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Jersey City, NJ, United States

Newstead D.J.,1305 N. Shoreline Blvd. | Niles L.J.,Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey | Porter R.R.,800 Quinard Court | Dey A.D.,Fish and Wildlife | And 2 more authors.
Wader Study Group Bulletin | Year: 2013

Red Knots Calidris canutus are commonly observed along the Texas coast during fall and spring. Although some significant winter records have been reported in Texas, it was previously unknown if birds were using Texas as a wintering area or primarily as a stopover area en route to more southerly wintering destinations. We fitted 69 Red Knots with geolocators on Mustang and Padre Islands between fall 2009 and fall 2010, and recovered eight of them between fall 2010 and spring 2012. The data showed that these knots: 1) spent nearly the entire nonbreeding phase of their annual cycle (78.4%) in the north-west Gulf of Mexico, 2) used the Mid- Continent (or Central) Flyway as a migratory route on both north and southbound migrations, 3) used stopover sites in the Northern Great Plains of the United States and Canada as well as the Nelson River Delta/Hudson Bay area, and 4) exhibited stronger consistency in timing of northbound migratory movements than in southbound movements. For the two birds for which geolocator data included consecutive years of data, one showed consistency in northbound and southbound stopover location between years, while the other showed variability in northbound, but not southbound stopover locations. A geolocator recovered from a bird that was originally captured in the year in which it hatched showed that it also oversummered in Texas. The data further highlights the critical importance of the north-west Gulf of Mexico – particularly the Laguna Madre and Padre Island – for this population of Red Knots, and the need for further investigation to discover specific wintering sites. © 2013, International Wader Study Group. All rights reserved.

Maxted A.M.,University of Georgia | Maxted A.M.,New York State Department of Health | Porter R.R.,800 Quinard Court | Luttrell M.P.,University of Georgia | And 5 more authors.
Avian Diseases | Year: 2012

The population of ruddy turnstones (Arenaria interpres morinella) that migrates through Delaware Bay has undergone severe declines in recent years, attributable to reduced availability of horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) eggs at this critical spring migration stopover site. Concurrently, this population has experienced annual low pathogenicity avian influenza virus (AIV) epidemics at this same site. Using a prospective cohort study design with birds individually flagged during MayJune 20062008, we evaluated resighting rates (a proxy for annual survival) between AIV-infected and uninfected birds at 1 yr after capture, testing, and measurement. Overall resighting rate was 46, which varied by year and increased with relative mass of the bird when captured. Resighting rates were not different between AIV-infected and uninfected birds in any period. In multivariate analyses, infection status was also unrelated to resighting rate after controlling for year, day, state, sex, body size, mass index, or whether the bird was blood-sampled. Thus, apparent annual survival in ruddy turnstones was not reduced by AIV infection at this migratory stopover. However, it is unknown whether intestinal AIV infection might cause subtle reductions in weight gain which could negatively influence reproduction. © American Association of Avian Pathologists.

Brown J.D.,University of Georgia | Luttrell M.P.,University of Georgia | Berghaus R.D.,University of Georgia | Kistler W.,University of Georgia | And 9 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2010

Serologic testing to detect antibodies to avian influenza (AI) virus has been an underused tool for the study of these viruses in wild bird populations, which traditionally has relied on virus isolation and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). In a preliminary study, a recently developed commercial blocking enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (bELISA) had sensitivity and specificity estimates of 82% and 100%, respectively, for detection of antibodies to AI virus in multiple wild bird species after experimental infection. To further evaluate the efficacy of this commercial bELISA and the agar gel immunodiffusion (AGID) test for AI virus antibody detection in wild birds, we tested 2,249 serum samples collected from 62 wild bird species, representing 10 taxonomic orders. Overall, the bELISA detected 25.4% positive samples, whereas the AGID test detected 14.8%. At the species level, the bELISA detected as many or more positive serum samples than the AGID in all 62 avian species. The majority of positive samples, detected by both assays, were from species that use aquatic habitats, with the highest prevalence from species in the orders Anseriformes and Charadriiformes. Conversely, antibodies to AI virus were rarely detected in the terrestrial species. The serologic data yielded by both assays are consistent with the known epidemiology of AI virus in wild birds and published reports of host range based on virus isolation and RT-PCR. The results of this research are also consistent with the aforementioned study, which evaluated the performance of the bELISA and AGID test on experimental samples. Collectively, the data from these two studies indicate that the bELISA is a more sensitive serologic assay than the AGID test for detecting prior exposure to AI virus in wild birds. Based on these results, the bELISA is a reliable species-independent assay with potentially valuable applications for wild bird AI surveillance. © Wildlife Disease Association 2010.

Stallknecht D.E.,University of Georgia | Luttrell M.P.,University of Georgia | Poulson R.,University of Georgia | Goekjian V.,University of Georgia | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2012

Although influenza A viruses have been isolated from numerous shorebird species (Family: Scolopacidae) worldwide, our understanding of natural history of these viruses in this diverse group is incomplete. Gaining this information can be complicated by sampling difficulties related to live capture, the need for large sample sizes related to a potentially low prevalence of infection, and the need to maintain flexibility in diagnostic approaches related to varied capabilities and resources. To provide information relevant to improving sampling and testing of shorebirds for influenza A viruses, we retrospectively evaluated a combined data set from Delaware Bay, USA, collected from 2000 to 2009. Our results indicate that prevalence trends and subtype diversity can be effectively determined by either direct sampling of birds or indirect sampling of feces; however, the extent of detected subtype diversity is a function of the number of viruses recovered during that year. Even in cases where a large number of viruses are identified, an underestimate of true subtype diversity is likely. Influenza A virus isolation from Ruddy Turnstones can be enhanced by testing both cloacal and tracheal samples, and matrix real-time PCR can be used as an effective screening tool. Serologic testing to target species of interest also has application to shorebird surveillance. Overall, all of the sampling and diagnostic approaches have utility as applied to shorebird surveillance, but all are associated with inherent biases that need to be considered when comparing results from independent studies. © Wildlife Disease Association 2012.

Maslo B.,The College of New Jersey | Handel S.N.,The College of New Jersey | Pover T.,Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey
Restoration Ecology | Year: 2011

To effectively restore wildlife habitat, ecological research must be easily translated into practical design criteria. Clear directives from research can support arguments that promote more appropriate restoration strategies. For the federally threatened piping plover (Charadrius melodus), beach stabilization practices often accelerate the degradation of suitable breeding habitat and could be revised to provide more advantageous conditions. Several studies of piping plover habitat selection have been conducted, yet useful and detailed design directives remain undeveloped. In this study, we use classification and regression tree analysis to (1) identify microhabitat characteristics and important variable interactions leading to nest establishment and (2) develop target, trigger, and threshold values for use in effective design and adaptive management of piping plover habitat. We found that nests primarily occur in three distinct habitat conditions defined by percent shell and pebble cover, vegetative cover, and distance to nearest dunes and the high tide line. Nest-site characteristics vary depending on where in the landscape a nest is initiated (backshore, overwash fan, or primary dune). We translate these results into the following pragmatic target design parameters: (1) vegetative cover: less than 10% (backshore), 13% (primary dune); (2) shell/pebble cover: 17-18%; (3) dune height: ≤1.1 m; and (4) dune slope: ≤13%. We also recommend threshold values for adaptive management to maintain habitat that is attractive to plovers. This technique can be applied to many other wildlife habitat restorations. Future studies on niche parameters driving chick survival are necessary to realize the full potential of habitat restoration in increasing overall reproductive success. © 2010 Society for Ecological Restoration International.

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