• Patterns in island endemic forest-dependent bird research: the Caribbean as a case-study

      Devenish-Nelson, Eleanor S.; orcid: 0000-0002-9029-4772; email: ellie.devenish@ed.ac.uk; Weidemann, Douglas; Townsend, Jason; Nelson, Howard P. (Springer Netherlands, 2019-05-04)
      Abstract: Unequal patterns in research effort can result in inaccurate assessments of species extinction risk or ineffective management. A group of notable conservation concern are tropical island endemic birds, many of which are also forest-dependent, which increases their vulnerability to extinction. Yet, island bird species have received limited research attention compared to their continental congeners, despite this taxon being globally regarded as well-studied. We used the insular Caribbean, a globally important endemism hotspot with high rates of deforestation, to explore research bias of island and regional endemic forest-dependent birds. A review of the published literature (n = 992) found no significant increase in the number of studies over the search period. Research effort was significantly higher among species with threatened status, long generation time, wide habitat breadth and low to intermediate elevational distributions. Among family groups, the Psittacidae received the highest research effort, while the Cuculidae were the most underrepresented family (30-fold higher and six-fold less than expected, respectively). We found geographic biases in effort, with Jamaica having six-fold less and Puerto Rico eight times more research than expected for their level of endemism. These patterns likely reflect individual interests and limited capacity and funding, typical of Small Island Developing States. With over 50% of species in this review having declining population trends, we recommend prioritizing research that emphasises conservation- and management-relevant data across underrepresented families and islands, by fostering greater collaboration between researchers, practitioners and the existing local amateur ornithological community.
    • Patterns of behaviour, group structure and reproductive status predict levels of glucocorticoid metabolites in zoo-housed ring-tailed lemurs, Lemur catta.

      Smith, Tessa E.; McCusker, Cara; Stevens, Jeroen M. G.; Elwood, Robert W.; University of Chester; Queens University of Belfast; Centre for Research and Conservation, Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp, Belguim (Karger Publishing, 2016-01-30)
      In ring-tailed lemurs, Lemur catta, the factors modulating hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activity differ between wild and semi-free-ranging populations. Here we assess factors modulating HPA activity in ring-tailed lemurs housed in a third environment: the zoo. First we validate an enzyme immunoassay to quantify levels of glucocorticoid (GC) metabolites in the faeces of L. catta. We determine the nature of the female-female dominance hierarchies within each group by computing David’s scores and examining these in relation to faecal GC (fGC). Relationships between female age and fGC are assessed to evaluate potential age-related confounds. The associations between fGC, numbers of males in a group and reproductive status are explored. Finally, we investigate the value of 7 behaviours in predicting levels of fGC. The study revealed stable linear dominance hierarchies in females within each group. The number of males in a social group together with reproductive status, but not age, influenced fGC. The 7 behavioural variables accounted for 68% of the variance in fGC. The amounts of time an animal spent locomoting and in the inside enclosure were both negative predictors of fGC. The study highlights the flexibility and adaptability of the HPA system in ring-tailed lemurs.
    • Pavement pleasures

      Burek, Cynthia V.; Deacon, Joanna; University College Chester (English Nature, 1998-06)
      This journal article discusses limestone pavements in north Wales.
    • A pelagic thresher shark (Alopias pelagicus) gives birth at a cleaning station in the Philippines

      Oliver, Simon P.; Bicskos Kaszo, Attila E.; University of Chester; The Thresher Shark Research and Conservation Project (Springer, 2014-12-23)
      This article discusses photographic evidence captured on April 4, 2013, as the first record of a thresher shark giving birth.
    • Pemphigus is associated with KIR3DL2 expression levels and provides evidence that KIR3DL2 may bind HLA-A3 and A11 in vivo.

      Augusto, Danillo G.; O'Connor, Geraldine M.; Lobo-Alves, Sara C.; Bass, Sara; Martin, Maureen P.; Carrington, Mary; McVicar, Daniel W.; Petzl-Erler, Maria L.; Departamento de Genética, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, PR, Brazil; Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, Boston, MA, USA; Leidos Biomedical Research, Cancer and Inflammation Program, Laboratory for Experimental Immunology, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, Frederick, MD, USA; Cancer and Inflammation Program, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD, USA. (Wiley, 2015-05-06)
      Although HLA-A3 and A11 have been reported to be ligands for KIR3DL2, evidence for any in vivo relevance of this interaction is still missing. To explore the functional importance of KIR3DL2 allelic variation, we analyzed the autoimmune disease pemphigus foliaceus, previously associated (lower risk) with activating KIR genes. KIR3DL2*001 was increased in patients (odds ratio (OR) = 2.04; p = 0.007). The risk was higher for the presence of both KIR3DL2*001 and HLA-A3 or A11 (OR = 3.76, p = 0.013), providing the first evidence that HLA-A3 and A11 may interact with KIR3DL2 in vivo. The nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphism 1190T (rs3745902) was associated with protection (OR = 0.52, p = 0.018). This SNP results in a threonine-to-methionine substitution. Individuals who have methionine in this position exhibit a lower percentage of KIR3DL2-positive natural killer (NK) cells and also lower intensity of KIR3DL2 on expressing natural killer cells; additionally, we show that the expression of KIR3DL2 is independent of other killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors. Pemphigus foliaceus is a very unique complex disease strongly associated with immune-related genes. It is the only autoimmune disease known to be endemic, showing a strong correlation with environmental factors. Our data demonstrate that this relatively unknown autoimmune disease may facilitate understanding of the molecular mechanisms of KIR3DL2 ligand recognition.
    • Peptide mass fingerprinting of preserved collagen in archaeological fish bones for the identification of flatfish in European waters

      Dierickx, Katrien; Presslee, Samantha; Hagan, Richard; Oueslati, Tarek; Harland, Jennifer; Hendy, Jessica; Orton, David; Alexander, Michelle; Harvey, Virginia L.; University of York; University of Lille (The Royal Society, 2022-07-27)
      Bones of Pleuronectiformes (flatfish) are often not identified to species due to the lack of diagnostic features on bones that allow adequate distinction between taxa. This hinders in-depth understanding of archaeological fish assemblages and particularly flatfish fisheries throughout history. This is especially true for the North Sea region, where several commercially significant species have been exploited for centuries, yet their archaeological remains continue to be understudied. In this research, 8 peptide biomarkers for 18 different species of Pleuronectiformes from European waters are described using MALDI-TOF MS and LC-MS/MS data obtained from modern reference specimens. Bone samples (n=202) from three archaeological sites in the UK and France dating to the medieval period (c. 7th–16th century CE) were analysed using ZooMS. Of the 201 that produced good quality spectra, 196 were identified as flatfish species, revealing a switch in targeted species through time and indicating that ZooMS offers a more reliable and informative approach for species identification than osteological methods alone. We recommend this approach for future studies of archaeological flatfish remains as the precise species uncovered from a site can tell much about the origin of the fish, where people fished and whether they traded between regions.
    • Peptide-Dependent Recognition of HLA-B*57:01 by KIR3DS1

      O'Connor, Geraldine M.; Vivian, Julian P.; Gostick, Emma; Pymm, Phillip; Lafont, Bernard A.; Price, David A.; Rossjohn, Jamie; Brooks, Andrew G.; McVicar, Daniel W.; Cancer and Inflammation Program, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, Maryland, USA. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Biomedical Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Advanced Molecular Imaging, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia. Institute of Infection and Immunity, Cardiff University School of Medicine, Heath Park, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. Non-Human Primate Immunogenetics and Cellular Immunology Unit, Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. Institute of Infection and Immunity, Cardiff University School of Medicine, Heath Park, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom Human Immunology Section, Vaccine Research Center, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Biomedical Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Advanced Molecular Imaging, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia Institute of Infection and Immunity, Cardiff University School of Medicine, Heath Park, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia. (American Society for Microbiology, 2015-04-21)
      Killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) play an important role in the activation of natural killer (NK) cells, which in turn contribute to the effective immune control of many viral infections. In the context of HIV infection, the closely related KIR3DL1 and KIR3DS1 molecules, in particular, have been associated with disease outcome. Inhibitory signals via KIR3DL1 are disrupted by downregulation of HLA class I ligands on the infected cell surface and can also be impacted by changes in the presented peptide repertoire. In contrast, the activatory ligands for KIR3DS1 remain obscure. We used a structure-driven approach to define the characteristics of HLA class I-restricted peptides that interact with KIR3DL1 and KIR3DS1. In the case of HLAB*57:01, we used this knowledge to identify bona fide HIV-derived peptide epitopes with similar properties. Two such peptides facilitated productive interactions between HLA-B*57:01 and KIR3DS1. These data reveal the presence of KIR3DS1 ligands within the HIV-specific peptide repertoire presented by a protective HLA class I allotype, thereby enhancing our mechanistic understanding of the processes that enable NK cells to impact disease outcome.
    • Personality dimensions and their behavioral correlates in wild virunga mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei)

      Eckardt, Winnie; Steklis, Dieter H.; Steklis, Netzin G.; Fletcher, Alison W.; Stoinski, Tara S.; Weiss, Alexander; University of Chester & The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International ; University of Arizona ; University of Arizona ; University of Chester ; Zoo Atlanta & The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International ; University of Edinburgh & Scottish Primate Research Group. (Americal Psychological Association, 2014-12-22)
      Studies of animal personality improve our understanding of individual variation in measures of life-history and fitness, such as health and reproductive success. Using a 54 trait personality questionnaire developed for studying great apes and other nonhuman primates, we obtained ratings on 116 wild mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) monitored by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda. There were eight raters who each had more than 1.5 years of working experience with the subjects. Principal component analyses identified four personality dimensions with high inter-rater reliabilities --- Dominance, Openness, Sociability, and Proto-Agreeableness --- that reflected personality features unique to gorillas and personality features shared with other hominoids. We next examined the associations of these dimensions with independently collected behavioral measures derived from long-term records. Predicted correlations were found between the personality dimensions and corresponding behaviors. For example, Dominance, Openness, Sociability, and Proto-Agreeableness were related to gorilla dominance strength, time spent playing, rates of approaches and rates of interventions in intra-group conflicts, respectively. These findings enrich the comparative-evolutionary study of personality and provide insights into how species differences in personality are related to ecology, social systems, and life history.
    • Personality in the cockroach Diploptera punctata: Evidence for stability across developmental stages despite age effects on boldness

      Stanley, Christina R.; Mettke-Hofmann, Claudia; Preziosi, Richard F.; University of Chester; University of Manchester; Liverpool John Moores University; Manchester Metropolitan University (PLOS, 2017-05-10)
      Despite a recent surge in the popularity of animal personality studies and their wide-ranging associations with various aspects of behavioural ecology, our understanding of the development of personality over ontogeny remains poorly understood. Stability over time is a central tenet of personality; ecological pressures experienced by an individual at different life stages may, however, vary considerably, which may have a significant effect on behavioural traits. Invertebrates often go through numerous discrete developmental stages and therefore provide a useful model for such research. Here we test for both differential consistency and age effects upon behavioural traits in the gregarious cockroach Diploptera punctata by testing the same behavioural traits in both juveniles and adults. In our sample, we find consistency in boldness, exploration and sociality within adults whilst only boldness was consistent in juveniles. Both boldness and exploration measures, representative of risk-taking behaviour, show significant consistency across discrete juvenile and adult stages. Age effects are, however, apparent in our data; juveniles are significantly bolder than adults, most likely due to differences in the ecological requirements of these life stages. Size also affects risk-taking behaviour since smaller adults are both bolder and more highly explorative. Whilst a behavioural syndrome linking boldness and exploration is evident in nymphs, this disappears by the adult stage, where links between other behavioural traits become apparent. Our results therefore indicate that differential consistency in personality can be maintained across life stages despite age effects on its magnitude, with links between some personality traits changing over ontogeny, demonstrating plasticity in behavioural syndromes.
    • 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.
    • Phylogenetic placement and life history trait imputation for Grenada Dove Leptotila wellsi

      Peters, Catherine; Geary, Matthew; Nelson, Howard; Rusk, Bonnie; von Hardenberg, Achaz; Muir, Anna P.; University of Chester; University of Cambridge; Grenada Dove Conservation Programme (Cambridge University Press, 2022-08-05)
      Phylogenetic analyses can be used to resolve taxonomic uncertainties and reconstruct a species’ evolutionary history. This can be combined with ecological data to predict missing life history traits which are important for creation of conservation management strategies. We investigated the evolutionary and life history of the Critically Endangered Grenada Dove Leptotila wellsi by estimating its phylogenetic placement and using this new phylogeny to test the accuracy of phylogenetic comparative methods for estimating both documented and unknown life history traits. We extracted DNA from two Grenada Dove samples and obtained sequences from three mitochondrial markers: Cytochrome oxidase I (COI), NADH dehydrogenase 2 (ND2) and Cytochrome b (Cyt b); and one nuclear marker: β-Fibrinogen intron 7 (β-FIB). We present the first genetic data obtained for the Grenada Dove. Our data identifies the Grey-Chested Dove Leptotila cassinii as the species which shares both a most recent common ancestor, with an estimated divergence of approximately 2.53 million years ago, and the smallest genetic distance (p=0.0303) with the Grenada dove. Life history trait values for the Grenada Dove predicted from our analyses using phylogenetic imputation are: clutch size=2 (±0.09) eggs, clutches per year=1.4 (±0.81), incubation time=14.2 (±0.75) days, hatching weight=3.8 (±1.05) grams and single imputation: fledging age (genus median) =15.5 days, longevity (genus median) =8.6 years. This study contributes novel information regarding evolutionary history and life history characteristics to inform long-term conservation actions for a Critically Endangered species.
    • Physiological stress in the Eurasian badger (Meles meles): Effects of host, disease and environment

      George, Shelia C.; Smith, Tessa E.; Mac Cana, Pól S. S.; Coleman, Robert C.; Montgomery, William I.; Queens University of Belfast, UK; University of Chester, UK (Elsevier, 2014-03-04)
      A method for monitoring hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) responses of the Eurasian badger (Meles meles) to stressors was validated by measuring cortisol excretion in serum and faeces. Serum and faecal samples were collected under anaesthesia from live-captured, wild badgers and fresh faeces was collected from latrines at 15 social groups in County Down, Northern Ireland. Variation in levels of cortisol in wild badgers was investigated relative to disease status, season, age, sex, body mass, body condition and reproductive status and environmental factors that might influence stress. Faecal cortisol levels were significantly higher in animals testing culture-positive for Mycobacterium bovis. Prolonged elevation of cortisol can suppress immune function, which may have implications for disease transmission. There was a strong seasonal pattern in both serum cortisol, peaking in spring and faecal cortisol, peaking in summer. Cortisol levels were also higher in adults with poor body condition and low body mass. Faecal samples collected from latrines in grassland groups had significantly higher cortisol than those collected from woodland groups, possibly as a result of greater exposure to sources of environmental stress. This study is the first to investigate factors influencing physiological stress in badgers and indicates that serological and faecal excretion are valid indices of the HPA response to a range of stressors.
    • A Pilot Study to Evaluate Haemostatic Function, following Shock Wave Lithotripsy (SWL) for the Treatment of Solitary Kidney Stones

      Hughes, Stephen F.; Thomas-Wright, Samantha J.; Banwell, Joseph; Williams, Rachel; Moyes, Alyson J.; Mushtaq, Sohail; Abdulmajed, Mohamed; Shergill, Iqbal; University of Chester; BCUHB Wrexham Maelor Hospital (Public Library of Science, 2015-05-04)
      Purpose: The number of patients undergoing shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) in the UK for solitary unilateral kidney stones is increasing annually. The development of postoperative complications such as haematuria and sepsis following SWL is likely to increase. Comparing a range of biological markers with the aim of monitoring or predicting postoperative complications following SWL has not been extensively researched. The main purpose of this pilot-study was to test the hypothesis that SWL results in changes to haemostatic function. Subsequently, this pilot-study would form a sound basis to undertake future investigations involving larger cohorts. Methods: Twelve patients undergoing SWL for solitary unilateral kidney stones were recruited. From patients (8 male and 4 females) aged between 31–72 years (median—43 years), venous blood samples were collected pre-operatively (baseline), at 30, 120 and 240 minutes postoperatively. Specific haemostatic biomarkers [platelet counts, prothrombin time (PT), activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), fibrinogen, D-dimer, von Willebrand Factor (vWF), sE-selectin and plasma viscosity (PV)] were measured. Results: Platelet counts and fibrinogen concentration were significantly decreased following SWL (p = 0.027 and p = 0.014 respectively), while D-dimer and vWF levels significantly increased following SWL (p = 0.019 and p = 0.001 respectively). PT, APTT, sE-selectin and PV parameters were not significantly changed following SWL (p>0.05). Conclusions: Changes to specific biomarkers such as plasma fibrinogen and vWF suggest that these represent a more clinically relevant assessment of the extent of haemostatic involvement following SWL. Analysis of such markers, in the future, may potentially provide valuable data on “normal” response after lithotripsy, and could be expanded to identify or predict those patients at risk of coagulopathy following SWL. The validation and reliability will be assessed through the assessment of larger cohorts.
    • Platelet-derived growth factor stimulates osteoprotegerin production in osteoblastic cells

      McCarthy, Helen S.; Williams, John H. H.; Davie, Michael W. J.; Marshall, Michael J.; Charles Salt Centre, Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust in Oswestry / University of Chester ; University of Chester ; Charles Salt Centre, Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust in Oswestry ; Charles Salt Centre, Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust in Oswestry (Wiley, 2008-11-20)
      This article discusses how osteoprotegerin (OPG) production by osteoblastic cells was stimulated by platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) in two human osteosarcoma cell lines (MG63, Saos-2), a mouse pre-osteoblastic cell line (MC3T3-E1) and human bone marrow stromal cells (hMSC) by 152%, 197%, 113% and 45% respectively over 24 h. OPG was measured in the cell culture medium by immunoassay. PDGF isoforms AA, BB and AB show similar stimulation of OPG production. Message for OPG was also increased similarly to the increased secretion into the culture medium. Using specific inhibitors of cell signalling the authors demonstrate that PDGF acts through the PDGF receptor, PKC, PI3K, ERK and P38 and not via NF-kB or JNK. The importance of PDGF in fracture healing suggests a role for OPG production in countering bone resorption during the early phase of this process.
    • 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.
    • Predicting the potential distribution of the Endangered huemul deer Hippocamelus bisulcus in North Patagonia

      Quevedo, Paloma; von Hardenberg, Achaz; Pastore, Hernan; Alvarez, Jose; Corti, Paulo; Ernst-Moritz-Arndt Universität, Greifswald, Germany; University of Chester; Administración de Parques Nacionales, Bariloche, Argentina;Corporación Nacional Forestal, Chile, Universidad Austral de Chile (2016-02-05)
      Habitat loss is one of the main threats to wildlife, particularly large mammals. Estimating the potential distribution of threatened species to guide surveys and conservation is crucial, primarily because such species tend to exist in small fragmented populations. The Endangered huemul deer Hippocamelus bisulcus is endemic to the southern Andes of Chile and Argentina. Although the species occurs in the Valdivian Ecoregion, a hotspot for biodiversity, we have no information on its occupancy and potential distribution in this region. We built and compared species distribution models for huemul using the maximum entropy approach, using 258 presence records and sets of bioclimatic and geographical variables as predictors, with the objective of assessing the potential distribution of the species in the Valdivian Ecoregion. Annual temperature range and summer precipitation were the predictive variables with the greatest influence in the best-fitting model. Approximately 12,360 km2 of the study area was identified as suitable habitat for the huemul, of which 30% is included in the national protected area systems of Chile and Argentina. The map of potential distribution produced by our model will facilitate prioritization of future survey efforts in other remote and unexplored areas in which huemul have not been recorded since the 1980s, but where there is a high probability of their occurrence.
    • 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.
    • Preliminary study of heat shock protein 70 gene expression and serum levels in newly diagnosed type 1 and type 2 diabetes

      Hunter-Lavin, Claire; Stanaway, Stephen; Bowen-Jones, David; Jones, I. R.; Loenard, M.; Clooney, K.; Williams, John H. H.; University College Chester (Hunter-Lavin) (Williams) (American Diabetes Association, 2004)
    • Preparation of Primary Rat Hepatocyte Spheroids Utilizing the Liquid-Overlay Technique.

      Kyffin, Jonathan A; Cox, Christopher R; Leedale, Joseph; Colley, Helen E; Murdoch, Craig; Mistry, Pratibha; Webb, Steven D; Sharma, Parveen (2019-09)
      Herein, we describe a protocol for the preparation and analysis of primary isolated rat hepatocytes in a 3D cell culture format described as spheroids. The hepatocyte cells spontaneously self-aggregate into spheroids without the need for synthetic extracellular matrices or hydrogels. Primary rat hepatocytes (PRHs) are a readily available source of primary differentiated liver cells and therefore conserve many of the required liver-specific functional markers, and elicit the natural in vivo phenotype when compared with common hepatic cells lines. We describe the liquid-overlay technique which provides an ultra-low attachment surface on which PRHs can be cultured as spheroids. © 2019 The Authors. Basic Protocol 1: Preparation of agarose-coated plates Basic Protocol 2: Primary rat hepatocyte isolation procedure Basic Protocol 3: Primary rat hepatocyte spheroid culture Basic Protocol 4: Immunofluorescent analysis of PRH spheroids. [Abstract copyright: © 2019 The Authors.]
    • Principal Component Analysis as a Novel Method for the Assessment of the Enclosure Use Patterns of Captive Livingstone’s Fruit Bats (Pteropus livingstonii)

      Smith, Tessa E; Stanley, Christina R; Hosie, Charlotte A; Edwards, Morgan J; Wormell, Dominic; Price, Eluned; University of Chester; Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
      The Spread of Participation Index (SPI) is a standard tool for assessing the suitability of enclosure design by measuring how captive animals access space. This metric, however, lacks the precision to quantify individual-level space utilization or to determine how the distribution of resources and physical features within an enclosure might influence space use. Here we demonstrate how Principal Component Analysis (PCA) can be employed to address these aims and to therefore facilitate both individual-level welfare assessment and the fine-scale evaluation of enclosure design across a range of captive settings. We illustrate the application of this methodology by investigating enclosure use patterns of the Livingstone’s fruit bat (Pteropus livingstonii) population housed at Jersey Zoo. Focal sampling was used to estimate the time each of 44 individuals in the first data collection period and 50 individuals in the second period spent in each of 42 theoretical enclosure sections. PCA was then applied to reduce the 42 sections to five and seven ecologically relevant “enclosure dimensions” for the first and second data collection periods respectively. Individuals were then assigned to the dimension that most accurately represented their enclosure use patterns based on their highest dimensional eigenvalue. This assigned dimension is hereafter referred to as the individual’s Enclosure Use Style (EUS). Sex was found to be significantly correlated with an individual’s EUS in the second period, whilst age was found to significantly influence individual fidelity to assigned EUS. When assessing the effect of resource location on group-level preference for certain sections, the presence of feeders and proximity to public viewing areas in period one, and feeders and heaters in period two, were positively correlated with space use. Finally, individual EUS remained consistent between both data collection periods. We interpret these results for this species in the context of its observed behavioural ecology in the wild and evaluate the degree to which the current captive enclosure for this population allows for optimal individual welfare through the facilitation of spatial choice. We then explore how these methods could be applied to safeguard captive animal welfare across a range of other scenarios.