Personality and anxiety disorders across species are affected by genetic and environmental factors. Shyness-boldness personality continuum exists across species, including the domestic dog, with a large within- and across-breed variation. Domestic dogs are also diagnosed for several anxiety-related behavioral conditions, such as generalized anxiety disorders, phobias, and separation anxiety. Genetic and environmental factors contributing to personality and anxiety are largely unknown. We collected questionnaire data from a Finnish family dog population (N = 3264) in order to study the associating environmental factors for canine fearfulness, noise sensitivity, and separation anxiety. Early life experiences and exercise were found to associate with anxiety prevalence. We found that fearful dogs had less socialization experiences (p = 0.002) and lower quality of maternal care (p < 0.0001) during puppyhood. Surprisingly, the largest environmental factor associating with noise sensitivity (p < 0.0001) and separation anxiety (p = 0.007) was the amount of daily exercise; dogs with noise sensitivity and separation anxiety had less daily exercise. Our findings suggest that dogs share many of the same environmental factors that contribute to anxiety in other species as well, such as humans and rodents. Our study highlights the importance of early life experiences, especially the quality of maternal care and daily exercise for the welfare and management of the dogs, and reveals important confounding factors to be considered in the genetic characterization of canine anxiety.
Over 20% of Earth's terrestrial surface is underlain by permafrost with vast stores of carbon that, once thawed, may represent the largest future transfer of carbon from the biosphere to the atmosphere. This process is largely dependent on microbial responses, but we know little about microbial activity in intact, let alone in thawing, permafrost. Molecular approaches have recently revealed the identities and functional gene composition of microorganisms in some permafrost soils and a rapid shift in functional gene composition during short-term thaw experiments. However, the fate of permafrost carbon depends on climatic, hydrological and microbial responses to thaw at decadal scales. Here we use the combination of several molecular 'omics' approaches to determine the phylogenetic composition of the microbial communities, including several draft genomes of novel species, their functional potential and activity in soils representing different states of thaw: intact permafrost, seasonally thawed active layer and thermokarst bog. The multi-omics strategy reveals a good correlation of process rates to omics data for dominant processes, such as methanogenesis in the bog, as well as novel survival strategies for potentially active microbes in permafrost.
Wikelski M, Arriero E, Gagliardo A, Holland RA, Huttunen MJ, Juvaste R, Mueller I, Tertitski G, Thorup K, Wild M, Alanko M, Bairlein F, Cherenkov A, Cameron A, Flatz R, Hannila J, Huppop O, Kangasniemi M, Kranstauber B, Penttinen ML, Safi K, Semashko V, Schmid H, Wistbacka R
During migratory journeys, birds may become displaced from their normal migratory route. Experimental evidence has shown that adult birds can correct for such displacements and return to their goal. However, the nature of the cues used by migratory birds to perform long distance navigation is still debated. In this experiment we subjected adult lesser black-backed gulls migrating from their Finnish/Russian breeding grounds (from >60°N) to Africa (to < 5°N) to sensory manipulation, to determine the sensory systems required for navigation. We translocated birds westward (1080 km) or eastward (885 km) to simulate natural navigational challenges. When translocated westwards and outside their migratory corridor birds with olfactory nerve section kept a clear directional preference (southerly) but were unable to compensate for the displacement, while intact birds and gulls with the ophthalmic branch of the trigeminal nerve sectioned oriented towards their population-specific migratory corridor. Thus, air-borne olfactory information seems to be important for migrating gulls to navigate successfully in some circumstances.
Woolhouse, Mark E. J.; Thumbi, Samuel M.; Jennings, Amy; Chase-Topping, Margo; Callaby, Rebecca; Kiara, Henry; Oosthuizen, Marinda C.; Mbole-Kariuki, Mary N.; Conradie, Ilana; Handel, Ian G.; Poole, E. Jane; Njiiri, Evalyne; Collins, Nicola E.; Murray, Ge
Many individual hosts are infected with multiple parasite species, and this may increase or decrease the pathogenicity of the infections. This phenomenon is termed heterologous reactivity and is potentially an important determinant of both patterns of morbidity and mortality and of the impact of disease control measures at the population level. Using infections with Theileria parva (a tick-borne protozoan, related to Plasmodium) in indigenous African cattle [where it causes East Coast fever (ECF)] as a model system, we obtain the first quantitative estimate of the effects of heterologous reactivity for any parasitic disease. In individual calves, concurrent co-infection with less pathogenic species of Theileria resulted in an 89% reduction in mortality associated with T. parva infection. Across our study population, this corresponds to a net reduction in mortality due to ECF of greater than 40%. Using a mathematical model, we demonstrate that this degree of heterologous protection provides a unifying explanation for apparently disparate epidemiological patterns: variable disease-induced mortality rates, age-mortality profiles, weak correlations between the incidence of infection and disease (known as endemic stability), and poor efficacy of interventions that reduce exposure to multiple parasite species. These findings can be generalized to many other infectious diseases, including human malaria, and illustrate how co-infections can play a key role in determining population-level patterns of morbidity and mortality due to parasite infections.
Cuny, H. E.; Rathgeber, C. B. K.; Frank, D.; Fonti, P.; Mäkinen, H.; Prislan, P.; Rossi, S.; del Castillo, E. M.; Campelo, F.; Vavrcik, H.; Camarero, J. J.; Bryukhanova, M.; Jyske, T.; Gricar, J.; Gryc, V.; De Luis, M.; Vieira, J.; Cufar, K.; Kirdyanov, A
Stimulation of forest productivity by elevated concentrations of CO2 is expected to partially offset continued increases in anthropogenic CO2 emissions. However, multiple factors can impair the capacity of forests to act as carbon sinks; prominent among these are tropospheric O3 and nutrient limitations(1,2). Herbivorous insects also influence carbon and nutrient dynamics in forest ecosystems, yet are often ignored in ecosystem models of forest productivity. Here we assess the effects of elevated levels of CO2 and O3 on insect-mediated canopy damage and organic matter deposition in aspen and birch stands at the Aspen FACE facility in northern Wisconsin, United States. Canopy damage was markedly higher in the elevated CO2 stands, as was the deposition of organic substrates and nitrogen. The opposite trends were apparent in the elevated O3 stands. Using a light-use efficiency model, we show that the negative impacts of herbivorous insects on net primary production more than doubled under elevated concentrations of CO2, but decreased under elevated concentrations of O3. We conclude that herbivorous insects may limit the capacity of forests to function as sinks for anthropogenic carbon emissions in a high CO2 world.
Previous studies have demonstrated similarities in gazing behaviour of dogs and humans, but comparisons under similar conditions are rare, and little is known about dogs' visual attention to social scenes. Here, we recorded the eye gaze of dogs while they viewed images containing two humans or dogs either interacting socially or facing away: the results were compared with equivalent data measured from humans. Furthermore, we compared the gazing behaviour of two dog and two human populations with different social experiences: family and kennel dogs; dog experts and non-experts. Dogs' gazing behaviour was similar to humans: both species gazed longer at the actors in social interaction than in non-social images. However, humans gazed longer at the actors in dog than human social interaction images, whereas dogs gazed longer at the actors in human than dog social interaction images. Both species also made more saccades between actors in images representing non-conspecifics, which could indicate that processing social interaction of non-conspecifics may be more demanding. Dog experts and non-experts viewed the images very similarly. Kennel dogs viewed images less than family dogs, but otherwise their gazing behaviour did not differ, indicating that the basic processing of social stimuli remains similar regardless of social experiences.
We present a model for reporting accelerometer paradata (process-related data produced from survey administration) collected in the International Study of Childhood Obesity Lifestyle and the Environment (ISCOLE), a multi-national investigation of >7000 children (averaging 10.5 years of age) sampled from 12 different developed and developing countries and five continents.
ISCOLE employed a 24-hr waist worn 7-day protocol using the ActiGraph GT3X+. Checklists, flow charts, and systematic data queries documented accelerometer paradata from enrollment to data collection and treatment. Paradata included counts of consented and eligible participants, accelerometers distributed for initial and additional monitoring (site specific decisions in the face of initial monitoring failure), inadequate data (e.g., lost/malfunction, insufficient wear time), and averages for waking wear time, valid days of data, participants with valid data (≥4 valid days of data, including 1 weekend day), and minutes with implausibly high values (≥20,000 activity counts/min).
Of 7806 consented participants, 7372 were deemed eligible to participate, 7314 accelerometers were distributed for initial monitoring and another 106 for additional monitoring. 414 accelerometer data files were inadequate (primarily due to insufficient wear time). Only 29 accelerometers were lost during the implementation of ISCOLE worldwide. The final locked data file consisted of 6553 participant files (90.0% relative to number of participants who completed monitoring) with valid waking wear time, averaging 6.5 valid days and 888.4 minutes/day (14.8 hours). We documented 4762 minutes with implausibly high activity count values from 695 unique participants (9.4% of eligible participants and <0.01% of all minutes).
Detailed accelerometer paradata is useful for standardizing communication, facilitating study management, improving the representative qualities of surveys, tracking study endpoint attainment, comparing studies, and ultimately anticipating and controlling costs.
Context: Low vitamin D levels in adulthood have been associated with cardiovascular disease. Objective: To investigate if low vitamin D levels in childhood are related with increased carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) in adulthood. Design, Setting, and Participants: The analyses included 2148 subjects from the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study, aged 3-18 years at baseline (in 1980). Subjects were re-examined at age 30-45 years (in 2007). Childhood levels of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D were measured from stored serum in 2010. Main Outcome Measure: The carotid artery IMT from 2007 was used. Results: When adjusted for age, sex, and childhood risk factors, continuous data of childhood 25-OH vitamin was inversely associated with adulthood carotid IMT levels among females (β ± SE -0.006 ± 0.003, P = 0.03), but not among males (0.001 ± 0.004, P = 0.88). Children with 25-OH vitamin D levels in the lowest quartile (<40 nmol/L) had significantly increased odds of having high-risk IMT (highest decile of common carotid or carotid bulb IMT or carotid plaque) as adults, in analyses adjusted for age, sex and either childhood risk factors (odds ratio 1.70 [95 % CI 1.15-2.31], P = 0.0007) or adult risk factors, including adult vitamin D levels (odds ratio 1.80 [1.30-2.48], P = 0.0004). In sex-specific analyses, these associations were significant both in females and males (P always <0.05). In sensitivity analyses, those with childhood vitamin D levels in the lowest quintile (<37 nmol/L), gave similar results to those using a quartile cut-point. Conclusions: Low 25-OH vitamin D levels in childhood were associated with increased carotid IMT in adulthood.