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Atlanta, GA, United States

Venesky M.D.,University of South Florida | Mendelson J.R.,Zoo Atlanta | Mendelson J.R.,Georgia Institute of Technology | Sears B.F.,University of South Florida | And 2 more authors.
Conservation Biology | Year: 2012

Some species have insufficient defenses against climate change, emerging infectious diseases, and non-native species because they have not been exposed to these factors over their evolutionary history, and this can decrease their likelihood of persistence. Captive breeding programs are sometimes used to reintroduce individuals back into the wild; however, successful captive breeding and reintroduction can be difficult because species or populations often cannot coexist with non-native pathogens and herbivores without artificial selection. In captive breeding programs, breeders can select for host defenses that prevent or reduce pathogen or herbivore burden (i.e., resistance) or traits that limit the effects of parasitism or herbivory on host fitness (i.e., tolerance). We propose that selection for host tolerance may enhance the success of reintroduction or translocation because tolerant hosts generally have neutral effects on introduced pathogens and herbivores. The release of resistant hosts would have detrimental effects on their natural enemies, promoting rapid evolution to circumvent the host resistance that may reduce the long-term probability of persistence of the reintroduced or translocated species. We examined 2 case studies, one on the pathogenic amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis [Bd]) and the other on the herbivorous cactus moth (Cactoblastis cactorum) in the United States, where it is not native. In each case study, we provide recommendations for how captive breeders and managers could go about selecting for host tolerance. Selecting for tolerance may offer a promising tool to rescue hosts species from invasive natural enemies as well as new natural enemies associated with climate change-induced range shifts. © 2012 Society for Conservation Biology. Source


Mendelson III J.R.,Zoo Atlanta | Mulcahy D.G.,Smithsonian Institution
Zootaxa | Year: 2010

We de s cribe Incilius karenlipsae sp. nov., a new species of toad known from a single locality in the Cordillera de Talamanca of central Panama. We describe this species based on a single individual of perhaps what is now an extinct species. We present mitochondrial sequence data from cyt b (675 base-pairs, bp) and 16S (566 bp) to infer its phylogenetic placement among other bufonids. The new species is closely related to the more widespread species I. coniferus, but is clearly distinguishable from it by its larger size, vestigial parotoid glands and extensively developed fleshy pads on the hands and feet. Copyright © 2010 Magnolia Press. Source


Weiss A.,University of Edinburgh | Gartner M.C.,University of Edinburgh | Gold K.C.,2937 North Albany Avenue | Stoinski T.S.,Zoo Atlanta
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2013

Personality plays an important role in determining human health and risk of earlier death. However, the mechanisms underlying those associations remain unknown. We moved away from testing hypotheses rooted in the activities of modern humans, by testing whether these associations are ancestral and one side of a trade-off between fitness costs and benefits. We examined personality predictors of survival in 283 captive western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) followed for 18 years. We found that of four gorilla personality dimensions-dominance, extraversion, neuroticism and agreeableness-extraversion was associated with longer survival. This effect could not be explained by demographic information or husban- dry practices. These findings suggest that understanding how extraversion and other personality domains influence longevity requires investigating the evolutionary bases of this association in nonhuman primates and other species. © 2012 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. Source


Dindo M.,George Washington University | Dindo M.,Smithsonian Institution | Dindo M.,University of St. Andrews | Stoinski T.,Zoo Atlanta | Whiten A.,University of St. Andrews
Biology Letters | Year: 2011

Field reports suggest that orangutans acquire local traditions by observing neighbouring conspecifics. However, there is little direct evidence of social learning to support this conclusion. The present study investigated whether orangutans would learn a novel foraging method through observation of a conspecific in a diffusion-chain paradigm testing for the spread of the behaviour. A foraging box with two possible methods for extracting food was used to investigate the transmission of a foraging tradition among zoo-living subjects. In a socially housed group of five orangutans, the dominant male was trained to use one technique exclusively to retrieve food. He then performed this technique in the presence of another group member, who was then allowed to forage. After several trials, the observer became the model for the next individual. A second experimental group of six individuals was introduced to the alternative method. The model-seeded technique was successfully transmitted along both experimental chains, with significant preferences for the model method. These results are consistent with claims for social transmission of foraging methods in wild orangutans. © 2011 The Royal Society. Source


News Article | August 24, 2016
Site: http://www.reuters.com

ATLANTA (Reuters) - The mother of the only giant panda twins in the United States may soon deliver a second set of twins, Zoo Atlanta said on Tuesday, capping off an eventful month for lovers of the fluffy black and white bears across the globe.

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