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A new species of lowland karst dwelling Cnemaspis Strauch 1887 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from northwestern Peninsular Malaysia

A new species of lowland karst dwelling Cnemaspis Strauch 1887, C. grismeri sp. nov. is described from the southeastern base of the Banjaran Bintang in northern Peninsular Malaysia. It is differentiated from its congeners by a unique combination of characters including size, coloration and scalation. Cnemapis grismeri sp. nov. is most closely related to C. mcguirei, an upland species endemic to the Banjaran Bintang. This phylogeographic pattern is also seen in the upland and lowland Banjaran Bintang species of Cyrtodactylus bintangtinggi and C. bintangrendah, respectively (Grismer et al. 2012). The discovery of yet another endemic gekkonid in the poorly explored karst regions of Peninsular Malaysia underscores
the necessity for concentrated collecting efforts in these unique landscapes.

Seidel, S. A., Comer, C. E., Conway, W. C., Deyoung, R. W., Hardin, J. B. and Calkins, G. E. (2013), Influence of translocations on eastern wild turkey population genetics in Texas. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 77: 1221–1231. doi: 10.1002/jwmg.575
Between 1979 and 2006, over 7,000 eastern wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) from 16 states were translocated to east Texas in an attempt to restore a stable, huntable population. Although current populations are stable in some areas and a spring male-only hunting season was opened in 1995, turkey density in the region remains low and large areas of apparently suitable habitat are not occupied. The long-term effects of the extensive translocations and current levels of connectivity among various populations are unknown. We used microsatellite DNA analysis to assess the influence of translocations on current genetic structure and gene flow in eastern wild turkeys. The influence of translocations was clearly evident and reflected historical contributions from the Midwest and southeastern United States. The east Texas population consisted of 3 distinct genetic clusters. Despite a lack of clear geographic barriers and nearly contiguous forest cover in much of the east Texas landscape, regional gene flow among clusters appeared to be limited. Diversity in the regional population remains high, but we recommend that regulations reflect the current population structure and that long-term efforts should be made to increase connectivity among wild turkeys in the region.

Christopher F. Clements
Public interest in the extinction of a species may lead to an increase in donations to a large conservation charity
Biodiversity and Conservation July 2013

The extinction of a species is an event that often captures the public’s imagination. Indeed, declaring a species as extinct is typically though of as a way of raising awareness of the impacts humanity is having on the global biosphere. However, thus far there is little evidence to suggest whether declaring a species as extinct leads to increased public concern, and whether this concern may in turn lead to support to slow future biodiversity loss. To assess this, I look to see whether there is any increase in the number of donations made to a large conservation charity after five recent, well-publicised extinction events that have generated public interest. I find that peaks in public interest in a species that has been reported as extinct may correspond to an increase in the number of donations made, but that other conservation related events may also affect month–month variation in the number of pledges made.

Vinagre, C., Narciso, L., Cabral, H. N., Costa, M. J. and Rosa, R. (2013), Thermal sensitivity of native and invasive seabreams. Marine Ecology. doi: 10.1111/maec.12080
This study compared the mortality and metabolic response of the Senegal seabream, Diplodus bellottii, an African species recently reported in Southern Europe and the white seabream Diplodus sargus, a native species, across a range of temperatures. The temperatures tested were 18, 26, 28 and 30 °C. Mortality was zero at 18 °C and very low at all other temperatures for both species, with the exception of D. bellottii, which experienced 32% mortality at 30 °C. Metabolic rates increased steadily with increasing temperatures, with a steep increase at 30 °C for D. bellottii. Thermal sensitivity ranged between 2 and 3 for both species and for all thermal intervals, with the exception of the thermal sensitivity between 28 and 30 °C for D. bellottii, which was 7. It was concluded that D. bellottii is under thermal stress at 30 °C. Diplodus bellottii may have expanded its distribution northwards due to an increase in sea surface temperatures. However, further warming may result in habitat loss for the juveniles, since Southern European estuarine systems will reach temperatures that may lead to lower fitness in juveniles of this species.

Benazzi S, Nguyen HN, Kullmer O, Hublin J-J (2013) Unravelling the Functional Biomechanics of Dental Features and Tooth Wear. PLoS ONE 8(7): e69990. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069990
Most of the morphological features recognized in hominin teeth, particularly the topography of the occlusal surface, are generally interpreted as an evolutionary functional adaptation for mechanical food processing. In this respect, we can also expect that the general architecture of a tooth reflects a response to withstand the high stresses produced during masticatory loadings. Here we use an engineering approach, finite element analysis (FEA), with an advanced loading concept derived from individual occlusal wear information to evaluate whether some dental traits usually found in hominin and extant great ape molars, such as the trigonid crest, the entoconid-hypoconulid crest and the protostylid have important biomechanical implications. For this purpose, FEA was applied to 3D digital models of three Gorilla gorilla lower second molars (M2) differing in wear stages. Our results show that in unworn and slightly worn M2s tensile stresses concentrate in the grooves of the occlusal surface. In such condition, the trigonid and the entoconid-hypoconulid crests act to reinforce the crown locally against stresses produced along the mesiodistal groove. Similarly, the protostylid is shaped like a buttress to suffer the high tensile stresses concentrated in the deep buccal groove. These dental traits are less functional in the worn M2, because tensile stresses decrease physiologically in the crown with progressing wear due to the enlargement of antagonistic contact areas and changes in loading direction from oblique to nearly parallel direction to the dental axis. This suggests that the wear process might have a crucial influence in the evolution and structural adaptation of molars enabling to endure bite stresses and reduce tooth failure throughout the lifetime of an individual.

Pickett, E. J., Stockwell, M. P., Bower, D. S., Pollard, C. J., Garnham, J. I., Clulow, J. and Mahony, M. J. (2013), Six-year demographic study reveals threat of stochastic extinction for remnant populations of a threatened amphibian. Austral Ecology. doi: 10.1111/aec.12080
Sustained demographic studies are essential for early detection of species decline in time for effective management response. A paucity of such background data hindered the potential for successful conservation during the global amphibian decline and remains problematic today. The current study analysed 6 years of mark-recapture data to determine the vital demographic rates in three habitat precincts of the threatened frog, Litoria aurea (Hylidae) and to understand the underlying causes of variability in population size. Variability in population size of L. aurea was similar to many pond-breeding species; however this level of fluctuation is rare among threatened amphibians. Highly variable populations are at greater risk of local extinction and the low level of connectivity between L. aurea populations means they are at a greater risk of further decline due to stochastic extinction events and incapacity to recolonize distant habitat. We recommend that management of this species should encourage recolonization through creation of habitat corridors and reintroduction of L. aurea to areas where stochastic extinction events are suspected.

Liana Y. Zanette, Keith A. Hobson, Michael Clinchy, Marc Travers, Tony D. Williams
Food use is affected by the experience of nest predation: implications for indirect predator effects on clutch size
Oecologia August 2013, Volume 172, Issue 4, pp 1031-1039

Indirect predator effects on prey demography include any effect not attributable to direct killing and can be mediated by perceived predation risk. Though perceived predation risk clearly affects foraging, few studies have yet demonstrated that it can chronically alter food intake to an extent that affects demography. Recent studies have used stable isotopes to gauge such chronic effects. We previously reported an indirect predator effect on the size of subsequent clutches laid by song sparrows (Melospiza melodia). Females that experienced frequent experimental nest predation laid smaller clutches and were in poorer physiological condition compared to females not subject to nest predation. Every female was provided with unlimited supplemental food that had a distinctive 13C signature. Here, we report that frequent nest predation females had lower blood δ13C values, suggesting that the experience of nest predation caused them to eat less supplemental food. Females that ate less food gained less fat and were in poorer physiological condition, consistent with the effect on food use contributing to the indirect predator effect on clutch size. Tissue δ15N values corroborated that clutch size was not likely constrained by endogenous resources. Finally, we report that the process of egg production evidently affects egg δ13C values, and this may mask the source of nutrients to eggs. Our results indicate that perceived predation risk may impose food limitation on prey even where food is unlimited and such predator-induced food limitation ought to be added to direct killing when considering the total effect of predators on prey numbers.

Bonnie M. Perdue, Theodore A. Evans, Rebecca A. Williamson, Anna Gonsiorowski, Michael J. Beran
Prospective memory in children and chimpanzees
Animal Cognition July 2013

Prospective memory (PM) involves remembering to do something at a specific time in the future. Here, we investigate the beginnings of this ability in young children (3-year-olds; Homo sapiens) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) using an analogous task. Subjects were given a choice between two toys (children) or two food items (chimpanzees). The selected item was delivered immediately, whereas the unselected item was hidden in an opaque container. After completing an ongoing quantity discrimination task, subjects could request the hidden item by asking for it (children) or by pointing to the container and identifying the item on a symbol board (chimpanzees). Children and chimpanzees showed evidence of prospective-like memory in this task, as evidenced by successful retrieval of the item at the end of the task, sometimes spontaneously with no prompting from the experimenter. These findings contribute to our understanding of PM from an ontogenetic and comparative perspective.

Detection and assessment of electrocution in endangered raptors by infrared thermography
Melero M, González F, Nicolás O, López I, Jiménez Md, Jato-Sánchez S, Sánchez-Vizcaíno JM
BMC Veterinary Research 2013, 9:149 (23 July 2013)

Most European birds of prey find themselves in a poor state of conservation, with electrocution as one of the most frequent causes of unnatural death. Since early detection of electrocution is difficult, treatment is usually implemented late, which reduces its effectiveness. By considering that electrocution reduces tissue temperature, it may be detectable by thermography, which would allow a more rapid identification. Three individuals from three endangered raptor species [Spanish imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti), Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus) and Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)] were studied thermographically from the time they were admitted to a rehabilitation centre to the time their clinical cases were resolved.
Cases presentation: The three raptors presented lesions lacking thermal bilateral symmetry and were consistent with electrocution of feet, wings and eyes, visible by thermography before than clinically; lesions were well-defined and showed a lower temperature than the surrounding tissue. Some lesions evolved thermally and clinically until the appearance of normal tissue recovered, while others evolved and became necrotic. A histopathological analysis of a damaged finger amputated off a Lammergeier, and the necropsy and histopathology examination of an osprey, confirmed the electrocution diagnosis.
These results suggest that thermography is effective and useful for the objective and early detection and monitoring of electrocuted birds, and that it may prove especially useful for examining live animals that require no amputation or cannot be subjected to invasive histopathology.

McFee, W. E., Speakman, T. R., Balthis, L., Adams, J. D. and Zolman, E. S. (2013), Reproductive seasonality of a recently designated bottlenose dolphin stock near Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.A. Marine Mammal Science. doi: 10.1111/mms.12055
Reproductive seasonality of common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) can be affected by numerous ecological and behavioral factors. In 2009, stock boundaries were revised to recognize a Charleston Estuarine System Stock (CESS) of bottlenose dolphins in Charleston, South Carolina. The CESS is a well-studied population with long-term data collected from photo-identification and stranding studies. From 2004 to 2008, a systematic mark-recapture photo-identification study was conducted in the Charleston Estuary to estimate population size of the CESS. Sightings data from this photo-identification study coupled with strandings data (1993–2008) were analyzed to determine the reproductive seasonality of this local population. Both neonate sightings and strandings depicted a primary season of reproduction in the spring into early summer with a small peak in neonate sightings in early autumn, and were significantly different from circular uniform and Von Mises distributions (strandings: P < 0.01, V = 2.8644; sightings: P < 0.01, V = 3.2302). This study increases the knowledge of seasonal reproductive patterns of estuarine stocks of bottlenose dolphin stocks in the southeastern United States. The results will also help wildlife managers detect unusual neonate mortality events, and provide information about critical habitat relevant for evaluating and mitigating coastal development projects.

Lourie, H. J., Hoskins, A. J. and Arnould, J. P.Y. (2013), Big boys get big girls: Factors influencing pupping site and territory location in Australian fur seals. Marine Mammal Science. doi: 10.1111/mms.12056
To examine the factors influencing birth site selection and territory location in Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus), habitat variables (slope, substrate, and elevation) were quantified in seven zones within a breeding colony on Kanowna Island (39º15′S, 146º18′E), southeastern Australia. Distribution across the colony was not uniform with zones at low elevations (i.e., close to water) being preferred areas, having earlier occupancies and greater female densities. Body length of females and territorial adult males was assessed using laser-metrics. Average female length increased throughout the breeding season, within zones and across the colony, with larger females arriving to give birth later. Larger females also occupied areas of lower elevation close to water. Adult male body length had no influence on territory size, but was positively correlated with the number of females in harems (r2 = 0.70, P < 0.05) and female length (r2 = 0.87, P < 0.01) within harems. By monopolizing larger females, adult males may enhance their reproductive success as these individuals are more likely to give birth and have greater weaning success.

N. Blaser, G. Dell’Ariccia, G. Dell’Omo, D. P. Wolfer and H.-P. Lipp. Testing cognitive navigation in unknown territories: homing pigeons choose different targets. Journal of Experimental Biology 216. July 24, 2013, doi: 10.1242/jeb.083246
Homing pigeons (Columba livia) are believed to adopt a map-and-compass strategy to find their way home. Surprisingly, to date a clear demonstration of the use of a cognitive map in free-flight experiments is missing. In this study, we investigated whether homing pigeons use a mental map in which – at an unknown release site – their own position, the home loft and a food loft are represented simultaneously. In order to test this, homing pigeons were trained to fly to a 25–30 km distant food loft. A total of 131 hungry and satiated pigeons were then released from an unfamiliar site equidistant from the food loft and the home loft. Their vanishing bearings and homing times were assessed conventionally at four sites, and also their flight tracks from one release site by means of GPS loggers. The vanishing bearings of fed and hungry birds differed significantly at all release sites and a highly significant proportion of hungry birds flew to the food loft, while the fed birds headed home. The GPS experiment revealed a number of pigeons flying very precisely to the food loft, others correcting their flight direction after topography-induced detours. This implies that the pigeons knew their geographical position in relation to the targets, and chose a flight direction according to their locally manipulated needs – clearly the essence of a cognitive navigational map.

Josef D. Järhult, Johan Stedt, Lars Gustafsson
Zero prevalence of extended spectrum beta-lactamase-producing bacteria in 300 breeding Collared Flycatchers in Sweden
Infection Ecology and Epidemiology 2013, 3: 20909 – http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/iee.v3i0.20909

Wild birds are important indicators and potential spreaders of antibiotic resistance. The order Passerines is scarcely studied apart from Corvus sp. but extended spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs) has been found in Blackbirds. We tested 300 fecal samples from a well-studied population of Collared Flycatchers (Ficedula albicollis) at the Island of Gotland in Sweden and found no ESBL-producing bacteria. These results support the idea of ‘ecological guild’ as Blackbirds are ground-foraging invertebrate feeders, whereas Collared Flycatchers are aerial insectivores not regularly coming into contact with fecal contaminations and therefore less prone to acquire pathogens spread by the fecal–oral route.

Pess, G. R., Quinn, T. P., Schindler, D. E. and Liermann, M. C. (2013), Freshwater habitat associations between pink (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha), chum (O. keta) and Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha) in a watershed dominated by sockeye salmon (O. nerka) abundance. Ecology of Freshwater Fish. doi: 10.1111/eff.12088
To understand the interplay between habitat use and contemporary anadromous Pacific salmon, Oncorhynchus spp., distributions we explored the habitat associations of three species, pink (O. gorbuscha), chum (O. keta) and Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha) in streams of the Wood River system of Bristol Bay, Alaska, where sockeye salmon (O. nerka) are numerically dominant. We developed models to investigate the occurrence of nondominant salmon in relation to habitat characteristics and sockeye salmon density, using four decades of salmon presence and abundance data. The frequency of occurrence and abundance of nondominant species increased with watershed drainage area and stream depth and decreased with sockeye salmon density. The range of occurrence varied from nonexistent to perennial for the other species in sockeye-dominated streams. Increasing watershed area resulted in larger stream habitat area and deeper habitats, allowing for the sympatric occurrence and persistence of all salmon species. The relationships between habitat and the presence of these Pacific salmon help define their requirements but also remind us that the patterns of presence and absence, within the overall ranges of salmon species, have yet to be fully understood.

Santure, A. W., De Cauwer, I., Robinson, M. R., Poissant, J., Sheldon, B. C. and Slate, J. (2013), Genomic dissection of variation in clutch size and egg mass in a wild great tit (Parus major) population. Molecular Ecology, 22: 3949–3962. doi: 10.1111/mec.12376
Clutch size and egg mass are life history traits that have been extensively studied in wild bird populations, as life history theory predicts a negative trade-off between them, either at the phenotypic or at the genetic level. Here, we analyse the genomic architecture of these heritable traits in a wild great tit (Parus major) population, using three marker-based approaches – chromosome partitioning, quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping and a genome-wide association study (GWAS). The variance explained by each great tit chromosome scales with predicted chromosome size, no location in the genome contains genome-wide significant QTL, and no individual SNPs are associated with a large proportion of phenotypic variation, all of which may suggest that variation in both traits is due to many loci of small effect, located across the genome. There is no evidence that any regions of the genome contribute significantly to both traits, which combined with a small, nonsignificant negative genetic covariance between the traits, suggests the absence of genetic constraints on the independent evolution of these traits. Our findings support the hypothesis that variation in life history traits in natural populations is likely to be determined by many loci of small effect spread throughout the genome, which are subject to continued input of variation by mutation and migration, although we cannot exclude the possibility of an additional input of major effect genes influencing either trait.

Levy, E., Tomkins, J. L., LeBas, N. R. and Kennington, W. J. (2013), Contrasting effects of landscape features on genetic structure in different geographic regions in the ornate dragon lizard, Ctenophorus ornatus. Molecular Ecology, 22: 3904–3915. doi: 10.1111/mec.12367
Habitat fragmentation can have profound effects on the distribution of genetic variation within and between populations. Previously, we showed that in the ornate dragon lizard, Ctenophorus ornatus, lizards residing on outcrops that are separated by cleared agricultural land are significantly more isolated and hold less genetic variation than lizards residing on neighbouring outcrops connected by undisturbed native vegetation. Here, we extend the fine-scale study to examine the pattern of genetic variation and population structure across the species‘ range. Using a landscape genetics approach, we test whether land clearing for agricultural purposes has affected the population structure of the ornate dragon lizard. We found significant genetic differentiation between outcrop populations (FST = 0.12), as well as isolation by distance within each geographic region. In support of our previous study, land clearing was associated with higher genetic divergences between outcrops and lower genetic variation within outcrops, but only in the region that had been exposed to intense agriculture for the longest period of time. No other landscape features influenced population structure in any geographic region. These results show that the effects of landscape features can vary across species‘ ranges and suggest there may be a temporal lag in response to contemporary changes in land use. These findings therefore highlight the need for caution when assessing the impact of contemporary land use practices on genetic variation and population structure.

Dool, S. E., Puechmaille, S. J., Dietz, C., Juste, J., Ibáñez, C., Hulva, P., Roué, S. G., Petit, E. J., Jones, G., Russo, D., Toffoli, R., Viglino, A., Martinoli, A., Rossiter, S. J. and Teeling, E. C. (2013), Phylogeography and postglacial recolonization of Europe by Rhinolophus hipposideros: evidence from multiple genetic markers. Molecular Ecology, 22: 4055–4070. doi: 10.1111/mec.12373
The demographic history of Rhinolophus hipposideros (lesser horseshoe bat) was reconstructed across its European, North African and Middle-Eastern distribution prior to, during and following the most recent glaciations by generating and analysing a multimarker data set. This data set consisted of an X-linked nuclear intron (Bgn; 543 bp), mitochondrial DNA (cytb-tRNA-control region; 1630 bp) and eight variable microsatellite loci for up to 373 individuals from 86 localities. Using this data set of diverse markers, it was possible to determine the species’ demography at three temporal stages. Nuclear intron data revealed early colonization into Europe from the east, which pre-dates the Quaternary glaciations. The mtDNA data supported multiple glacial refugia across the Mediterranean, the largest of which were found in the Ibero-Maghreb region and an eastern location (Anatolia/Middle East)–that were used by R. hipposideros during the most recent glacial cycles. Finally, microsatellites provided the most recent information on these species’ movements since the Last Glacial Maximum and suggested that lineages that had diverged into glacial refugia, such as in the Ibero-Maghreb region, have remained isolated. These findings should be used to inform future conservation management strategies for R. hipposideros and show the power of using a multimarker data set for phylogeographic studies.

Carlson, J. K., Gulak, S. J. B., Simpfendorfer, C. A., Grubbs, R. D., Romine, J. G. and Burgess, G.H. (2013), Movement patterns and habitat use of smalltooth sawfish, Pristis pectinata, determined using pop-up satellite archival tags. Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst.. doi: 10.1002/aqc.2382
Research on rare and threatened species is often limited by access to sufficient individuals to acquire information needed to design appropriate conservation measures.Using a combination of data from pop-up archival transmitting (PAT) tags across multiple institutional programmes, movements and habitat use of endangered smalltooth sawfish, Pristis pectinata were determined for animals from southern Florida and the Bahamas.All P. pectinata (n = 12) generally remained in coastal waters within the region where they were initially tagged, travelling an average of 80.2 km from deployment to pop-up location. The shortest distance moved was 4.6 km and the greatest 279.1 km, averaging 1.4 km day-Seasonal movement rates for females were significantly different with the greatest movements in autumn and winter.Pristis pectinata spent the majority of their time at shallow depths (96% of their time at depths <10 m) and warm water temperatures (22–28°C).Given sawfish show a degree of site fidelity punctuated by limited migratory movements emphasizes the need for conservation and management of existing coastal habitats throughout the species’ range. Shulse, C. D., Semlitsch, R. D., Trauth, K. M. (2013), Mosquitofish dominate amphibian and invertebrate community development in experimental wetlands. Journal of Applied Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12126
Restored and constructed habitats can play important conservation roles. Predators help shape communities in these habitats through complex interactions with prey, other predators and biotic and abiotic characteristics of the environment. However, introduced predators can have dramatic effects that may be difficult to predict.Using regression models, we compared influences of introduced invasive western mosquitofish Gambusia affinis to those of two naturally colonizing predators (crayfish and dragonflies), and vegetation, on three anuran species in experimentally constructed wetlands. Using analyses of covariance, we also examined influences of mosquitofish and vegetation on aquatic invertebrate communities.We found that mosquitofish reduced abundances of grey treefrogs Hyla versicolor and H. chrysoscelis and boreal chorus frog Pseudacris maculata, but had no significant influence on green frog Lithobates clamitans. Mosquitofish also reduced invertebrate abundance, but their effect on richness was less clear. Vegetation cover did not significantly increase most anuran or invertebrate abundances. However, vegetation increased invertebrate richness. After fish removal, invertebrate abundance increased. Fish removal may have facilitated chorus frog re-colonization into wetlands with low abundance of invertebrate predators.Our results indicate that mosquitofish are detrimental to wetland communities, and we recommend that managers avoid stocking mosquitofish. We also encourage temporary or drainable wetlands to prevent mosquitofish persistence if colonization occurs. Implementing these recommendations will improve the conservation potential of restored wetlands.

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