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Seattle, WA, United States

Hobson K.A.,Environment Canada | Kardynal K.J.,Environment Canada | Van Wilgenburg S.L.,Environment Canada | Albrecht G.,Woodland Park Zoo | And 4 more authors.

Populations of most North American aerial insectivores have undergone steep population declines over the past 40 years but the relative importance of factors operating on breeding, wintering, or stopover sites remains unknown. We used archival light-level geolocators to track the phenology, movements and winter locations of barn swallows (Hirdundo rustica; n = 27) from populations across North America to determine their migratory connectivity. We identified an east-west continental migratory divide for barn swallows with birds from western regions (Washington State, USA (n = 8) and Saskatchewan, Canada (n = 5)) traveling shorter distances to wintering areas ranging from Oregon to northern Colombia than eastern populations (Ontario (n = 3) and New Brunswick (n = 10), Canada) which wintered in South America south of the Amazon basin. A single swallow from a stable population in Alabama shared a similar migration route to eastern barn swallows but wintered farther north in northeast Brazil indicating a potential leap frog pattern migratory among eastern birds. Six of 9 (67%) birds from the two eastern populations and Alabama underwent a loop migration west of fall migration routes including around the Gulf of Mexico travelling a mean of 2,224 km and 722 km longer on spring migration, respectively. Longer migration distances, including the requirement to cross the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico and subsequent shorter sedentary wintering periods, may exacerbate declines for populations breeding in north-eastern North America. © 2015 Hobson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Source

News Article | March 16, 2010
Site: venturebeat.com

A new company is launching today to manage the growing data needs of popular web applications. NorthScale built its tools around the open source memcached technology, and it has already enlisted some high-profile venture firms and customers. In fact, the company was basically incubated by Accel Partners, which helped put the founding team together and orchestrated its $5 million first round of funding — Accel’s Kevin Efrusy said his firm saw an opportunity around the “explosion of orders of magnitude more data” used by web applications, and specifically around memcached, a memory caching system that helps companies access their data more quickly. In addition to Accel, North Bridge Venture Partners also participated in the round. Memcached is already used in some form by many popular web applications including Facebook (an Accel investment), but Mountain View, Calif.-based NorthScale is rolling out commercial products to help companies take advantage of the technology. The team is uniquely equipped for the job, because it includes key players from the memcached project, said co-founder and chief strategy officer James Phillips. According to the NorthScale website, the company’s technical team has contributed more than half of memcached’s code base. Phillips contrasts that with other companies offering products around memcached, such as Schooner Information Technology and Gear6. Those companies are essentially hardware companies, he said — Schooner, for example, offers flash memory chips that use memcached. “With Schooner and Gear6, if you look at who the contributors to memcached are, they’re just not the guys who have done this stuff,” Phillips said. NorthScale is announcing two products today. The first, the NorthScale Memcached Server, offers memcached alongside a standard relational database. That’s the NorthScale version of what many companies are doing already, Phillips said, so it’s a good first step for using NorthScale products. However, he said memcached is really only a “Band-Aid for the ultimate problem,” that normal databases just aren’t a good way to store data on the scale that web applications need. That’s where the next product, the NorthScale Membase Server comes in — it doesn’t just run memcached alongside a relational database, it also stores the data in a new kind of database that’s built around memcached. Phillips said Membase should “look like memcached” to the companies using it. The company’s first customers are a pair of popular gaming sites. One is social gaming giant Zynga, maker of Farmville, which says it’s using Membase to serve its 235 million monthly unique users. The other is Korean web gaming company NHN, which says it serves 150 million unique visitors each month, and which is using the Memcached Server.

Frederick C.,University of Washington | Kyes R.,University of Washington | Hunt K.,University of Washington | Collins D.,Woodland Park Zoo | And 2 more authors.

The objective was to explore multiple methods for detecting and characterizing the reproductive cycle of the sun bear (Helarctos malayanus). Thirteen H. m. euryspilus females, loaned from the Malaysian government to US zoos, were used. Fecal metabolite concentrations of estrogen and progesterone were compared to vaginal cytology, changes in genital appearance, and behavior (videotapes and zookeeper observations). Cytology and video behavior were characterized during five hormonally defined states: high, low, and baseline progesterone, estrus, and high estrogen. Among states, there were significant differences in cytology and behavior. Sexual, affiliative, and stereotypic behaviors were highest during estrus, whereas affiliative and social behaviors were lowest during high progesterone. In this captive breeding population, 30.8% of females cycled two or three times a year, 30.8% cycled once a year, and 38.5% did not cycle during this study. Inter-estrus intervals were (mean ± SEM) 115.7 ± 6.3 d (range, 101-131). Spearman rank correlations were significant between both ordinal sexual and affiliative behaviors and vulva swelling and color. Sexual behavior was significantly positively correlated with superficial and keratinized cells, but negatively correlated with parabasal and basophilic cells in cycling females (opposite pattern for appetitive behavior). In conclusion, data for cytology, vulva changes and behavior were consistent with, and complementary to, hormonal data; collectively, they delineated estrus and identified specific reproductive types. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. Source

Garcia-Perez B.,University of Saskatchewan | Hobson K.A.,University of Saskatchewan | Hobson K.A.,Environment Canada | Albrecht G.,Woodland Park Zoo | And 2 more authors.

Population dynamics of migratory birds are influenced by both local weather and larger-scale patterns in climate that can operate at various stages of their annual cycle. We investigated correlations between (1) annual climatic indices and weather during the breeding season and (2) the annual survival of Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) breeding at 2 sites in North America. Mark-recapture data collected during a 10-yr period for each of the 2 colonies in eastern and western North America were analyzed to model annual survival probabilities. Annual survival rates of Barn Swallows breeding in Seattle, Washington, USA, were higher in years preceded by El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) winters and higher in years with more positive North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) values. ENSO was expected to primarily influence wintering conditions through rainfall amount, and NAO was expected to influence climate on the breeding grounds; thus, climatic conditions on both breeding and wintering grounds likely affected the survival of these Seattle-breeding birds. By contrast, annual survival of swallows breeding in southern Ontario, Canada, remained constant over time and were not affected by any of the climatic parameters studied, which suggests that NAO did not have a strong effect on climatic conditions there and/or that these birds winter in regions where ENSO is not strongly correlated with local weather conditions. Alternatively, there may be less geographic variation in wintering-ground locations for Barn Swallows breeding in Seattle, resulting in stronger ENSO effects on survival for the Seattle population. Our results demonstrate how correlations between climate patterns on wintering grounds and annual survival can provide information on migratory connectivity at continental scales and underline the importance of local weather conditions throughout the annual cycle on survivorship and population dynamics of aerial insectivorous birds. © 2014 American Ornithologists' Union. Source

Bettigole C.A.,University of Vermont | Donovan T.M.,U.S. Geological Survey | Manning R.,University of Vermont | Long R.,Woodland Park Zoo
Biological Conservation

The conversion of natural lands to developed uses may pose the single greatest human threat to global terrestrial biodiversity. Continued human growth and development over the next century will further exacerbate these effects of habitat loss and fragmentation. Natural resource managers are tasked with managing wildlife as a public trust, yet often have little say in land use decisions. Generally speaking, decision makers could benefit from an understanding of what different regulations mean in terms of wildlife distribution. In a previous paper (Bettigole et al., 2013), we surveyed town residents throughout Vermont to measure how respondents feel about a range of development levels within their town boundaries. We estimated the "social carrying capacity for development" - or SKd - for 251 towns in Vermont. SKd provides an estimate of the level of developed land cover classes that town residents deem "acceptable" within their town boundaries. In this paper, we design a framework for linking the town-specific SKd estimates with the wildlife distribution patterns for three wide-ranging mammalian species: American black bear (Ursus americanus), fisher (Martes pennanti), and bobcat (Lynx rufus). We simulated landscape conditions at SKd for each town in Vermont, and then used existing occupancy models for the three target species to spatially map and compare occupancy rates in the baseline year 2000 with occupancy rates at SKd. With nearly 90% of Vermont towns willing to increase developed landcover classes within town boundaries compared to baseline levels, significant state-wide changes in occupancy rates were predicted for all three focal species. Average occupancy rates declined by -15.9% and -3.1% for black bear and bobcats, respectively. Average occupancy rates for fisher increased by 9.0%. This study provides a method for linking development standards within a town with wildlife occurrence. Across towns, the methodology spatially identifies areas that may be at risk of future development, as well as identifying areas where wildlife distribution patterns may face future change as a result of increased human population growth and development. © 2013. Source

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