Recent Submissions

  • Slow on the draw: the representation of turtles, terrapins and tortoises in children’s literature

    Beaumont, Ellen S.; Briers, Erin; Harrison, Emma; University of Derby; The Orkney Campus of Heriot-Watt University, Stromness (Springer, 2019-08-08)
    Children’s picture books, both fiction and non-fiction, play a vital role in introducing the reader to the natural world. Here we examine the representation of turtles, terrapins and tortoises (Testudines) in 204 English language picture books and find a mean of 3.9 (SD 9.1) basic biological errors per book. Only 83 (40.7%) of the examined books were found to be error-free in the representation of Testudines, with no significant improvement in biological accuracy being observed over time (book publication date range 1974–2017). Suggestions are made as to how biological accuracy of children’s literature could be improved to help foster children’s understanding and wonder of the natural world. Fantasy and imagination have an important role within children’s literature, but here it is argued that the books children read should support future generations having sufficient understanding of the natural world to imagine the solutions to current environmental problems. A role of children’s picture books should not be to reinforce biological illiteracy.
  • Lower crustal heterogeneity and fractional crystallisation control evolution of small volume magma batches at ocean island volcanoes (Ascension Island, South Atlantic)

    Chamberlain, Katy J.; Barclay, Jenni; Preece, Katie; Brown, Richard J.; Davidson, Jon P.; Durham University; University of Derby; University of East Anglia; Swansea University (Oxford University Press, 2019-08-10)
    Ocean island volcanoes erupt a wide range of magmatic compositions via a diverse range of eruptive styles. Understanding where and how these melts evolve is thus an essential component in the anticipation of future volcanic activity. Here we examine the role of crustal structure and magmatic flux in controlling the location, evolution and ultimately composition of melts at Ascension Island. Ascension Island, in the south Atlantic, is an ocean island volcano which has produced a continuum of eruptive compositions from basalt to rhyolite in its 1-million-year subaerial eruptive history. Volcanic rocks broadly follow a silica undersaturated subalkaline evolutionary trend and new data presented here show a continuous compositional trend from basalt through trachyte to rhyolite. Detailed petrographic observations are combined with in-situ geochemical analyses of crystals and glass, and new whole rock major and trace element data from mafic and felsic pyroclastic and effusive deposits that span the entire range in eruptive ages and compositions found on Ascension Island. These data show that extensive fractional crystallisation is the main driver for the production of felsic melt for Ascension Island; a volcano built on thin, young, oceanic crust. Strong spatial variations in the compositions of erupted magmas reveals the role of a heterogeneous lower crust: differing degrees of interaction with a zone of plutonic rocks are responsible for the range in mafic lava composition, and for the formation of the central and eastern felsic complexes. A central core of nested small-scale plutonic, or mush-like, bodies inhibits the ascent of mafic magmas, allowing sequential fractional crystallisation within the lower crust, and generating felsic magmas in the core of the island. There is no evidence for magma mixing preserved in any of the studied eruptions, suggesting that magma storage regions are transient, and material is not recycled between eruptions.
  • Growth rate, extinction and survival amongst late Cenozoic bivalves of the North Atlantic

    Johnson, Andrew L. A.; Harper, Elizabeth M.; Clarke, Abigail; Featherstone, Aaron C.; Heywood, Daniel J.; Richardson, Kathryn E.; Spink, Jack O.; Thornton, Luke A.H.; University of Derby (Taylor & Francis, 2019-09-12)
    Late Cenozoic bivalve extinction in the North Atlantic and adjacent areas has been attributed to environmental change (declines in temperature and primary production). Within scallops and oysters—bivalve groups with a high growth rate—certain taxa which grew exceptionally fast became extinct, while others which grew slower survived. The taxa which grew exceptionally fast would have obtained protection from predators thereby, so their extinction may have been due to the detrimental effect of environmental change on growth rate and ability to avoid predation, rather than environmental change per se. We investigated some glycymeridid and carditid bivalves—groups with a much lower growth rate than scallops and oysters—to see whether extinct forms from the late Cenozoic of the North Atlantic grew faster than extant forms, and hence whether their extinction may also have been mediated by increased mortality due to predation. Growth rate was determined from the cumulative width of annual increments in the hinge area; measurements were scaled up to overall shell size for the purposes of comparison with data from living species. Growth of the extinct glycymeridid Glycymeris subovata was at about the same rate as the slowest-growing living glycymeridid and much slower than in late Cenozoic samples of extant G. americana, in which growth was at about the same rate as the fastest-growing living glycymeridid. Growth of extinct G. obovata was also slower than G. americana, and that of the extinct carditid Cardites squamulosa ampla similarly slow (evidently slower than in the one living carditid species for which data are available). These findings indicate that within bivalve groups whose growth is much slower than scallops and oysters, extinction or survival of taxa through the late Cenozoic was not influenced by whether they were relatively fast or slow growers. By implication, environmental change acted directly to cause extinctions in slow-growing groups, rather than by increasing susceptibility to predation.
  • Bridging the gap: 40Ar/39Ar dating of volcanic eruptions from the ‘Age of Discovery’

    Preece, Katie; Mark, Darren F.; Barclay, Jenni; Cohen, Benjamin E.; Chamberlain, Katy J.; Jowitt, Claire; Vye-Brown, Charlotte; Brown, Richard J.; Hamilton, Scott; Isotope Geoscience Unit, Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, East Kilbride; et al. (Geological Society of America, 2018-11-09)
    Many volcanoes worldwide still have poorly resolved eruption histories, with the date of the last eruption often undetermined. One such example is Ascension Island, where the timing of the last eruption, and consequently, the activity status of the volcano, is unclear. Here, we use the 40Ar/39Ar dating technique to resolve ages of the three youngest lava flows on the island, which are hawaiites and mugearite with 1.5 – 1.9 wt% K2O. In dating these lavas, we provide the first evidence of Holocene volcanic activity on Ascension (0.51 ± 0.18 ka; 0.55 ± 0.12 ka; 1.64 ± 0.37 ka), determining that it should be classed as an active volcanic system. In addition, we demonstrate that the 40Ar/39Ar method can reproducibly date mafic lava flows younger than 1 ka, decreasing the gap between recorded history and geological dating. These results offer new prospects for determining patterns of late-Holocene volcanic activity; critical for accurate volcanic hazard assessment.
  • Analogue Modeling of Plate Rotation Effects in Transform Margins and Rift‐Transform Intersections

    Farangitakis, Georgios-Pavlos; Sokoutis, D; McCaffrey, Kenneth; Willingshofer , Ernst; Kalnins, Lara; Phethean, Jordan; van Hunen, Jeroen; van steen, V; University of Durham; University of Oslo; et al. (Wiley, 2019-01-29)
    Transform margins are first‐order tectonic features that accommodate oceanic spreading. Uncertainties remain about their evolution, genetic relationship to oceanic spreading, and general structural character. When the relative motion of the plates changes during the margin evolution, further structural complexity is added. This work investigates the evolution of transform margins and associated rift‐transform intersections, using an analogue modeling approach that simulates changing plate motions. We investigate the effects of different crustal rheologies by using either (a) a two‐layer brittle‐ductile configuration to simulate upper and lower continental crust, or (b) a single layer brittle configuration to simulate oceanic crust. The modeled rifting is initially orthogonal, followed by an imposed plate vector change of 7° that results in oblique rifting and plate overlap (transpression) or underlap (transtension) along each transform margin. This oblique deformation reactivates and overprints earlier orthogonal structures and is representative of natural examples. We find that (a) a transtensional shift in the plate direction produces a large strike‐slip principal displacement zone, accompanied by en‐echelon oblique‐normal faults that accommodate the horizontal displacement until the new plate motion vector is stabilized, while (b) a transpressional shift produces compressional structures such as thrust fronts in a triangular zone in the area of overlap. These observations are in good agreement with natural examples from the Gulf of California (transtensional) and Tanzania Coastal Basin (transpressional) shear margins and illustrate that when these deformation patterns are present, a component of plate vector change should be considered in the evolution of transform margins.
  • Urban meadows as an alternative to short mown grassland: effects of composition and height on biodiversity

    Norton, Briony, A.; Bending, Gary, D.; Clark, Rachel; Corstanje, Ron; Dunnett, Nigel; Evans, Karl, L.; Grafius, Darren, R.; Gravestock, Emily; Grice, Samuel, M.; Harris, Jim, A.; et al. (Ecological Society of America, 2019-07-22)
    There are increasing calls to provide greenspace in urban areas, yet the ecological quality, as well as quantity, of greenspace is important. Short mown grassland designed for recreational use is the dominant form of urban greenspace in temperate regions but requires considerable maintenance and typically provides limited habitat value for most taxa. Alternatives are increasingly proposed, but the biodiversity potential of these is not well understood. In a replicated experiment across six public urban greenspaces, we used nine different perennial meadow plantings to quantify the relative roles of floristic diversity and height of sown meadows on the richness and composition of three taxonomic groups: plants, invertebrates, and soil microbes. We found that all meadow treatments were colonized by plant species not sown in the plots, suggesting that establishing sown meadows does not preclude further locally determined grassland development if management is appropriate. Colonizing species were rarer in taller and more diverse plots, indicating competition may limit invasion rates. Urban meadow treatments contained invertebrate and microbial communities that differed from mown grassland. Invertebrate taxa responded to changes in both height and richness of meadow vegetation, but most orders were more abundant where vegetation height was longer than mown grassland. Order richness also increased in longer vegetation and Coleoptera family richness increased with plant diversity in summer. Microbial community composition seems sensitive to plant species composition at the soil surface (0–10 cm), but in deeper soils (11–20 cm) community variation was most responsive to plant height, with bacteria and fungi responding differently. In addition to improving local residents’ site satisfaction, native perennial meadow plantings can produce biologically diverse grasslands that support richer and more abundant invertebrate communities, and restructured plant, invertebrate, and soil microbial communities compared with short mown grassland. Our results suggest that diversification of urban greenspace by planting urban meadows in place of some mown amenity grassland is likely to generate substantial biodiversity benefits, with a mosaic of meadow types likely to maximize such benefits.
  • The use of animal-borne cameras to video-track the behaviour of domestic cats.

    Huck, Maren; Watson, Samantha; University of Derby; Manchester Metropolitan University (Elsevier, 2019-05-07)
    Free roaming domestic animals can have a profound effect on wildlife. To better understand and mitigate any impact, it is important to understand the behaviour patterns of the domestic animals, and how other variables might influence their behaviour. Direct observation is not always feasible and bears the potential risk of observer effects. The use of animal-borne small videocameras provides the opportunity to study behaviour from the animal’s point of view. While video-tracking has been used previously to study specific aspects of the behaviour of a species, it has not been used so far to determine detailed time-budgets. The aim of this study was to provide and validate an ethogram based on cat-camera footage collected from 16 cats (Felis catus). The methodology was validated comparing films recorded simultaneously, from both collar-mounted video recorders and hand-held video recorders. Additionally, the inter-observer reliability of scorers was measured. Continuous and instantaneous recording regimes were compared, and behavioural accumulation curves were evaluated to provide further technique recommendations for video-tracking cats. Video-tracking allows scoring of behaviour as reliably as direct observation (linear mixed effects model: t<0.001, P = 0.99; df= 14 in 7 cats; Cohen's κ =0.88). Furthermore, interobserver reliability was high (Cohen's κ = 0.72) and was not significantly different from 0.8 (one-sample t-test: t=1.15. df=5, P = 0.30), indicating that the method is not subject to bias in observers. Recommendations are given for the most efficient scoring protocol to reliably record feline behaviour. While the validation was concerned with cat behaviour, the approach can be easily adapted for a variety of domestic species, as well as some captive animals. Video-tracking offers a new avenue to investigate both general time-budgets and more specific behaviours such as foraging or space use from the animal's point of view and in its normal environment, without restrictions to movement. Insights gained through video-tracking will be relevant to various conservation and animal welfare issues.
  • Using GIS-linked Bayesian Belief Networks as a tool for modelling urban biodiversity.

    Corstanje, Ron; Warren, Philip H.; Evans, Karl L.; Siriwardena, Gavin M.; Pescott, Oliver L.; Plummer, Kate E.; Mears, Meghann; Zawadzka, Joanna; Richards, J. Paul; Harris, Jim A.; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-05-30)
    The ability to predict spatial variation in biodiversity is a long-standing but elusive objective of landscape ecology. It depends on a detailed understanding of relationships between landscape and patch structure and taxonomic richness, and accurate spatial modelling. Complex heterogeneous environments such as cities pose particular challenges, as well as heightened relevance, given the increasing rate of urbanisation globally. Here we use a GIS-linked Bayesian Belief Network approach to test whether landscape and patch structural characteristics (including vegetation height, green-space patch size and their connectivity) drive measured taxonomic richness of numerous invertebrate, plant, and avian groups. We find that modelled richness is typically higher in larger and better-connected green-spaces with taller vegetation, indicative of more complex vegetation structure and consistent with the principle of ‘bigger, better, and more joined up’. Assessing the relative importance of these variables indicates that vegetation height is the most influential in determining richness for a majority of taxa. There is variation, however, between taxonomic groups in the relationships between richness and landscape structural characteristics, and the sensitivity of these relationships to particular predictors. Consequently, despite some broad commonalities, there will be trade-offs between different taxonomic groups when designing urban landscapes to maximise biodiversity. This research demonstrates the feasibility of using a GIS-coupled Bayesian Belief Network approach to model biodiversity at fine spatial scales in complex landscapes where current data and appropriate modelling approaches are lacking, and our findings have important implications for ecologists, conservationists and planners.
  • Global Invasive Potential of 10 Parasitic Witchweeds and Related Orobanchaceae

    Mohamed, Kamal I.; Papes, Monica; Williams, Richard; Benz, Brett W.; Peterson, A. Townsend; Department of Biology, Oswego State University of New York, Oswego, NY 13126 USA; Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045 USA. (Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, 2006-09-01)
    The plant family Orobanchaceae includes many parasitic weeds that are also impressive invaders and aggressive crop pests with several specialized features (e.g. microscopic seeds, parasitic habits). Although they have provoked several large-scale eradication and control efforts, no global evaluation of their invasive potential is as yet available. We use tools from ecological niche modeling in combination with occurrence records from herbarium specimens to evaluate the global invasive potential of each of 10 species in this assemblage, representing several of the worst global invaders. The invasive potential of these species is considerable, with all tropical and subtropical countries, and most temperate countries, vulnerable to invasions by one or more of them.
  • Yaoundé-like virus in resident wild bird, Ghana

    Williams, Richard A. J.; Vázquez, Ana; Asante, Ivy; Bonney, Kofi; Odoom, Shirley; Puplampu, Naiki; Ampofo, William; Sánchez-Seco, María Paz; Tenorio, Antonio; Peterson, A. Townsend; et al. (Academic journals, 2012-03-09)
    Tissue and swab samples from 551 wild birds collected in Ghana (October-November 2007) were assayed for alphaviruses, flaviviruses, and influenza A viruses using polymerase chain (PCR) techniques. One pool sample tested positive for Flavivirus RNA; further testing revealed that the amplified sequence was Yaoundé virus (YAOV), or closely related to it. YAOV is an apparently rare Flavivirus closely related to medically important human pathogens Japanese Encephalitis virus and West Nile virus. It is known only from West Africa. This is the first detection from Ghana, and only the second detection from a bird. Samples were negative for alphaviruses and Influenza A virus.
  • Avian influenza infections in non-migratant land birds in Andean Peru

    Williams, Richard A. J.; Segovia-Hinostroza, Karen; Ghersi, Bruno M.; Gonzaga, Victor; Peterson, A. Townsend; Montgomery, Joel M.; Biodiversity Institute, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd., University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045, USA; Departamento de Zoologı´a y Antropologıa Fısica, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, C/Jose Antonio Novais, 2 Ciudad Universitaria, 28040 Madrid, Spain; Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria de Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Av. Circunvalacion Cdra. 28 San Borja, Lima, Peru; United States Naval Medical Research Center Detachment, Unit 6, Av. Venezuela Cdra. 36, Callao 2, Lima, Peru (Wildlife Disease Association, 2012-06-13)
    As part of ongoing surveillance for avian influenza viruses (AIV) in Peruvian birds, in June 2008, we sampled 600 land birds of 177 species, using real-time reverse-transcription PCR. We addressed the assumption that AIV prevalence is low or nil among land birds, a hypothesis that was not supported by the results—rather, we found AIV infections at relatively high prevalences in birds of the orders Apodiformes (hummingbirds) and Passeriformes (songbirds). Surveillance programs for monitoring spread and identification of AIV should thus not focus solely on water birds.
  • Herbicides increase the vulnerability of corals to rising sea surface temperature

    Negri, Andrew P.; Flores, Florita; Röthig, Till; Uthicke, Sven; Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, Queensland, Australia (Wiley, 2011-02-03)
    In order to examine the potential interactive pressures of local pollution and global climate change, we exposed corals and crustose coralline algae (CCA) to three agricultural photosystem II (PSII) herbicides at four temperatures (26–32°C). The coral Acropora millepora was 3‐ to 10‐fold more sensitive to the three herbicides than the CCA Neogoniolithon fosliei. While the photosynthesis of CCA was not affected by the herbicide concentrations used (< 1 μg L−1), temperatures of 31°C and 32°C alone significantly inhibited photosynthetic efficiency (ΔF:F′m) and caused chronic photoinhibition (reduced Fv:Fm) and substantial bleaching. Environmentally relevant concentrations of each herbicide increased the negative effects of thermal stress on coral at 31°C and 32°C. Mixed model analyses of variance showed that the effects of elevated sea surface temperatures (SST) and herbicide on photosynthetic efficiency of coral symbionts were additive. Furthermore, the effect of either diuron or atrazine in combination with higher SST (31°C and 32°C) on chronic photoinhibition was distinctly greater than additive (synergistic). Reducing the herbicide concentration by 1 μg L−1 diuron above 30°C would protect photosynthetic efficiency by the equivalent of 1.8°C and reduce chronic photoinhibition by the equivalent of a 1°C reduction. Reduced water quality increases the vulnerability of corals to elevated SSTs, and effective management of local water quality can reduce negative effects of global stressors such as elevated SST.
  • Life history, environment and extinction of the scallop Carolinapecten eboreus (Conrad) in the Plio-Pleistocene of the U.S. eastern seaboard.

    Johnson, Andrew L. A.; Valentine, Annemarie M.; Leng, Melanie J.; Schöne, Bernd R.; Sloane, Hilary J.; University of Derby; Nottingham Trent University; British Geological Survey; University of Mainz (SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), 2019-02-01)
    Plio-Pleistocene mass extinction of marine bivalves on the U.S. eastern seaboard has been attributed to declines in temperature and primary production. We investigate the relationship of growth rate in the scallop Carolinapecten eboreus to variation in these parameters to determine which contributed to its extinction. We use ontogenetic profiles of shell d18O to estimate growth rate and seasonal temperature, microgrowth-increment data to validate d18O-based figures for growth rate, and shell d13C to supplement assemblage evidence of production. Postlarval growth started in the spring/summer in individuals from the Middle Atlantic Coastal Plain but in the autumn/winter in some from the Gulf Coastal Plain. Growth rate typically declined with age and was usually higher in summer than winter. Many individuals died in winter but the largest forms typically died in spring, possibly on spawning for the first time. No individuals lived longer than two years and some grew exceedingly fast overall, up to 60% more rapidly than any other scallop species (, 145.7 mm in a year). Faster growth was generally achieved by secreting more rather than larger microgrowth increments. Some very fast-growing individuals lived in settings of high production and low temperature. No individuals grew slowly under high production whereas most if not all grew slowly under ‘average’ production and low temperature. In that the rapid growth evidently enabled by high production would have afforded protection from predators, Plio-Pleistocene decline in production was probably contributory to the extinction of C. eboreus. However, the negative impact of low temperature on growth under ‘average’ production suggests that temperature decline played some part.
  • Polymerase chain reaction detection of avipox and avian papillomavirus in naturally infected wild birds: comparisons of blood, swab and tissue samples

    Williams, Richard A. J.; Escudero Duch, Clara; Pérez-Tris, Javier; Benítez, Laura; Department of Zoology and Physical Anthropology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain; Natural Sciences, Saint Louis University, Madrid, Spain; Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain (Taylor & Francis Group, 2014-03-04)
    Avian poxvirus (avipox) is widely reported from avian species, causing cutaneous or mucosal lesions. Mortality rates of up to 100% are recorded in some hosts. Three major avipox clades are recognized. Several diagnostic techniques have been reported, with molecular techniques used only recently. Avipox has been reported from 278 different avian species, but only 111 of these involved sequence and/or strain identification. Collecting samples from wild birds is challenging as only few wild bird individuals or species may be symptomatic. Also, sampling regimes are tightly regulated and the most efficient sampling method, whole bird collection, is ethically challenging. In this study, three alternative sampling techniques (blood, cutaneous swabs and tissue biopsies) from symptomatic wild birds were examined. Polymerase chain reaction was used to detect avipoxvirus and avian papillomavirus (which also induces cutaneous lesions in birds). Four out of 14 tissue samples were positive but all 29 blood samples and 22 swab samples were negative for papillomavirus. All 29 blood samples were negative but 6/22 swabs and 9/14 tissue samples were avipox-positive. The difference between the numbers of positives generated from tissue samples and from swabs was not significant. The difference in the avipox-positive specimens in paired swab (4/6) and tissue samples (6/6) was also not significant. These results therefore do not show the superiority of swab or tissue samples over each other. However, both swab (6/22) and tissue (8/9) samples yielded significantly more avipox-positive cases than blood samples, which are therefore not recommended for sampling these viruses.
  • Endemicity and climatic niche differentiation in three marine ciliated protists

    Williams, Richard A J; Owens, Hannah L; Clamp, John; Peterson, A Townsend; Warren, Alan; Martin-Cereceda, Mercedes; Centre for Ecology and Evolution in Microbial Model Systems, Linnaeus University, SE-391 82, Kalmar, Sweden; Biodiversity Institute, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA; Department of Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040, Madrid, Spain; Department of Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA; et al. (Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), 2018-07-18)
    The biogeographic pattern of single‐celled eukaryotes (protists), including ciliates, is poorly understood. Most marine species are believed to have a relatively high dispersal potential, such that both globally distributed and geographically isolated taxa exist. Primary occurrence data for three large, easily identified ciliate species, Parafavella gigantea, Schmidingerella serrata, and Zoothamnium pelagicum, and environmental data drawn from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's World Ocean Atlas were used to estimate each species’ spatial and environmental distributions using Maxent v3.3.3k. The predictive power of the models was tested with a series of spatial stratification studies, which were evaluated using partial receiver operating characteristic (ROC) statistics. Differences between niches occupied by each taxon were evaluated using background similarity tests. All predictions showed significant ability to anticipate test points. The null hypotheses of niche similarity were rejected in all background similarity tests comparing the niches among the three species. This article provides the first quantitative assessment of environmental conditions associated with three species of ciliates and a first estimate of their spatial distributions in the North Atlantic, which can serve as a benchmark against which to document distributional shifts. These species follow consistent, predictable patterns related to climate and environmental biochemistry; the importance of climatic conditions as regards protist distributions is noteworthy considering the effects of global climate change.
  • Molecular identification of papillomavirus in ducks

    Williams, Richard A. J.; Tolf, Conny; Waldenström, Jonas; Linnaeus University (Nature Research, 2018-06-14)
    Papillomaviruses infect many vertebrates, including birds. Persistent infections by some strains can cause malignant proliferation of cells (i.e. cancer), though more typically infections cause benign tumours, or may be completely subclinical. Sometimes extensive, persistent tumours are recorded– notably in chaffinches and humans. In 2016, a novel papillomavirus genotype was characterized from a duck faecal microbiome, in Bhopal, India; the sixth papillomavirus genotype from birds. Prompted by this finding, we screened 160 cloacal swabs and 968 faecal samples collected from 299 ducks sampled at Ottenby Bird Observatory, Sweden in 2015, using a newly designed real-time PCR. Twenty one samples (1.9%) from six individuals (2%) were positive. Eighteen sequences were identical to the published genotype, duck papillomavirus 1. One additional novel genotype was recovered from three samples. Both genotypes were recovered from a wild strain domestic mallard that was infected for more than 60 days with each genotype. All positive individuals were adult (P = 0.004). Significantly more positive samples were detected from swabs than faecal samples (P < 0.0001). Sample type data suggests transmission may be via direct contact, and only infrequently, via the oral-faecal route. Infection in only adult birds supports the hypothesis that this virus is sexually transmitted, though more work is required to verify this.
  • A century of Shope Papillomavirus in museum rabbit specimens

    Duch, Clara Esucdero; Williams, Richard AJ; Timm, Robert M; Perez-Tris, Javier; Benitez, Laura; Department of Microbiology III, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Universidad Complutense de Madrid,; Department of Zoology and Physical Anthropology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Universidad Complutense de Madrid; Natural Sciences, Saint Louis University, Madrid,; Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology & Natural History Museum, University of Kansas (Public Library of Science, 2015-07-06)
    Sylvilagus floridanus Papillomavirus (SfPV) causes growth of large horn-like tumors on rabbits. SfPV was described in cottontail rabbits (probably Sylvilagus floridanus) from Kansa and Iowa by Richard Shope in 1933, and detected in S. audubonii in 2011. It is known almost exclusively from the US Midwest. We explored the University of Kansas Natural History Museum for historical museum specimens infected with SfPV, using molecular techniques, to assess if additional wild species host SfPV, and whether SfPV occurs throughout the host range, or just in the Midwest. Secondary aims were to detect distinct strains, and evidence for strain spatio-temporal specificity. We found 20 of 1395 rabbits in the KU collection SfPV symptomatic. Three of 17 lagomorph species (S. nuttallii, and the two known hosts) were symptomatic, while Brachylagus, Lepus and eight additional Sylvilagus species were not. 13 symptomatic individuals were positive by molecular testing, including the first S. nuttallii detection. Prevalence of symptomatic individuals was significantly higher in Sylvilagus (1.8%) than Lepus. Half of these specimens came from Kansas, though new molecular detections were obtained from Jalisco—Mexico’s first—and Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas, USA. We document the oldest lab-confirmed case (Kansas, 1915), predating Shope’s first case. SfPV amplification was possible from 63.2% of symptomatic museum specimens. Using multiple methodologies, rolling circle amplification and, multiple isothermal displacement amplification in addition to PCR, greatly improved detection rates. Short sequences were obtained from six individuals for two genes. L1 gene sequences were identical to all previously detected sequences; E7 gene sequences, were more variable, yielding five distinct SfPV1 strains that differing by less than 2% from strains circulating in the Midwest and Mexico, between 1915 and 2005. Our results do not clarify whether strains are host species specific, though they are consistent with SfPV specificity to genus Sylvilagus.
  • Spatio-temporal dynamics and aetiology of proliferative leg skin lesions in wild British finches

    Lawson, Becki; Robinson, Robert A.; Fernandez, Julia Rodriguez-Ramos; John, Shinto K.; Benitez, Laura; Tolf, Conny; Risely, Kate; Toms, Mike P.; Cunningham, Andrew A.; Williams, Richard A. J.; et al. (Nature Publiching Group, 2018-10-10)
    Proliferative leg skin lesions have been described in wild finches in Europe although there have been no large-scale studies of their aetiology or epizootiology to date. Firstly, disease surveillance, utilising public reporting of observations of live wild finches was conducted in Great Britain (GB) and showed proliferative leg skin lesions in chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs) to be widespread. Seasonal variation was observed, with a peak during the winter months. Secondly, pathological investigations were performed on a sample of 39 chaffinches, four bullfinches (Pyrrhula pyrrhula), one greenfinch (Chloris chloris) and one goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) with proliferative leg skin lesions and detected Cnemidocoptes sp. mites in 91% (41/45) of affected finches and from all species examined. Fringilla coelebs papillomavirus (FcPV1) PCR was positive in 74% (23/31) of birds tested: a 394 base pair sequence was derived from 20 of these birds, from all examined species, with 100% identity to reference genomes. Both mites and FcPV1 DNA were detected in 71% (20/28) of birds tested for both pathogens. Histopathological examination of lesions did not discriminate the relative importance of mite or FcPV1 infection as their cause. Development of techniques to localise FcPV1 within lesions is required to elucidate the pathological significance of FcPV1 DNA detection.
  • Prevalence and genetic diversity of Avipoxvirus in house sparrows in Spain

    Ruiz-Martinez, Jorge; Ferraguti, Martina; Figuerola, Jorge; Martinez-de la Puente, Josue; Williams, Richard AJ; Herrera-Duenas, Amparo; Aguirre, Jose I; Soriguer, R; Escudero-Duch, Clara; Moens, Mikael, AJ; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2016-12-22)
    Avipoxvirus (APV) is a fairly common virus affecting birds that causes morbidity and mortality in wild and captive birds. We studied the prevalence of pox-like lesions and genetic diversity of APV in house sparrows (Passer domesticus) in natural, agricultural and urban areas in southern Spain in 2013 and 2014 and in central Spain for 8 months (2012±2013). Overall, 3.2% of 2,341 house sparrows visually examined in southern Spain had cutaneous lesions consistent with avian pox. A similar prevalence (3%) was found in 338 birds from central Spain. Prevalence was higher in hatch-year birds than in adults. We did not detect any clear spatial or temporal patterns of APV distribution. Molecular analyses of poxvirus-like lesions revealed that 63% of the samples were positive. Molecular and phylogenetic analyses of 29 DNA sequences from the fpv167 gene, detected two strains belonging to the canarypox clade (subclades B1 and B2) previously found in Spain. One of them appears predominant in Iberia and North Africa and shares 70% similarity to fowlpox and canarypox virus. This APV strain has been identified in a limited number of species in the Iberian Peninsula, Morocco and Hungary. The second one has a global distribution and has been found in numerous wild bird species around the world. To our knowledge, this represents the largest study of avian poxvirus disease in the broadly distributed house sparrow and strongly supports the findings that Avipox prevalence in this species in South and central Spain is moderate and the genetic diversity low.
  • Potential of Retrofitting Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems Using an Integrated Geographical Information System Remote Sensing Based Approach

    Ferrier, G.; Milan, D.; Keat Yew, C.; Pope, R.J.; University of Hull; University of Derby (2018-12-06)
    Flooding is a major problem in urban areas worldwide. Methodologies that can rapidly assess the scale and identify the reasons causing these flooding events at minimal cost are urgently required. This study has used the City of Kingston-upon-Hull to evaluate the capability of an integrated remote sensing and geographical information system based approach to provide the critical information on the spatial extent of flooding and flood water volumes and overcome the limitations in current monitoring based on ground-based visual mapping and household flooding surveys. Airborne and Terrestrial LiDAR datasets were combined with digital aerial photography, flood assessment surveys, and maps of housing, infrastructure and the sewer network. The integration of these datasets provided an enhanced understanding of the sources and pathways of the flood water runoff, accurate quantification of the water volumes associated with each flooding event and the identification of the optimum locations and size of potential retrofit Sustainable Urban Drainage systems.

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