Publisher: Oxford University Press (Total: 369 journals)
[1 followers] Follow
Open Access journal
ISSN (Online) 2051-1434
Published by Oxford University Press [369 journals]
- Conservation at a slow pace: terrestrial gastropods facing fast-changing
Authors: Nicolai A; Ansart A.
Abstract: AbstractThe climate is changing rapidly, and terrestrial ectotherms are expected to be particularly vulnerable to changes in temperature and water regime, but also to an increase in extreme weather events in temperate regions. Physiological responses of terrestrial gastropods to climate change are poorly studied. This is surprising, because they are of biodiversity significance among litter-dwelling species, playing important roles in ecosystem function, with numerous species being listed as endangered and requiring efficient conservation management. Through a summary of our ecophysiological work on snail and slug species, we gained some insights into physiological and behavioural responses to climate change that we can organize into the following four threat categories. (i) Winter temperature and snow cover. Terrestrial gastropods use different strategies to survive sub-zero temperatures in buffered refuges, such as the litter or the soil. Absence of the insulating snow cover exposes species to high variability in temperature. The extent of specific cold tolerance might influence the potential of local extinction, but also of invasion. (ii) Drought and high temperature. Physiological responses involve high-cost processes that protect against heat and dehydration. Some species decrease activity periods, thereby reducing foraging and reproduction time. Related costs and physiological limits are expected to increase mortality. (iii) Extreme events. Although some terrestrial gastropod communities can have a good resilience to fire, storms and flooding, an increase in the frequency of those events might lead to community impoverishment. (iv) Habitat loss and fragmentation. Given that terrestrial gastropods are poorly mobile, landscape alteration generally results in an increased risk of local extinction, but responses are highly variable between species, requiring studies at the population level. There is a great need for studies involving non-invasive methods on the plasticity of physiological and behavioural responses and the ability for local adaptation, considering the spatiotemporally heterogeneous climatic landscape, to allow efficient management of ecosystems and conservation of biodiversity.
- Lingering effects of contraception management on feral mare ( Equus
caballus ) fertility and social behavior
Authors: Nuñez CV; Adelman JS, Carr HA, et al.
Abstract: AbstractDue to the extirpation of their natural predators, feral horse populations have expanded across the United States, necessitating their management. Contraception of females (mares) with porcine zona pellucida (PZP) is a popular option; however, effects to physiology and behavior can be substantial. On Shackleford Banks, North Carolina, USA, treated mares have exhibited cycling during the non-breeding season and demonstrated decreased fidelity to the band stallion, but PZP's long-term effects on mare physiology and behavior remain largely unexplored. After the contraception program was suspended in this population, we examined how prior exposure to varying levels of PZP treatment impacted (1) foaling probability and foaling dates (a proxy for ovulatory cycling) from 2009 to 2014 and (2) mare fidelity to the band stallion and reproductive behavior during 2013 and 2015. Additionally, we evaluated the effects of time since the mares’ last treatment on these factors. Mares receiving any level of prior PZP treatment were less likely to foal than were untreated mares. Among mares that received 1–3 PZP applications, foaling probability increased with time since last treatment before declining, at ~6 years post-treatment. Mares that received 4+ applications did not exhibit a significant increase in foaling probability with time since last treatment. Moreover, previously treated mares continued to conceive later than did untreated mares. Finally, mares previously receiving 4+ treatments changed groups more often than did untreated mares, though reproductive behavior did not differ with contraception history. Our results suggest that although PZP-induced subfertility and its associated behavioral effects can persist after the cessation of treatment, these effects can be ameliorated for some factors with less intense treatment. Careful consideration to the frequency of PZP treatment is important to maintaining more naturally functioning populations; the ability to manage populations adaptively may be compromised if females are kept subfertile for extended periods of time.
- Effects of ambient oxygen and size-selective mortality on growth and
maturation in guppies
Authors: Diaz Pauli B; Kolding J, Jeyakanth G, et al.
Abstract: AbstractGrowth, onset of maturity and investment in reproduction are key traits for understanding variation in life-history strategies. Many environmental factors affect variation in these traits, but for fish, hypoxia and size-dependent mortality have become increasingly important because of human activities, such as increased nutrient enrichment (eutrophication), climate warming and selective fishing. Here, we study experimentally the effect of oxygen availability on maturation and growth in guppies (Poecilia reticulata) from two different selected lines, one subjected to positive and the other negative size-dependent fishing. This is the first study to assess the effects of both reduced ambient oxygen and size-dependent mortality in fish. We show that reduced ambient oxygen led to stunting, early maturation and high reproductive investment. Likewise, lineages that had been exposed to high mortality of larger-sized individuals displayed earlier maturation at smaller size, greater investment in reproduction and faster growth. These life-history changes were particularly evident for males. The widely reported trends towards earlier maturation in wild fish populations are often interpreted as resulting from size-selective fishing. Our results highlight that reduced ambient oxygen, which has received little experimental investigation to date, can lead to similar phenotypic changes. Thus, changes in ambient oxygen levels can be a confounding factor that occurs in parallel with fishing, complicating the causal interpretation of changes in life-history traits. We believe that better disentangling of the effects of these two extrinsic factors, which increasingly affect many freshwater and marine ecosystems, is important for making more informed management decisions.
- A right whale pootree: classification trees of faecal hormones identify
reproductive states in North Atlantic right whales ( Eubalaena glacialis )
Authors: Corkeron P; Rolland RM, Hunt KE, et al.
Abstract: AbstractImmunoassay of hormone metabolites extracted from faecal samples of free-ranging large whales can provide biologically relevant information on reproductive state and stress responses. North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis Müller 1776) are an ideal model for testing the conservation value of faecal metabolites. Almost all North Atlantic right whales are individually identified, most of the population is sighted each year, and systematic survey effort extends back to 1986. North Atlantic right whales number
- Rethinking the approach to viability monitoring in seed genebanks
Authors: Hay FR; Whitehouse KJ.
Abstract: AbstractSeed viability monitoring, usually through a germination test, is a key aspect of genebank management; a low viability result triggers the regeneration of an accession in order to ensure that the genetic diversity of the accession is conserved and available for distribution. However, regular viability monitoring of large collections is costly in terms of seeds, labour and other resources. Genebanks differ in how they conduct their viability monitoring and how they collect, manage and store the data that are generated. In this article, we propose alternatives to the current norm of conducting an initial germination test soon after arrival at the genebank and then testing after regular, set storage intervals, as recommended in the Food and Agriculture Organization's Genebank Standards for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. We use real data from the International Rice Genebank (held at the International Rice Research Institute) to illustrate some of the issues regarding the accuracy and reliability of germination test results, in particular when they are used to predict the longevity of a seed lot in storage and to set viability monitoring intervals. We suggest the use of seed storage experiments on samples of seeds to identify which seed lots from a particular crop season to test first. We also give advice on the use of sequential testing schemes potentially to reduce the number of seeds used for viability testing; the use of tolerance tables to identify unlikely results when samples are subdivided into replicates; and what data to include in a genebank management database to improve the management of seed collections.
- Stress response to handling is short lived but may reflect personalities
in a wild, Critically Endangered tortoise species
Authors: Currylow AT; Louis EE, Crocker DE.
Abstract: AbstractWe investigated the acute stress response associated with animal personalities by measuring plasma glucocorticoids throughout handling and collected ~2 years of movement and behavioural data in a wild, Critically Endangered animal, Astrochelys radiata (radiated tortoise). To determine whether our standard, brief conscientious handling procedures induce a stress response in our target species, we applied a stressor by way of initial animal processing and deployment of telemetry equipment. During surveys and processing, we sampled animals immediately upon detection, again after completing transmitter attachment and processing, and a final time the following day. We then used radiotelemetry to follow a subset of the animals for 22 months while collecting behavioural, climatic and location data. We found that brief and conscientious handling did not illicit consistent changes in plasma concentrations of the stress hormone corticosterone (CORT) but did reveal tremendous individual variation in response. The CORT concentration ranged more than 200-fold after imposing the stressor and returned to near-baseline values by the following day. When we accounted for the wide variation by calculating the degree of each individual's stress response relative to its baseline over its processing time, we discovered two non-overlapping physiological response types; those in which CORT concentrations increased dramatically in response to handling (219 ± 89.8 pg/ml/min) and those in which CORT varied only slightly (5.3 ± 8.9 pg/ml/min). The response types (strong vs. mild) also predicted body condition, home range size, activity, and behavioural tendencies. The degree of the individual's stress response in this species may be one component of correlated physiological and behavioural traits (animal personalities), which have previously been obscured in other chelonian studies by the use of mean values and should be considered in future conservation management applications for chelonian species.
- Obtaining accurate glucose measurements from wild animals under field
conditions: comparing a hand held glucometer with a standard laboratory
technique in grey seals
Authors: Bennett KA; Turner LM, Millward S, et al.
Abstract: AbstractGlucose is an important metabolic fuel and circulating levels are tightly regulated in most mammals, but can drop when body fuel reserves become critically low. Glucose is mobilized rapidly from liver and muscle during stress in response to increased circulating cortisol. Blood glucose levels can thus be of value in conservation as an indicator of nutritional status and may be a useful, rapid assessment marker for acute or chronic stress. However, seals show unusual glucose regulation: circulating levels are high and insulin sensitivity is limited. Accurate blood glucose measurement is therefore vital to enable meaningful health and physiological assessments in captive, wild or rehabilitated seals and to explore its utility as a marker of conservation relevance in these animals. Point-of-care devices are simple, portable, relatively cheap and use less blood compared with traditional sampling approaches, making them useful in conservation-related monitoring. We investigated the accuracy of a hand-held glucometer for ‘instant’ field measurement of blood glucose, compared with blood drawing followed by laboratory testing, in wild grey seals (Halichoerus grypus), a species used as an indicator for Good Environmental Status in European waters. The glucometer showed high precision, but low accuracy, relative to laboratory measurements, and was least accurate at extreme values. It did not provide a reliable alternative to plasma analysis. Poor correlation between methods may be due to suboptimal field conditions, greater and more variable haematocrit, faster erythrocyte settling rate and/or lipaemia in seals. Glucometers must therefore be rigorously tested before use in new species and demographic groups. Sampling, processing and glucose determination methods have major implications for conclusions regarding glucose regulation, and health assessment in seals generally, which is important in species of conservation concern and in development of circulating glucose as a marker of stress or nutritional state for use in management and monitoring.
- Physiological effects of environmentally relevant, multi-day thermal
stress on wild juvenile Atlantic salmon ( Salmo salar )
Authors: Corey E; Linnansaari T, Cunjak RA, et al.
Abstract: AbstractThe frequency of extreme thermal events in temperate freshwater systems is expected to increase alongside global surface temperature. The Miramichi River, located in eastern Canada, is a prominent Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) river where water temperatures can exceed the proposed upper thermal limit for the species (~27°C). Current legislation closes the river to recreational angling when water temperatures exceed 20°C for two consecutive nights. We aimed to examine how natural thermal variation, representative of extreme high thermal events, affected the thermal tolerance and physiology of wild, juvenile Atlantic salmon. We acclimated fish to four thermal cycles, characteristic of real-world thermal conditions while varying daily thermal minima (16°C, 18°C, 20°C or 22°C) and diel thermal fluctuation (e.g. Δ5°C–Δ9°C). In each cycling condition, we assessed the role that thermal minima played on the acute thermal tolerance (critical thermal maximum, (CTMax)), physiological (e.g. heat shock protein 70 (HSP70), ubiquitin) and energetic (e.g. hepatic glycogen, blood glucose and lactate) status of juvenile Atlantic salmon throughout repeated thermal cycles. Exposure to 16–21°C significantly increased CTMax (+0.9°C) compared to a stable acclimation temperature (16°C), as did exposure to diel thermal fluctuations of 18–27°C, 20–27°C and 22–27°C, yet repeated exposure provided no further increases in acute thermal tolerance. In comparison to the reference condition (16–21°C), consecutive days of high temperature cycling with different thermal minima resulted in significant increases in HSP70 and ubiquitin, a significant decrease in liver glycogen, and no significant cumulative effect on either blood glucose or lactate. However, comparison between thermally taxed treatments suggested the diel thermal minima had little influence on the physiological or energetic response of juvenile salmon, despite the variable thermal cycling condition. Our results suggest that relatively cooler night temperatures in the summer months may play a limited role in mitigating physiological stress throughout warm diel cycle events.
- Validation of a portable, waterproof blood pH analyser for elasmobranchs
Authors: Talwar B; Bouyoucos IA, Shipley O, et al.
Abstract: AbstractQuantifying changes in blood chemistry in elasmobranchs can provide insights into the physiological insults caused by anthropogenic stress, and can ultimately inform conservation and management strategies. Current methods for analysing elasmobranch blood chemistry in the field are often costly and logistically challenging. We compared blood pH values measured using a portable, waterproof pH meter (Hanna Instruments HI 99161) with blood pH values measured by an i-STAT system (CG4+ cartridges), which was previously validated for teleost and elasmobranch fishes, to gauge the accuracy of the pH meter in determining whole blood pH for the Cuban dogfish (Squalus cubensis) and lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris). There was a significant linear relationship between values derived via the pH meter and the i-STAT for both species across a wide range of pH values and temperatures (Cuban dogfish: 6.8–7.1 pH 24–30°C; lemon sharks: 7.0–7.45 pH 25–31°C). The relative error in the pH meter's measurements was ~±2.7%. Using this device with appropriate correction factors and consideration of calibration temperatures can result in both a rapid and accurate assessment of whole blood pH, at least for the two elasmobranch species examined here. Additional species should be examined in the future across a wide range of temperatures to determine whether correction factors are universal.
- Down the rabbit hole: how complex do eco-physiological models need to
Authors: Tomlinson S.
- What if you can't sense your enemy… and your enemy is an invasive
Authors: Rummer JL.
- Physiology can contribute to better understanding, management, and
conservation of coral reef fishes
Authors: Illing B; Rummer JL.
Abstract: AbstractCoral reef fishes, like many other marine organisms, are affected by anthropogenic stressors such as fishing and pollution and, owing to climate change, are experiencing increasing water temperatures and ocean acidification. Against the backdrop of these various stressors, a mechanistic understanding of processes governing individual organismal performance is the first step for identifying drivers of coral reef fish population dynamics. In fact, physiological measurements can help to reveal potential cause-and-effect relationships and enable physiologists to advise conservation management by upscaling results from cellular and individual organismal levels to population levels. Here, we highlight studies that include physiological measurements of coral reef fishes and those that give advice for their conservation. A literature search using combined physiological, conservation and coral reef fish key words resulted in ~1900 studies, of which only 99 matched predefined requirements. We observed that, over the last 20 years, the combination of physiological and conservation aspects in studies on coral reef fishes has received increased attention. Most of the selected studies made their physiological observations at the whole organism level and used their findings to give conservation advice on population dynamics, habitat use or the potential effects of climate change. The precision of the recommendations differed greatly and, not surprisingly, was least concrete when studies examined the effects of projected climate change scenarios. Although more and more physiological studies on coral reef fishes include conservation aspects, there is still a lack of concrete advice for conservation managers, with only very few published examples of physiological findings leading to improved management practices. We conclude with a call to action to foster better knowledge exchange between natural scientists and conservation managers to translate physiological findings more effectively in order to obtain evidence-based and adaptive management strategies for the conservation of coral reef fishes.
- Intrinsic and extrinsic influences on standard metabolic rates of three
species of Australian otariid
Authors: Ladds MA; Slip DJ, Harcourt RG.
Abstract: AbstractThe study of marine mammal energetics can shed light on how these animals might adapt to changing environments. Their physiological potential to adapt will be influenced by extrinsic factors, such as temperature, and by intrinsic factors, such as sex and reproduction. We measured the standard metabolic rate (SMR) of males and females of three Australian otariid species (two Australian fur seals, three New Zealand fur seals and seven Australian sea lions). Mean SMR ranged from 0.47 to 1.05 l O2 min−1, which when adjusted for mass was from 5.33 to 7.44 ml O2 min−1 kg−1. We found that Australian sea lion mass-specific SMR (sSMR; in millilitres of oxygen per minute per kilogram) varied little in response to time of year or moult, but was significantly influenced by sex and water temperature. Likewise, sSMR of Australian and New Zealand fur seals was also influenced by sex and water temperature, but also by time of year (pre-moult, moult or post-moult). During the moult, fur seals had significantly higher sSMR than at other times of the year, whereas there was no discernible effect of moult for sea lions. For both groups, females had higher sSMR than males, but sea lions and fur seals showed different responses to changes in water temperature. The sSMR of fur seals increased with increasing water temperature, whereas sSMR of sea lions decreased with increasing water temperature. There were no species differences when comparing animals of the same sex. Our study suggests that fur seals have more flexibility in their physiology than sea lions, perhaps implying that they will be more resilient in a changing environment.
- Conservation physiology and the quest for a ‘good’
Authors: Madliger CL; Franklin CE, Hultine KR, et al.
Abstract: AbstractIt has been proposed that we are now living in a new geological epoch known as the Anthropocene, which is specifically defined by the impacts that humans are having on the Earth's biological diversity and geology. Although the proposal of this term was borne out of an acknowledgement of the negative changes we are imparting on the globe (e.g. climate change, pollution, coastal erosion, species extinctions), there has recently been action amongst a variety of disciplines aimed at achieving a ‘good Anthropocene’ that strives to balance societal needs and the preservation of the natural world. Here, we outline ways that the discipline of conservation physiology can help to delineate a hopeful, progressive and productive path for conservation in the Anthropocene and, specifically, achieve that vision. We focus on four primary ways that conservation physiology can contribute, as follows: (i) building a proactive approach to conservation; (ii) encouraging a pragmatic perspective; (iii) establishing an appreciation for environmental resilience; and (iv) informing and engaging the public and political arenas. As a collection of passionate individuals combining theory, technological advances, public engagement and a dedication to achieving conservation success, conservation physiologists are poised to make meaningful contributions to the productive, motivational and positive way forward that is necessary to curb and reverse negative human impact on the environment.
- Non-invasive endocrine monitoring indicates seasonal variations in gonadal
hormone metabolites in dholes ( Cuon alpinus )
Authors: Khonmee J; Rojanasthien S, Thitaram C, et al.
Abstract: AbstractTo date, there is no information on reproductive endocrinology of dholes (Cuon alpinus). The objectives of the present study were as follows: (i) to characterize longitudinal profiles of gonadal steroids; and (ii) to examine the relationship between gonadal hormones and sexual behaviours in dholes. Three breeding pairs and two bachelor males were included in the study. Among these, four animals (2 males and 2 females; 4 years old) were imported from The Netherlands to Thailand 3 months before the study onset; the remaining individuals (3 males and 1 female; 5–7 years old) were native born. Faecal samples were collected 3–7 days/week for 12 months, extracted and assessed for gonadal hormone metabolites using a validated enzyme immunoassay. Observations of behaviour were conducted in 30 min sessions, 3–5 days/week. For the three breeding males, testosterone was elevated (P
- Body water conservation through selective brain cooling by the carotid
rete: a physiological feature for surviving climate change'
Authors: Strauss W; Hetem RS, Mitchell D, et al.
Abstract: AbstractSome mammals have the ability to lower their hypothalamic temperature below that of carotid arterial blood temperature, a process termed selective brain cooling. Although the requisite anatomical structure that facilitates this physiological process, the carotid rete, is present in members of the Cetartiodactyla, Felidae and Canidae, the carotid rete is particularly well developed in the artiodactyls, e.g. antelopes, cattle, sheep and goats. First described in the domestic cat, the seemingly obvious function initially attributed to selective brain cooling was that of protecting the brain from thermal damage. However, hyperthermia is not a prerequisite for selective brain cooling, and selective brain cooling can be exhibited at all times of the day, even when carotid arterial blood temperature is relatively low. More recently, it has been shown that selective brain cooling functions primarily as a water-conservation mechanism, allowing artiodactyls to save more than half of their daily water requirements. Here, we argue that the evolutionary success of the artiodactyls may, in part, be attributed to the evolution of the carotid rete and the resulting ability to conserve body water during past environmental conditions, and we suggest that this group of mammals may therefore have a selective advantage in the hotter and drier conditions associated with current anthropogenic climate change. A better understanding of how selective brain cooling provides physiological plasticity to mammals in changing environments will improve our ability to predict their responses and to implement appropriate conservation measures.
- Energy metabolism in mobile, wild-sampled sharks inferred by plasma lipids
Authors: Gallagher AJ; Skubel RA, Pethybridge HR, et al.
Abstract: AbstractEvaluating how predators metabolize energy is increasingly useful for conservation physiology, as it can provide information on their current nutritional condition. However, obtaining metabolic information from mobile marine predators is inherently challenging owing to their relative rarity, cryptic nature and often wide-ranging underwater movements. Here, we investigate aspects of energy metabolism in four free-ranging shark species (n = 281; blacktip, bull, nurse, and tiger) by measuring three metabolic parameters [plasma triglycerides (TAG), free fatty acids (FFA) and cholesterol (CHOL)] via non-lethal biopsy sampling. Plasma TAG, FFA and total CHOL concentrations (in millimoles per litre) varied inter-specifically and with season, year, and shark length varied within a species. The TAG were highest in the plasma of less active species (nurse and tiger sharks), whereas FFA were highest among species with relatively high energetic demands (blacktip and bull sharks), and CHOL concentrations were highest in bull sharks. Although temporal patterns in all metabolites were varied among species, there appeared to be peaks in the spring and summer, with ratios of TAG/CHOL (a proxy for condition) in all species displaying a notable peak in summer. These results provide baseline information of energy metabolism in large sharks and are an important step in understanding how the metabolic parameters can be assessed through non-lethal sampling in the future. In particular, this study emphasizes the importance of accounting for intra-specific and temporal variability in sampling designs seeking to monitor the nutritional condition and metabolic responses of shark populations.
- The effect of temperature on development and behaviour of relict leopard
Authors: Goldstein JA; Hoff K, Hillyard SD.
Abstract: AbstractRelict leopard frog (Rana [Lithobates] onca) tadpoles were obtained shortly after hatching at Gosner stage 25 and raised in aquaria maintained at 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35°C. Development was arrested in the 15°C group, and survivorship declined to 64% after 191 days. However, 80% of the surviving larvae remained alive after the temperature was increased to 25°C. Of these, 96% reached metamorphosis. Survivorship of the 20, 25 and 30°C acclimation groups was 82, 94 and 66%, respectively, whereas none survived at 35°C. Time to metamorphosis was significantly shorter for the 25°C group (67 ± 1 days), followed by the 30°C (98 ± 2 days) and 20°C (264 ± 7 days) groups. A linear 66 cm thermal gradient was used to identify temperature ranges selected by tadpoles in the different acclimation groups. Five 10°C gradients (10–20, 15–25, 20–30, 25–35 and 30–40°C) were used, and time spent in the cooler, middle and warmer thirds of the gradient was compared for 10 individuals from each acclimation group. In the coolest gradient, tadpoles from all acclimation groups selected the warmer third (>17°C) of the gradient. In the warmer gradients, tadpoles from the 20 and 25°C acclimation groups selected temperatures
- An evaluation of the use of pentosidine as a biomarker for ageing turtles
Authors: Iverson JB; Stahl RS, Furcolow C, et al.
Abstract: AbstractConcentrations of the biomarker pentosidine have been shown to be useful measures of age for a number of avian and mammalian species. However, no study has examined its usefulness as an age marker in a long-lived ectotherm despite the fact that such a marker could prove useful in understanding age distributions of populations subject to conservation programmes. Therefore, we evaluated pentosidine concentrations in the interdigital webbing of 117 female yellow mud turtles (Kinosternon flavescens) at a 35 year study site in western Nebraska where nearly all turtles are of known age. Pentosidine concentrations were extraordinarily low and positively correlated with age in this turtle, but concentrations were too variable to permit precise estimates of age for turtles of unknown age. These results may reflect the remarkable physiological adaptations of this turtle to low temperatures and oxygen deprivation in a highly seasonal environment requiring prolonged hibernation. Whether pentosidine concentrations in other ectotherms occupying less seasonal environments would be more highly correlated with age remains to be determined. However, our results suggest that patterns of accumulation of pentosidine in ectotherms may be fundamentally different from those in endotherms.
- Environmental and physiological correlates of the severity of clinical
signs of snake fungal disease in a population of pigmy rattlesnakes,
Authors: McCoy CM; Lind CM, Farrell TM.
Abstract: AbstractIn the past decade, snake fungal disease (SFD) has been identified as an emerging threat to snake populations throughout the eastern USA. Snake fungal disease is caused by the fungus Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola. Little is known regarding the environmental or physiological variables that affect host vulnerability and O. ophiodiicola virulence in wild snake populations. Understanding the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that correlate with infection severity is a key first step in understanding host–pathogen dynamics. Host vulnerability may vary seasonally as a result of thermal conditions or energetic trade-offs, and pathogen growth rates or dispersal may be tied to seasonal trends in climate. To determine whether season, environmental temperature or energetic trade-offs associated with life-history stage influence an individual's susceptibility to infection, we monitored the severity of clinical signs of SFD, surface air temperature, reproductive status, body condition and serum complement activity (plasma bactericidal ability) in free-ranging pigmy rattlesnakes, Sistrurus miliarius, over the course of 18 months. Seasonal increases in the severity of clinical signs of SFD were correlated negatively with monthly air surface temperature and the mean body condition of the population. Bactericidal ability varied seasonally, but pigmy rattlesnakes suffering from active SFD infections did not exhibit deficits in innate immune function. Infected snakes were in significantly lower body condition when compared with the general population, but seasonal patterns in the mean body condition of the population were not driven by seasonal patterns of infection severity. Our results highlight the potential importance of the thermal environment and energetic status in determining infection severity and outcomes and the need for managers and researchers to consider seasonality of symptom presentation when the goal is to identify the prevalence or incidence of SFD in populations.
- Expression of genes involved in brain GABAergic neurotransmission in
three-spined stickleback exposed to near-future CO 2
Authors: Lai F; Fagernes CE, Jutfelt F, et al.
- Reflections and progress in conservation physiology
Authors: Cooke SJ; Hultine KR, Rummer JL, et al.
- Corticosterone, inflammation, immune status and telomere length in
frigatebird nestlings facing a severe herpesvirus infection
Authors: Sebastiano M; Eens M, Angelier F, et al.
Abstract: AbstractHerpesvirus outbreaks are common in natural animal populations, but little is known about factors that favour the infection and its consequences for the organism. In this study, we examined the pathophysiological consequences of a disease probably attributable to herpesvirus infection for several markers of immune function, corticosterone, telomere length and inflammation. In addition, we assessed whether any markers used in this study might be associated with the occurrence of visible clinical signs of the disease and its impact on short-term survival perspectives. To address our questions, in spring 2015, we collected blood samples from nestlings of the magnificent frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) that were free of any clinical signs or showed visible signs of the disease. We found that the plasma concentration of haptoglobin was strongly associated with the infection status and could predict probabilities of survival. We also found that nestlings with clinical signs had lower baseline corticosterone concentrations and similar telomere length compared with healthy nestlings, whereas we did not find any association of the infection status with innate immune defenses or with nitric oxide concentration. Overall, our results suggest that the plasma concentration of haptoglobin might be a valuable tool to assess survival probabilities of frigatebird nestlings facing a herpesvirus outbreak.
- Unusual aerobic performance at high temperatures in juvenile Chinook
salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
Authors: Poletto JB; Cocherell DE, Baird SE, et al.
Abstract: AbstractUnderstanding how the current warming trends affect fish populations is crucial for effective conservation and management. To help define suitable thermal habitat for juvenile Chinook salmon, the thermal performance of juvenile Chinook salmon acclimated to either 15 or 19°C was tested across a range of environmentally relevant acute temperature changes (from 12 to 26°C). Swim tunnel respirometers were used to measure routine oxygen uptake as a measure of routine metabolic rate (RMR) and oxygen uptake when swimming maximally as a measure of maximal metabolic rate (MMR) at each test temperature. We estimated absolute aerobic scope (AAS = MMR − RMR), the capacity to supply oxygen beyond routine needs, as well as factorial aerobic scope (FAS = MMR/RMR). All fish swam at a test temperature of 23°C regardless of acclimation temperature, but some mortality occurred at 25°C during MMR measurements. Overall, RMR and MMR increased with acute warming, but aerobic capacity was unaffected by test temperatures up to 23°C in both acclimation groups. The mean AAS for fish acclimated and tested at 15°C (7.06 ± 1.76 mg O2 kg−1 h−1) was similar to that measured for fish acclimated and tested at 19°C (8.80 ± 1.42 mg O2 kg−1 h−1). Over the entire acute test temperature range, while MMR and AAS were similar for the two acclimation groups, RMR was significantly lower and FAS consequently higher at the lower test temperatures for the fish acclimated at 19°C. Thus, this stock of juvenile Chinook salmon shows an impressive aerobic capacity when acutely warmed to temperatures close to their upper thermal tolerance limit, regardless of the acclimation temperature. These results are compared with those for other salmonids, and the implications of our findings for informing management actions are discussed.