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Rotterdam, Netherlands

Tiedemann R.,University of Potsdam | Schneider A.R.R.,University of Potsdam | Havenstein K.,University of Potsdam | Blanck T.,Cuora Conservation Center | And 4 more authors.

We isolated and characterized 16 new di and tetranucleotide micro satellite markers for the critically endangered Asian box turtle genus Cuora, focusing on the “Cuora trifasciata” species complex. Te new markers were then used to analyze genetic variability and divergence amongst five described species within this complex, namely C. aurocapitata (n = 18), C. cyclornata (n = 31), C. pani (n = 6), C. trifasciata (n = 58), and C. zhoui (n = 7). Our results support the view that all five species represent valid taxa. Within two species (C. trifasciata and C. cyclornata), two distinct morphotypes were corroborated by microsatellite divergence. For three individuals, morphologically identified as being of hybrid origin, the hybrid status was confirmed by our genetic analysis. Our results confrm the controversial species (Cuora aurocapitata, C. cyclornata) and subspecies/morphotypes (C. cyclornata meieri, C. trifasciata cf. trifasciata) to be genetically distinct, which has critical implications for conservation strategies. © 2014 Deutsche Gesellschaf für Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde e.V. (DGHT), Mannheim, Germany. Source

Schaftenaar W.,Rotterdam Zoo | Fernandes T.,Lisbon Zoo | Fritsch G.,Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research | Frey R.,Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research | And 4 more authors.
Reproduction in Domestic Animals

Contents: The captive greater one-horned rhinoceros population consists of 176 animals. Since 1971, a total of 226 calves were born into this captive population. However, 24% of the offspring born were either stillborn or did not survive the first 3 months. The causes for this high rate of stillbirth and neonate mortality have not yet been documented. Here, we report on the veterinary management of a dystocia and foetotomy resulting from a malpositioned greater one-horned rhinoceros foetus. The dead foetus presented with a forelimb flexed at the shoulder joint, with all other joints extended. The foetus was dissected into five parts and extracted during two anaesthesias on two consecutive days. The dam recovered fully and came into oestrous 31 days after surgery. Post-mortem and CT examination of the malformed foetal head revealed cranioschisis with cerebral aplasia and cerebellar hypoplasia. The cerebral aplasia presented here and in other recent cases suggests that neural tube defects and cranial malformations may be associated with more captive rhinoceros stillbirths than previously considered. Epidemiologic studies of these phenomena and possible nutritional deficiencies or hereditary defects are warranted. © 2010 Blackwell Verlag GmbH. Source

Hagedorn M.,Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute | Hagedorn M.,Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology | Carter V.,Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute | Carter V.,Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology | And 20 more authors.

Coral reefs are experiencing unprecedented degradation due to human activities, and protecting specific reef habitats may not stop this decline, because the most serious threats are global (i.e., climate change), not local. However, ex situ preservation practices can provide safeguards for coral reef conservation. Specifically, modern advances in cryobiology and genome banking could secure existing species and genetic diversity until genotypes can be introduced into rehabilitated habitats. We assessed the feasibility of recovering viable sperm and embryonic cells post-thaw from two coral species, Acropora palmata and Fungia scutaria that have diffferent evolutionary histories, ecological niches and reproductive strategies. In vitro fertilization (IVF) of conspecific eggs using fresh (control) spermatozoa revealed high levels of fertilization (>90% in A. palmata; >84% in F. scutaria; P>0.05) that were unaffected by tested sperm concentrations. A solution of 10% dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) at cooling rates of 20 to 30°C/min most successfully cryopreserved both A. palmata and F. scutaria spermatozoa and allowed producing developing larvae in vitro. IVF success under these conditions was 65% in A. palmata and 53% in F. scutaria on particular nights; however, on subsequent nights, the same process resulted in little or no IVF success. Thus, the window for optimal freezing of high quality spermatozoa was short (~5 h for one night each spawning cycle). Additionally, cryopreserved F. scutaria embryonic cells had~50% post-thaw viability as measured by intact membranes. Thus, despite some differences between species, coral spermatozoa and embryonic cells are viable after low temperature (-196°C) storage, preservation and thawing. Based on these results, we have begun systematically banking coral spermatozoa and embryonic cells on a large-scale as a support approach for preserving existing bio- and genetic diversity found in reef systems. Source

Osinga R.,Wageningen University | Schutter M.,Wageningen University | Wijgerde T.,Wageningen University | Rinkevich B.,National Institute of Oceanography of Israel | And 23 more authors.
Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

In order to improve the methodology for growing and maintaining corals in captivity, a consortium of European zoos, aquaria and academia executed a four-year public/private collaborative research and innovation project (CORALZOO) on the breeding and husbandry of stony corals. CORALZOO comprised the following topics: (1) sexual and asexual breeding of corals in captivity, including techniques for propagation, feeding and induction of natural coral colony morphogenesis; and (2) coral husbandry: development of generic bioassays to evaluate biotic and abiotic husbandry parameters and to monitor coral health, elaboration of methods for identification and treatment of coral diseases and optimization of transport and acclimation procedures. The results of this project are reviewed. Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2012. Source

Van Sonsbeek G.R.,University Utrecht | Van Der Kolk J.H.,University Utrecht | Van Leeuwen J.P.T.M.,Erasmus Medical Center | Everts H.,University Utrecht | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine

The aim of the current study was to assess the effect of oral calcium and cholecalciferol supplementation on several parameters of calcium status in plasma and urine of captive Asian (Elephas maximus; n = 10) and African elephants (Loxodonta africana; n = 6) and to detect potential species differences. Calcium and cholecalciferol supplementation were investigated in a feeding trial using a crossover design consisting of five periods of 28 days each in summer. From days 28-56 (period 2), elephants were fed the Ca-supplemented diet and from days 84-112, elephants were fed the cholecalciferol-supplemented diet (period 4). The control diet was fed during the other periods and was based on their regular ration, and the study was repeated similarly during winter. Periods 1, 3, and 5 were regarded as washout periods. This study revealed species-specific differences with reference to calcium and cholecalciferol supplementation. Asian elephants showed a significant increase in mean plasma total calcium concentration following calcium supplementation during summer, suggesting summer-associated subclinical hypocalcemia in Western Europe. During winter, no effect was seen after oral calcium supplementation, but a significant increase was seen both in mean plasma, total, and ionized calcium concentrations after cholecalciferol supplementation in Asian elephants. In contrast, evidence of subclinical hypocalcemia could be demonstrated neither in summer nor in winter in African elephants, although 28 days of cholecalciferol supplementation during winter reversed the decrease in plasma 1,25(OH)2-cholecalciferol and was followed by a significant increase in mean plasma total calcium concentration. Preliminary findings indicate that the advisable permanent daily intake for calcium in Asian elephants and cholecalciferol in both elephant species at least during winter might be higher than current guidelines. It is strongly recommended to monitor blood calcium concentrations and, if available, blood parathyroid hormone levels to adjust the nutritional supplementation for each individual elephant. © American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. Source

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