accurately modelling these changes. Here, we explore the potential of collagen peptide mass fingerprinting (also known as Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry, or ZooMS) for identifying fish remains from the Medieval (fifteenth century) Newport ship wreck (Wales, UK), and in doing so we establish a set of biomarkers we consider useful in discriminating between European fish taxa through the inclusion of over 50 reference taxa. The archaeological results identified nine distinct taxonomic groups, dominated by ling (> 40%), and a substantial amount of cod (> 20%) and hake (~ 20%). The vast majority of samples (> 70%) were identified to species level, and the inability to identify the remaining taxonomic groups with confidence using ZooMS was due to the fact that the reference collection, despite being relatively large in comparison to those presented in mammalian studies, reflects only a small proportion of fish biodiversity from this region. Although the results clearly demonstrate the potential for ZooMS as a means of fish bone identification, the sheer number of different fish species that potentially make up ichthyoarchaeological assemblages leads to obvious requirements for the analysis on much greater numbers of modern reference specimens, or the acquisition of collagen sequences.
    • Preliminary investigation of the effects of a concert on the behavior of zoo animals

      Harley, Jessica J.; Rowden, Lewis J.; Clifforde, Lisa M.; Power, Aisling; Stanley, Christina; University of Chester; Knowsley Safari Park, ZSL; Tayto Park (Wiley, 2022-02-09)
      To increase visitor footfall and engagement, zoos may host public events which may extend outside of typical opening hours. With plans to hold a 2-day concert at Tayto Park, Ireland, this study aimed to identify the behavioral response to the music event of a selected group of species in the zoo. Twenty-two species were observed across three Phases of the event (pre-, during and post-event). Specific behaviors of interest were categorized as active, resting, asleep, abnormal, and out of sight, with repeated observations being made at each enclosure during each Phase. Alongside these behavioral data, Sound Pressure Levels (SPLs) were concurrently recorded at the observation locations in terms of both dB(A) and dB(C). The median dB(C) levels during the event were found to be significantly higher (mdn = 64.5dB) when compared with both pre- (mdn = 60.7dB) and post-event Phases (mdn = 59.4dB), whilst dB(A) levels were only significantly higher during the event (51.7dB) when compared with the pre-event Phase (mdn = 49.8dB). We found some species-specific behavioral changes (mainly associated with active and resting behaviors) correlated with increased SPLs and/or event itself. However, the behavioral responses varied between species and there were numerous species which did not respond with any change in behavior to the increased SPLs or the event itself. This variation in response across species reinforces the need for monitoring of behavioral changes as well as consideration of their natural behavioral ecology when implementing appropriate mitigation strategies. Further research should be encouraged to provide evidence-based assessment of how music events may affect animal welfare and behavior and to test the efficacy of mitigation strategies that are implemented to safeguard animal welfare.
    • Marginal habitats provide unexpected survival benefits to the Alpine marmot

      Ferrari, Caterina; Zanet, Stefania; Rolando, Antonio; Bertolino, Sandro; Bassano, Bruno; von Hardenberg, Achaz; University of Turin; Alpine Wildlife Research Centre, Gran Paradiso National Park; University of Chester (Wiley, 2022-01-06)
      Age-specific survival trajectories can vary significantly among wild populations. Identifying the environmental conditions associated with such variability is of primary importance to understand the dynamics of free-ranging populations. In this study, we investigated survival variations among alpine marmot (Marmota marmota) families living in areas with opposite environmental characteristics: the typical habitat of the species (alpine meadow) and a marginal area bordering the forest. We used data collected during an 11-year study in the Gran Paradiso National Park (Italy) and performed a Bayesian survival trajectory analysis on marked individuals. Furthermore, we investigated, at a territorial level, the relationships among demographic parameters and habitat variables by using a path analysis approach. Contrary to our expectations, for most of the marmot’s lifespan, survival rate was higher in the marginal site closer to the forest and with lower visibility than in the alpine meadow site. Path analysis indicated that the number of families living close to each other negatively affected the stability of the dominant couple, which in turn affected both juvenile survival and reproduction. Given the lower number of neighbouring families which inhabited the marginal site and the potentially different predation pressure by the most effective predator in the area (Aquila chrysaetos), our results suggest that species adapted to live in open habitats may benefit from living in a marginal habitat. This study highlights the importance of habitats bordering the forest in the conservation of alpine marmots.
    • Regucalcin ameliorates doxorubicin-induced cytotoxicity in Cos-7 kidney cells and translocates from the nucleus to the mitochondria.

      Mohammed, Noor A; Hakeem, Israa J; Hodges, Nikolas; Michelangeli, Francesco; orcid: 0000-0002-4878-046X (2022-01-01)
      Doxorubicin (DOX) is a potent anticancer drug, which can have unwanted side-effects such as cardiac and kidney toxicity. A detailed investigation was undertaken of the acute cytotoxic mechanisms of DOX on kidney cells, using Cos-7 cells as kidney cell model. Cos-7 cells were exposed to DOX for a period of 24 h over a range of concentrations, and the LC50 was determined to be 7 µM. Further investigations showed that cell death was mainly via apoptosis involving Ca2+ and caspase 9, in addition to autophagy. Regucalcin (RGN), a cytoprotective protein found mainly in liver and kidney tissues, was overexpressed in Cos-7 cells and shown to protect against DOX-induced cell death. Subcellular localization studies in Cos-7 cells showed RGN to be strongly correlated with the nucleus. However, upon treatment with DOX for 4 h, which induced membrane blebbing in some cells, the localization appeared to be correlated more with the mitochondria in these cells. It is yet to be determined whether this translocation is part of the cytoprotective mechanism or a consequence of chemically induced cell stress.
    • Human-controlled reproductive experience may contribute to incestuous behavior observed in reintroduced semi-feral stallions (Equus caballus)

      Stanley, Christina; Górecka-Bruzda, Alexandra; Jaworska, Joanna; Siemieniuch, Marta; Jaworski, Zbigniew; Wocławek-Potocka, Izabela; Lansade, Lea; University of Chester; Polish Academy of Sciences; University of Warmia and Mazury; Centre INRAE Val-de-Loire (Elsevier, 2021-12-17)
      Equine reproductive behavior is affected by many factors, some remaining poorly understood. This study tested the hypothesis that a period of captivity during the juvenile period and human-controlled reproduction may potentially be involved in the disruption of the development of incestuous mating avoidance behavior in sanctuary-reintroduced male Konik polski horses. Between 1986 and 2000, cases of incestuous behavior in harem stallions born and reared until weaning in the sanctuary were studied. Eight males lived in the sanctuary’s feral herd for the rest of their lives (the non-captive group; nC). They gained their own harem of mares without human intervention (no human-controlled reproductive activity, nHC). Another five stallions were removed as weanlings, reared in captivity and then reintroduced as adults (captive, C). Three of these C stallions were used as in-hand breeding stallions, one as a “teaser” (human-controlled reproductive activity, HC) and one was not used for reproduction in captivity (nHC). Reproductive records for 46 mares, daughters of all 13 harem stallions, were scrutinized and cases of incestuous breeding were recorded by interrogation of foal parentage records. C stallions failed to expel more daughters than nC stallions (33% vs. 18%, P = 0.045), and mated with significantly more of them (28% vs. 11%, P = 0.025). Interestingly, HC stallions expelled fewer (60%) and successfully mated with more (33%) daughters that nHC stallions (84% expelled, P = 0.013, and 10% successful mating with daughters, P = 0.010). All HC stallions bred incestuously at least once. We propose that human intervention during a critical period of development of social and reproductive behavior in young stallions, by enforced separation from their natal herd and in-hand breeding, may contribute to their later aberrant behavior and disruption of inbreeding avoidance mechanisms in these stallions. The previous occurrence of human-controlled breeding may be one of the factors promoting incestuous behavior of stallions in natural conditions. The uninterrupted presence of stallions in their harems and herd member recognition may also play important roles in inbreeding avoidance in horses.
    • New haplotypes found in stranded long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) in the eastern North Atlantic and adjacent waters

      Ball, Rachel J.; Kitchiner, Ashleigh; Davison, Nicholas J.; Berrow, Simon; McKeown, Niall J.; IJsseldijk, Lonneke L.; Geary, Matthew; McDowall, Ian; Muir, Anna P.; University of Chester; University of Glasgow; Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme; Irish Whale and Dolphin Group; Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology; Aberystwyth University; Utrecht University (Wiley, 2021-12-17)
      Long-finned pilot whale (Globicephala melas) mitochondrial (mtDNA) genetic diversity is considered low, especially in the North Atlantic, where only six haplotypes have been recorded using a 345bp portion of the control region. Previous studies have been based on a small number of samples and have not included samples from Ireland or the Netherlands. We utilized mtDNA control region sequencing of individuals stranded around Ireland, Scotland, and the Netherlands between 1995-2019 (n=180) to assess regional diversity. Following alignment of 631bp, nine haplotypes were identified, of which five were newly described (haplotype diversity (h)=0.511). Pairwise tests revealed significant differentiation between the Irish and Scottish samples. Potential confounding factors are discussed but, given the dangers of failing to recognize population structure this needs to be investigated further using nuclear markers and individual-based approaches before population isolation is assumed. The analyzed samples included six mass stranding events. One of the mass strandings reported two haplotypes, confirming mixing of matrilines within a North Atlantic stranding for the first time. This study shows that stranding sample databases are a useful tool for assessment of genetic diversity and provides new insights into genetic diversity of long-finned pilot whale haplotypes in the eastern North Atlantic and adjacent waters.
    • Recommendations for Transdisciplinary Professional Competencies and Ethics for Animal-Assisted Therapies and Interventions

      Trevathan-Minnis, Melissa; email: drtrevathanminnis@gmail.com; Johnson, Amy; orcid: 0000-0003-3536-9193; email: dramyjohnsonlpc@gmail.com; Howie, Ann R.; email: humananimalsolutions@comcast.net (MDPI, 2021-12-02)
      AAI is a transdisciplinary field that has grown exponentially in recent decades. This growth has not always been synergistic across fields, creating a need for more consistent language and standards, a call for which many professionals in the field have made. Under the umbrella of human−animal interactions (HAI) is animal-assisted interventions (AAIs), which have a more goal-directed intention with animals who have been assessed for therapeutic, educational, or vocational work. The current article offers a brief history and efficacy of HAI, describes the limitations and gaps within the field and recommends a new set of competencies and guidelines that seek to create some of the needed common language and standards for AAI work to address these limitations.
    • Behavioural Indicators of Intra- and Inter-Specific Competition: Sheep Co-Grazing with Guanaco in the Patagonian Steppe

      Fernandez, Tomas; Lancaster, Alex; Moraga, Claudio A.; Radic-Schilling, Sergio; von Hardenberg, Achaz; Corti, Paulo; Universidad Austral de Chile; University of Chester; Fundacion CEQUA; Universidad de Magallanes (MDPI, 2021-11-22)
      In extensive livestock production, high densities may inhibit regulation processes, main- taining high levels of intraspecific competition over time. During competition, individuals typically modify their behaviours, particularly feeding and bite rates, which can therefore be used as indicators of competition. Over eight consecutive seasons, we investigated if variation in herd density, food availability, and the presence of a potential competitor, the guanaco (Lama guanicoe), was related with behavioural changes in domestic sheep in Chilean Patagonia. Focal sampling, instantaneous scan sampling, measures of bite and movement rates were used to quantify behavioural changes in domestic sheep. We found that food availability increased time spent feeding, while herd density was associated with an increase in vigilant behaviour and a decrease in bite rate, but only when food availability was low. Guanaco presence appeared to have no impact on sheep behaviour. Our results suggest that the observed behavioural changes in domestic sheep are more likely due to intraspecific competition rather than interspecific competition. Consideration of intraspecific competition where guanaco and sheep co-graze on pastures could allow management strategies to focus on herd density, according to rangeland carrying capacity.
    • Heterospecific Fear and Avoidance Behaviour in Domestic Horses (Equus caballus)

      Stanley, Christina; Wiśniewska, Anna; Janczarek, Iwona; Wilk, Izabela; Tkaczyk, Ewelina; Mierzicka, Martyna; Górecka‐Bruzda, Aleksandra; University of Chester; University of Life Sciences in Lublin; Polish Academy of Sciences (MDPI, 2021-10-28)
      Ridden horses have been reported to be fearful of cows. We tested whether cows could provoke behavioural and cardiac fear responses in horses, and whether these responses differ in magnitude to those shown to other potential dangers. Twenty horses were exposed to cow, a mobile object or no object. The time spent at different distances from the stimulus was measured. In a separate test, heart rate (HR), root mean square of successive differences between heartbeats (RMSSD) and the horses’ perceived fear were assessed at various distances from the stimuli. The horses avoided the area nearest to all stimuli. During hand‐leading, the cow elicited the highest HR and lowest RMSSD. Led horses’ responses to the cow and box were rated as more fearful as the distance to the stimulus decreased. Mares had a higher HR than geldings across all tests. HR positively correlated with the fearfulness rating at the furthest distance from the cow and box, and RMSSD negatively correlated with this rating in cow and control conditions. Our results show that these horses’ avoidance response to cows was similar or higher to that shown towards a novel moving object, demonstrating that potentially, both neophobia and heterospecific communication play a role in this reaction.
    • Furred and feathered friends: How attached are zookeepers to the animals in their care?

      Melfi, Vicky; Skyner, Lindsay; Birke, Lynda; Ward, Samantha J; Shaw, Wendy S; Hosey, Geoff (2021-10-18)
      Keeper-animal relationships (KARs) appear to be important in zoos, since they can enhance the well-being of both the animals and the keepers, can make animal husbandry easier, but conversely might risk inappropriate habituation of animals and possible risks to the safety of keepers. It is, therefore, important to know more about the variables involved in relationship formation. Here we use a modified version of the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale (LAPS) to measure the strength of KARs between keepers and animals in their care, both in the zoo and in the home. LAPS questionnaires were completed by 187 keepers in 19 different collections across three countries. LAPS scores for attachment to zoo animals (ZA) were significantly lower than for pet animals (PA). There was no significant difference in ZA scores between different taxa, but there were significant taxon differences between PA scores. There were significant differences in both ZA and PA scores between different collections. Female respondents scored more highly than males for both ZA and PA. Multiple regression revealed that location, gender, and time spent with animals were significant predictors for ZA, while only gender and taxon were significant predictors for PA. It was concluded that PA scores were comparable with those for the general public, and reflected strong attachment of keepers to their pets, while ZA scores, although also reflecting attachment, were influenced by differences in institutional culture. [Abstract copyright: © 2021 Wiley Periodicals LLC.]
    • Phylogenetic analyses of ray-finned fishes (Actinopterygii) using collagen type I protein sequences

      Harvey, Virginia L.; Keating, Joseph N.; Buckley, Michael; University of Manchester; University of Bristol (The Royal Society, 2021-08-11)
      Ray-finned fishes (Actinopterygii) are the largest and most diverse group of vertebrates, comprising over half of all living vertebrate species. Phylogenetic relationships between ray-finned fishes have historically pivoted on the study of morphology, which has notoriously failed to resolve higher order relationships, such as within the percomorphs. More recently, comprehensive genomic analyses have provided further resolution of actinopterygian phylogeny, including higher order relationships. Such analyses are rightfully regarded as the ‘gold standard’ for phylogenetics. However, DNA retrieval requires modern or well-preserved tissue and is less likely to be preserved in archaeological or fossil specimens. By contrast, some proteins, such as collagen, are phylogenetically informative and can survive into deep time. Here, we test the utility of collagen type I amino acid sequences for phylogenetic estimation of ray-finned fishes. We estimate topology using Bayesian approaches and compare the congruence of our estimated trees with published genomic phylogenies. Furthermore, we apply a Bayesian molecular clock approach and compare estimated divergence dates with previously published genomic clock analyses. Our collagen-derived trees exhibit 77% of node positions as congruent with recent genomic-derived trees, with the majority of discrepancies occurring in higher order node positions, almost exclusively within the Percomorpha. Our molecular clock trees present divergence times that are fairly comparable with genomic-based phylogenetic analyses. We estimate the mean node age of Actinopteri at ∼293 million years (Ma), the base of Teleostei at ∼211 Ma and the radiation of percomorphs beginning at ∼141 Ma (∼350 Ma, ∼250–283 Ma and ∼120–133 Ma in genomic trees, respectively). Finally, we show that the average rate of collagen (I) sequence evolution is 0.9 amino acid substitutions for every million years of divergence, with the α3 (I) sequence evolving the fastest, followed by the α2 (I) chain. This is the quickest rate known for any vertebrate group. We demonstrate that phylogenetic analyses using collagen type I amino acid sequences generate tangible signals for actinopterygians that are highly congruent with recent genomic-level studies. However, there is limited congruence within percomorphs, perhaps due to clade-specific functional constraints acting upon collagen sequences. Our results provide important insights for future phylogenetic analyses incorporating extinct actinopterygian species via collagen (I) sequencing.
    • Non-territorial GPS-tagged golden eagles Aquila chrysaetos at two Scottish wind farms: avoidance influenced by preferred habitat distribution, wind speed and blade motion status

      Fielding, Alan H.; Anderson, David; Benn, Stuart; Dennis, Roy; Geary, Matthew; Weston, Ewan; Whitfield, Philip; Natural Research Ltd; Forestry and Land Scotland; RSPB Scotland; Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation; University of Chester (Public Library of Science, 2021-08-05)
      Wind farms can have two broad potential adverse effects on birds via antagonistic processes: displacement from the vicinity of turbines (avoidance), or death through collision with rotating turbine blades. These effects may not be mutually exclusive. Using detailed data from 99 turbines at two wind farms in central Scotland and thousands of GPS-telemetry data from dispersing golden eagles, we tested three hypotheses. Before-and-after-operation analyses supported the hypothesis of avoidance: displacement was reduced at turbine locations in more preferred habitat and with more preferred habitat nearby. After-operation analyses (i.e. from the period when turbines were operational) showed that at higher wind speeds and in highly preferred habitat eagles were less wary of turbines with motionless blades: rejecting our second hypothesis. Our third hypothesis was supported, since at higher wind speeds eagles flew closer to operational turbines; especially – once more – turbines in more preferred habitat. After operation, eagles effectively abandoned inner turbine locations, and flight line records close to rotor blades were rare. While our study indicated that whole-wind farm functional habitat loss through avoidance was the substantial adverse impact, we make recommendations on future wind farm design to minimise collision risk further. These largely entail developers avoiding outer turbine locations which are in and surrounded by swathes of preferred habitat. Our study illustrates the insights which detailed case studies of large raptors at wind farms can bring and emphasises that the balance between avoidance and collision can have several influences.
    • Zooarchaeology through the lens of collagen fingerprinting at Denisova Cave

      Brown, Samantha; Wang, Naihui; Oertle, Annette; Kozlikin, Maxim B.; Shunkov, Michael V.; Derevianko, Anatoly P.; Comeskey, Daniel; Jope-Street, Blair; Harvey, Virginia L.; Chowdhury, Manasij Pal; et al. (Nature Research, 2021-07-29)
      Denisova Cave, a Pleistocene site in the Altai Mountains of Russian Siberia, has yielded significant fossil and lithic evidence for the Pleistocene in Northern Asia. Abundant animal and human bones have been discovered at the site, however, these tend to be highly fragmented, necessitating new approaches to identifying important hominin and faunal fossils. Here we report the results for 8253 bone fragments using ZooMS. Through the integration of this new ZooMS-based data with the previously published macroscopically-identified fauna we aim to create a holistic picture of the zooarchaeological record of the site. We identify trends associated with climate variability throughout the Middle and Upper Pleistocene as well as patterns explaining the process of bone fragmentation. Where morphological analysis of bones from the site have identified a high proportion of carnivore bones (30.2%), we find that these account for only 7.6% of the ZooMS assemblage, with large mammals between 3 and 5 more abundant overall. Our analysis suggests a cyclical pattern in fragmentation of bones which sees initial fragmentation by hominins using percussive tools and secondary carnivore action, such as gnawing and digestion, likely furthering the initial human-induced fragmentation.
    • Sex and age-specific survival and life expectancy in a free ranging population of Indri indri (Gmelin, 1788).

      Rolle, Francesca; Torti, Valeria; Valente, Daria; De Gregorio, Chiara; Giacoma, Cristina; von Hardenberg, Achaz; University of Turin; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2021-07-22)
      The critically endangered indri (Indri indri) is the largest extant lemur species and its population size is projected to decline over the next three generations due to habitat loss, hunting and climate change. Accurate information on the demographic parameters driving the population dynamics of indri is urgently needed to help decision-making regarding the conservation of this iconic species. We monitored and followed the life histories of 68 individually recognizable indris in 10 family groups in the Maromizaha New Protected Area (Madagascar) for 12 years. We estimated age and sex-specific survival trajectories using a Bayesian hierarchical survival model and found that the survival curves for male and female indris show a similar pattern, consistent with what found typically in primates; i.e., a high infant mortality rate which declines with age in the juvenile phase and increases again for adults. Also, life expectancies at 2 years of age (e2), were found to be similar between the sexes (e2 females = 7.8 years; e2 males = 7.5 years). We suggest that the lack of strong differences in the survival patterns for male and female indris are related to the strictly monogamous mating system and the lack of sexual dimorphism in this species. Our study provides, for the first time, robust estimates for demographic parameters of indris and one of the very few datasets on survival trajectories available for primates.