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Dufour V.,University of Strasbourg | Dufour V.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Wascher C.A.F.,Konrad Lorenz Research Station | Wascher C.A.F.,University of Vienna | And 5 more authors.
Biology Letters | Year: 2012

Evidence for time-dependent calculations about future rewards is scarce in non-human animals. In non-human primates, only great apes are comparable with humans. Still, some species wait for several minutes to obtain a better reward in delayed exchange tasks. Corvids have been shown to match with non-human primates in some time-related tasks. Here, we investigate a delay of gratification in two corvid species, the carrion crow (Corvus corone) and the common raven (Corvus corax), in an exchange task. Results show that corvids success decreases quickly as delay increases, with a maximal delay of up to 320 s (more than 5 min). The decision to wait rests both on the quality of the prospective reward and the time required to obtain it. Corvids also apply tactics (placing the reward on the ground or caching it) that probably alleviate costs of waiting and distract their attention during waiting. These findings contrast previous results on delayed gratification in birds and indicate that some species may perform comparably to primates.© 2011 The Royal Society. Source

Pereira Y.M.,Zoological Medicine Ltd Cardiology | Pizzi R.,Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
Ultrasound | Year: 2012

Echocardiography is performed routinely in dogs and cats for the investigation of cardiac disease following well-established, published guidelines for the echocardiographic examination. However, such guidelines do not exist for other animal patients such as small pet mammals, zoo animals, wildlife, birds and reptiles. In these species, a detailed knowledge of the widely differing cardiovascular function and cardiac anatomy is necessary in order to interpret the echocardiographic examination. This varies widely, from the four-chambered mammalian heart, the muscular tricuspid valve and right aorta in birds, the three-chambered heart in reptiles and amphibians with intracardiac shunting of blood, to the two-chambered heart in fish. These are adaptations to very different natural histories and ecological niche requirements such as flying, diving and hibernation, and influence echocardiographic interpretation. Modifications to the echocardiographic technique are necessary in order to obtain a feasible acoustic window in view of differences in visceral and skeletal anatomy, such as the shell in tortoises, air sacs in birds and encircling ribs in snakes. The presence of scales, feathers and fur also contribute to difficulties in obtaining diagnostic quality images. Source

Muir A.P.,University of Glasgow | Muir A.P.,Institut Universitaire de France | Biek R.,University of Glasgow | Thomas R.,Royal Zoological Society of Scotland | Mable B.K.,University of Glasgow
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2014

Both environmental and genetic influences can result in phenotypic variation. Quantifying the relative contributions of local adaptation and phenotypic plasticity to phenotypes is key to understanding the effect of environmental variation on populations. Identifying the selective pressures that drive divergence is an important, but often lacking, next step. High gene flow between high- and low-altitude common frog (Rana temporaria) breeding sites has previously been demonstrated in Scotland. The aim of this study was to assess whether local adaptation occurs in the face of high gene flow and to identify potential environmental selection pressures that drive adaptation. Phenotypic variation in larval traits was quantified in R. temporaria from paired high- and low-altitude sites using three common temperature treatments. Local adaptation was assessed using QST-FST analyses, and quantitative phenotypic divergence was related to environmental parameters using Mantel tests. Although evidence of local adaptation was found for all traits measured, only variation in larval period and growth rate was consistent with adaptation to altitude. Moreover, this was only evident in the three mountains with the highest high-altitude sites. This variation was correlated with mean summer and winter temperatures, suggesting that temperature parameters are potentially strong selective pressures maintaining local adaptation, despite high gene flow. © 2014 The Authors. Molecular Ecology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

Campbell-Palmer R.,Royal Zoological Society of Scotland | Campbell-Palmer R.,Telemark University College | Rosell F.,Telemark University College
Zoo Biology | Year: 2015

Beavers (Castor spp.) tend not to be a commonly held species and little published material exists relating to their captive care. We review published material and discuss husbandry issues taking into account the requirements of wild beavers. As social mammals with complex chemical communication systems and with such an ability to modify their environments, studies of wild counterparts suggest the captive requirements of beavers may actually be more sophisticated than generally perceived. Common field techniques may have practical application in the captive setting. Their widespread utilisation in conservation, including reintroductions, translocations and habitat management, also requires components of captive care. As welfare science advances there is increasing pressure on captive collections to improve standards and justify the keeping of animals. Conservation science is increasingly challenged to address individual welfare standards. Further research focusing on the captive care of beavers is required. Zoo Biol. 34:101-109, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

Campbell-Palmer R.,Royal Zoological Society of Scotland | Campbell-Palmer R.,Telemark University College | Rosell F.,Telemark University College
Mammal Review | Year: 2010

Chemical communication in mammals includes an array of specific behaviours that are often ignored in terms of their potential relevance to conservation. Often used during territorial or social interactions between animals, chemical communication can also be used as a tool in reintroduction programmes. Reintroductions still exhibit high failure rates and methods to improve success should be investigated. The Eurasian beaver Castor fiber has been widely reintroduced across Europe after its near extinction in the 19th century. Using olfactory studies in the beaver, we aim to demonstrate how scent transfers a range of information about the sender which can be used to monitor social and territorial behaviour along with general well-being. Scent manipulation can be used to reduce human-beaver conflicts, and aid reintroduction success through reducing stress and territorial conflicts, and by influencing dispersal and settlement. Two species of beavers, the Eurasian beaver and the North American beaver Castor canadensis, occupy freshwater habitats throughout North America and in parts of South America, most of Europe and parts of Asia. Most of the reviewed literature concerns the wild Eurasian beaver, its chemical communication and conservation; however, captive studies and those addressing North American beavers are also included. Chemical communication is advanced and has been well documented in this highly territorial species. However, few studies directly link olfaction with conservation practices. Olfactory studies in beavers can provide non-invasive methods to monitor translocated animals and indicators of health. We conclude that chemical analysis, olfactory studies and behavioural manipulations involving semiochemicals have important impacts on conservation and can generate practical solutions to conservation problems including aiding animal capture, captive stress reduction, breeding pair formation and release site fidelity. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 Mammal Society. Source

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