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Puerto de la Cruz, Spain

Luke J.P.,University of La Laguna | Marichal-Hernandez J.G.,University of La Laguna | Rosa F.,University of La Laguna | Almunia J.,Loro Parque Fundacion
Applied Acoustics | Year: 2010

The use of passive acoustic observation is a useful tool in bioacoustic studies of cetaceans, such as killer whales (Orcinus orca). Such studies require the recording, detection, and classification of vocalizations of animals during long periods of time. The manual processing of the recordings is an extremely time consuming task because of the large amount of data to process. Automatic detection and classification techniques are useful to improve the processing, increase the amount of information and, as a consequence, provide information for the conservation of these species. The Orca Ocean facilities of Loro Parque in the Canary Islands, Spain, were used as an experimental platform for developing devices to perform bioacoustic studies. Detection methods with low computational complexity were tested in order to capture vocalizations of four O. orca specimens in real time. The algorithms were also tested in other scenarios in order to determine their global performance. The sensitivity to noise was also tested. The most accurate method in this study was implemented and integrated with a continuous recording system generating an event database in real time, downsizing the storage demand to 7%. This allowed the storage of all the sound events produced in about one month on a standard computer harddisk and the generation of basic statistics on vocal activity of the animals. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Kremers D.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Lemasson A.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Lemasson A.,Institut Universitaire de France | Almunia J.,Loro Parque Fundacion | Wanker R.,University of Hamburg
Journal of Comparative Psychology | Year: 2012

Among vocal learners, some animal species are known to develop individually distinctive vocalizations, and others clearly learn to produce group signatures. The optimal vocal sharing hypothesis suggests that vocal divergence and convergence are not compulsorily exclusive and both can be found at different levels in a given species. Being individually recognizable is socially important even in species sharing vocal badges. Acoustic divergence is not systematically controlled as it can simply be due to interindividual morphological differences. We tested that hypothesis in a species known to learn their family vocal dialect socially: the orca (Orcinus orca). We identified 13 different call types, including some shared by all group members, some shared only by 2 or 3 individuals, and others particular to 1 individual. Sharing was higher between males than between females. Three of our 4 orcas each produced a unique call type, which was preferably emitted. The call types shared by all orcas still presented individual acoustic distinctiveness that could, to some degree, be explained by morphological differences. We found evidence for strong similarities between some of the call types of our captive orcas and the call types of their ancestors, which are Canadian and Icelandic free-ranging orcas. Our findings suggest that captive orcas use a complex vocal repertoire enabling each individual to produce sounds that are similar to some of their partners', which might be used as social badges to advertise their preferential bonds, as well as individual-specific calls. Our findings open new lines of research concerning the functional value of a balanced "diverging- converging" vocal system. © 2012 American Psychological Association. Source

Garcia-Alvarez N.,University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria | Martin V.,Avda College N | Fernandez A.,University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria | Almunia J.,Loro Parque Fundacion | And 6 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2014

The effect of anthropogenic pollution in marine mammals worldwide has become an important issue due to the high concentrations found in many areas. The present study represents the first report of pollutants in free-ranging cetaceans from the Canary Islands, where there are 12 marine Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), because of the presence of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). We selected this resident population of dolphins as a bioindicator to gain knowledge concerning the toxicological status of the cetaceans of this protected area. In 64 biopsy samples of live free-ranging animals sampled from 2003 to 2011, we determined the concentrations of 18 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), 23 organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). We found high levels of many of these pollutants, and some of them were detectable in 100% of the samples. The median value for ∑OCPs was 57,104ngg-1 lipid weight (lw), and the dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE) accounted for 70% of this amount. Among PCBs, congeners 180, 153 and 138 were predominant (82% of ∑PCBs; median=30,783ngg-1 lw). Concerning the analyzed PAHs, the total median burden was 13,598ngg-1 lw, and phenanthrene was the compound measured at the highest concentration followed by pyrene and by naphthalene. Surprisingly, we have found that organohalogen pollutants exhibit an upward trend in recent years of sampling. Thus, according to the guidelines outlined in the EU's Marine Strategy Framework Directive, further monitoring studies in Canary Islands are required to contribute to the conservation of the resident populations of marine mammals in this region. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. Source

Ruske K.,Loro Parque Fundacion | Molch M.,Zoo Leipzig GmbH
Zoologische Garten | Year: 2010

Keeping and breeding Dall's Sheep (Ovis dalli) in Leipzig Zoo between 1982 and 2009 are reflected and analysed. Seven animals were brought into the collection. 60 specimens were kept so far. The species hast turned out to be difficult in Middle-Europe's climate but nevertheless is manageable and reproductive. The rearing rate (animals have reached at least the age of 1 year) is 40%. Remarkable veterinarian treatments for keeping the stock healthy and especially for ensuring the breeding are described. For sure, deep engagement of keepers, veterinarians and curators is needed to keep this species successfully. Hopefully a lot of colleagues will take this as a challenge to increase numbers in Europe by joining the group of holders of this splendid wild sheep. © 2010. Source

Schirtzinger E.E.,New Mexico State University | Tavares E.S.,Royal Ontario Museum | Tavares E.S.,University of Sao Paulo | Gonzales L.A.,New Mexico State University | And 9 more authors.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2012

Mitochondrial genomes are generally thought to be under selection for compactness, due to their small size, consistent gene content, and a lack of introns or intergenic spacers. As more animal mitochondrial genomes are fully sequenced, rearrangements and partial duplications are being identified with increasing frequency, particularly in birds (Class Aves). In this study, we investigate the evolutionary history of mitochondrial control region states within the avian order Psittaciformes (parrots and cockatoos). To this aim, we reconstructed a comprehensive multi-locus phylogeny of parrots, used PCR of three diagnostic fragments to classify the mitochondrial control region state as single or duplicated, and mapped these states onto the phylogeny. We further sequenced 44 selected species to validate these inferences of control region state. Ancestral state reconstruction using a range of weighting schemes identified six independent origins of mitochondrial control region duplications within Psittaciformes. Analysis of sequence data showed that varying levels of mitochondrial gene and tRNA homology and degradation were present within a given clade exhibiting duplications. Levels of divergence between control regions within an individual varied from 0-10.9% with the differences occurring mainly between 51 and 225 nucleotides 3' of the goose hairpin in domain I. Further investigations into the fates of duplicated mitochondrial genes, the potential costs and benefits of having a second control region, and the complex relationship between evolutionary rates, selection, and time since duplication are needed to fully explain these patterns in the mitochondrial genome. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. Source

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