South Sioux City, NE, United States
South Sioux City, NE, United States

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Schwitzer C.,Bristol Zoological Society | Mittermeier R.A.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Johnson S.E.,University of Calgary | Donati G.,Oxford Brookes University | And 17 more authors.
Science | Year: 2014

Community-based management, ecotourism, and researchers' presence are proposed to prevent lemur extinctions.


Houser D.C.,University of Nebraska at Omaha | From M.,Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo | Landry M.,Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo | Copeland A.,Government of Bermuda | Kellar P.R.,University of Nebraska at Omaha
American Fern Journal | Year: 2016

Diplazium laffanianum was last collected from its natural habitat in Bermuda in 1905. Now the species is considered extinct in the wild as it exists only in greenhouses, tissue cultures, and as a few young reintroduced sporophytes. For the last 13 years, a collaborative team of researchers from the Government of Bermuda and the Lab for Rare & Endangered Plants at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska, USA has been working to bring this species back from the brink of extinction. In this project, we developed propagation methods for D. laffanianum, and we studied molecular and morphological characters to determine the phylogenetic placement of D. laffanianum. We sequenced plastid DNA from D. laffanianum using high-throughput sequencing, downloaded six plastid markers (atpA, atpB, matK, rbcL, rps+rps4-trnS, and trnL intron+trnL-F) from GenBank for 21 Diplazium and outgroup taxa, and inferred a phylogeny. We examined 185 collections of five Diplazium species closely related to D. laffanianum, and we scored 15 morphological characters to test whether D. laffanianum is a distinct species. The phylogeny placed D. laffanianum in the D. cristatum group, suggesting a Neotropical ancestor, and two morphological characters distinguished D. laffanianum from close relatives. Our results provide evidence for the phylogenetic placement of D. laffanianum, and we are actively propagating and reintroducing individuals to the wild, aiding conservation of the species..


Titze I.R.,University of Iowa | Titze I.R.,University of Utah | Fitch W.T.,University of Vienna | Hunter E.J.,University of Utah | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Experimental Biology | Year: 2010

Despite the functional importance of loud, low-pitched vocalizations in big cats of the genus Panthera, little is known about the physics and physiology of the mechanisms producing such calls. We investigated laryngeal sound production in the laboratory using an excised-larynx setup combined with sound-level measurements and pressure-flow instrumentation. The larynges of five tigers (three Siberian or Amur, one generic non-pedigreed tiger with Bengal ancestry and one Sumatran), which had died of natural causes, were provided by Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo over a five-year period. Anatomical investigation indicated the presence of both a rigid cartilaginous plate in the arytenoid portion of the glottis, and a vocal fold fused with a ventricular fold. Both of these features have been confusingly termed 'vocal pads' in the previous literature. We successfully induced phonation in all of these larynges. Our results showed that aerodynamic power in the glottis was of the order of 1.0?W for all specimens, acoustic power radiated (without a vocal tract) was of the order of 0.1?mW, and fundamental frequency ranged between 20 and 100?Hz when a lung pressure in the range of 0-2.0?kPa was applied. The mean glottal airflow increased to the order of 1.0?l?s-1 per 1.0?kPa of pressure, which is predictable from scaling human and canine larynges by glottal length and vibrational amplitude. Phonation threshold pressure was remarkably low, on the order of 0.3?kPa, which is lower than for human and canine larynges phonated without a vocal tract. Our results indicate that a vocal fold length approximately three times greater than that of humans is predictive of the low fundamental frequency, and the extraordinarily flat and broad medial surface of the vocal folds is predictive of the low phonation threshold pressure. © 2010 Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


Morris C.L.,Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo | Grandin T.,Colorado State University | Irlbeck N.A.,Colorado State University
Journal of Animal Science | Year: 2011

Animal scientists have an extraordinary burden to promote the health and well-being of all animals in their care. Promoting species- or breedappropriate behaviors through proper training and enrichment, regardless of animal housing, should be a paramount concern for all animal scientists working with exotic animals, laboratory animals, shelter animals, or privately owned pet animals. Developing ideal training and enrichment programs for any species begins with understanding basic behavior patterns and emotional systems of animals. The basic emotional systems in mammals have been extensively mapped; however, most of these studies are in the neuroscience literature and seldom read by animal science professionals. The emotional circuits for fear have been well documented through studies demonstrating that lesions to the amygdala will block both conditioned and unconditioned fear behaviors. Additionally, other core emotional systems including seeking (i.e., approaching a novel stimulus), rage, panic (e.g., separation stress), play, lust (i.e., sex drive), and care (e.g., mother-young nurturing behavior) have been identified. More recent neuroscience research has discovered the subcortical brain regions that drive different types of seeking behaviors. Research to increase the understanding of the emotional systems that drive both abnormal and normal animal behaviors could greatly improve animal welfare by making it possible to provide more effective environmental enrichment programs. Enrichment devices and methods could be specifically designed to enable the expression of highly motivated behaviors that are driven by emotional circuits in the brain. The objective of this paper is to increase awareness of animal scientists to the field of neuroscience studying animal emotions and the application of that science to improve the welfare of captive exotic animals, laboratory animals, and pets with environmental enrichment. © 2011 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.


Orozco-Terwengel P.,University of Cardiff | Andreone F.,Museo Regionale di Science Naturali | Louis Jr. E.,Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo | Vences M.,TU Braunschweig
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2013

Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot with a unique fauna and flora largely endemic at the species level and highly threatened by habitat destruction. The processes underlying population-level differentiation in Madagascar's biota are poorly understood and have been proposed to be related to Pleistocene climatic cycles, yet the levels of genetic divergence observed are often suggestive of ancient events. We combined molecular markers of different variability to assess the phylogeography of Madagascar's emblematic tomato frogs (Dyscophus guineti and D. antongilii) and interpret the observed pattern as resulting from ancient and recent processes. Our results suggest that the initial divergence between these taxa is probably old as reflected by protein-coding nuclear genes and by a strong mitochondrial differentiation of the southernmost population. Dramatic changes in their demography appear to have been triggered by the end of the last glacial period and possibly by the short return of glacial conditions known as the 8K event. This dramatic change resulted in an approximately 50-fold reduction of the effective population size in various populations of both species. We hypothesize these species' current mitochondrial DNA diversity distribution reflects a swamping of the mitochondrial genetic diversity of D. guineti by that of D. antongilii previous to the populations' bottlenecks during the Holocene, and probably as a consequence of D. antongilii demographic expansion approximately 1 million years ago. Our data support the continued recognition of D. antongilii and D. guineti as separate species and flag D. guineti as the more vulnerable species to past and probably also future environmental changes. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Ji A.,Marquette University | Johnson M.T.,Marquette University | Walsh E.J.,Boys Town National Research Hospital | McGee J.,Boys Town National Research Hospital | Armstrong D.L.,Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America | Year: 2013

This paper investigates the extent of tiger (Panthera tigris) vocal individuality through both qualitative and quantitative approaches using long distance roars from six individual tigers at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE. The framework for comparison across individuals includes statistical and discriminant function analysis across whole vocalization measures and statistical pattern classification using a hidden Markov model (HMM) with frame-based spectral features comprised of Greenwood frequency cepstral coefficients. Individual discrimination accuracy is evaluated as a function of spectral model complexity, represented by the number of mixtures in the underlying Gaussian mixture model (GMM), and temporal model complexity, represented by the number of sequential states in the HMM. Results indicate that the temporal pattern of the vocalization is the most significant factor in accurate discrimination. Overall baseline discrimination accuracy for this data set is about 70% using high level features without complex spectral or temporal models. Accuracy increases to about 80% when more complex spectral models (multiple mixture GMMs) are incorporated, and increases to a final accuracy of 90% when more detailed temporal models (10-state HMMs) are used. Classification accuracy is stable across a relatively wide range of configurations in terms of spectral and temporal model resolution. © 2013 Acoustical Society of America.


Polito M.J.,University of North Carolina at Wilmington | Koopman H.N.,University of North Carolina at Wilmington | Able S.,Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo | Walsh J.,Southwest Fisheries Science Center | Goebel M.E.,Southwest Fisheries Science Center
Journal of Comparative Physiology B: Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology | Year: 2012

Avian yolk fatty acids (FA) composition is influenced by two main factors: maternal diet and genetic factors that regulate FA metabolism. However, due to embryonic developmental requirements, yolk FA are thought to be physiologically constrained and less useful for dietary and trophic studies. We assessed the relative contributions of diet and physiological constraints in determining the yolk FA composition of a marine bird, the gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua) by comparing FA signatures of yolks and prey between a captive, controlled- feeding experiment and a wild population. Captive and wild yolk FA signatures differed even though both groups' yolk lipids were composed primarily of three FA (16:0, 18:0 and 18:1n-9). Differences were due to FA occurring in relatively low abundance, but which mirrored differences in the FA composition of diets. However, yolk FA signatures were correlated across three penguin species suggesting that common developmental constraints can be relatively more important than species-specific differences in diet or egg-laying physiology. While yolk FA are constrained, several minor components of yolk FA are reflective of diets and the calibration coefficients resulting from this study have the potential to be incorporated into predictive models and allow for quantitative dietary and trophic studies using FA analysis of penguin egg yolks. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.


Razakamaharavo V.R.,University of Antananarivo | McGuire S.M.,Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo | Vasey N.,Portland State University | Louis Jr. E.E.,Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo | Brenneman R.A.,Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo
Primates | Year: 2010

The current range of the red ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra) population is primarily restricted to forests of the Masoala Peninsula on the northeastern coast of Madagascar. Whereas much of the peninsula is protected as Masoala National Park, parts of the forest are at risk from anthropogenic pressures and habitat fragmentation. We sampled 32 individual red ruffed lemur from two sites: Ambatoledama (DAMA), a narrow forest corridor across an area of degraded habitat connecting larger blocks of forest in the northwestern reaches of the park, and Masiaposa (MAS) forest, a largely pristine forest on the lower western side of the peninsula. Population genetic parameters were estimated for these two populations employing 15 microsatellite loci derived from the V. variegata genome. We found that by exceeding the expected heterozygosity at mutation-drift equilibrium, the DAMA population has undergone a recent population bottleneck. Population structure analysis detected individuals harboring genotypic admixture of the DAMA genetic cluster in the MAS population, suggesting a possibility of unilateral gene flow or movement between these populations. © Japan Monkey Centre and Springer 2009.


Napier J.E.,Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo | Loskutoff N.M.,Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo | Simmons L.G.,Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo | Armstrong D.L.,Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2011

Carfentanil citrate and thiafentanil oxalate have been used successfully to immobilize captive and free-ranging ungulates. The objective of this study was to compare the efficacy and certain physiologic parameters of protocols by using the 2 opioids in gaur (Bos gaurus). Eight adult gaur bulls were immobilized for electroejaculation at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo (Omaha, Nebraska, USA). All the animals were immobilized twice, by using each of the following protocols one time: 10 mg carfentanil combined with 100 mg xylazine (CX), reversed with 1,000 mg naltrexone and 24 mg yohimbine; and 12 mg thiafentanil combined with 20 mg medetomidine (TM), reversed with 120 mg naltrexone and 100 mg atipamezole. Immobilization drugs were delivered intramuscularly into the shoulder area via pole syringe. Electroejaculation was carried out by a standardized protocol to duplicate procedural stimulation on each animal. Induction and recovery times, initial rectal temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, anesthetic depth, oxygen saturation, indirect blood pressure, and arterial blood gases were recorded at the time of initial handling, before ejaculation, and after ejaculation. Antagonists were administered 1/4 i.v. and 3/4 s.q. Both protocols require a small volume of drug for a large ungulate, provide smooth induction, and adequate anesthesia. Both protocols produced a significant hypoxemia, although the animals on CX showed slightly better blood gas values (based on lower partial pressure of carbon dioxide) and numerically lower blood pressure values. Animals on TM had better muscle relaxation and smoother recoveries, with no renarcotization noted. The results of the present study indicate the TM and CX protocols used for immobilizing gaur result in similar quality ejaculates that can be used for fertility examination as well as for assisted reproduction such as artificial insemination. Additional immobilizations need to take place to further compare these 2 combinations in this species. © American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. Copyright 2011 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.


PubMed | Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo
Type: Clinical Trial | Journal: Journal of zoo and wildlife medicine : official publication of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians | Year: 2012

Carfentanil citrate and thiafentanil oxalate have been used successfully to immobilize captive and free-ranging ungulates. The objective of this study was to compare the efficacy and certain physiologic parameters of protocols by using the 2 opioids in gaur (Bos gaurus). Eight adult gaur bulls were immobilized for electroejaculation at Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo (Omaha, Nebraska, USA). All the animals were immobilized twice, by using each of the following protocols one time: 10 mg carfentanil combined with 100 mg xylazine (CX), reversed with 1,000 mg naltrexone and 24 mg yohimbine; and 12 mg thiafentanil combined with 20 mg medetomidine (TM), reversed with 120 mg naltrexone and 100 mg atipamezole. Immobilization drugs were delivered intramuscularly into the shoulder area via pole syringe. Electroejaculation was carried out by a standardized protocol to duplicate procedural stimulation on each animal. Induction and recovery times, initial rectal temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, anesthetic depth, oxygen saturation, indirect blood pressure, and arterial blood gases were recorded at the time of initial handling, before ejaculation, and after ejaculation. Antagonists were administered 1/4 i.v. and 3/4 s.q. Both protocols require a small volume of drug for a large ungulate, provide smooth induction, and adequate anesthesia. Both protocols produced a significant hypoxemia, although the animals on CX showed slightly better blood gas values (based on lower partial pressure of carbon dioxide) and numerically lower blood pressure values. Animals on TM had better muscle relaxation and smoother recoveries, with no renarcotization noted. The results of the present study indicate the TM and CX protocols used for immobilizing gaur result in similar quality ejaculates that can be used for fertility examination as well as for assisted reproduction such as artificial insemination. Additional immobilizations need to take place to further compare these 2 combinations in this species.

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