Browsing by Subject "ANIMALS"

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  • Villnäs, Anna; Mäkelin, Saara Elisa Iines; Vanni, Michael (2022)
    Benthic consumers profoundly impact nutrient regeneration in coastal marine ecosystems. The concurrent nutrient imbalance and warming of our coastal seas will change the nutritional requirements and metabolic demands of these consumers, which may affect their ability to recycle nitrogen and phosphorous. Here we explore whether nutrient excretion rates of two benthic consumers, the Baltic clam (Macoma balthica) and the invasive spionid polychaete (Marenzelleria spp.) can be quantified with basic biological traits across seasons using allometric and stoichiometric relationships. We found species-specific N and P excretion rates that positively link to allometric traits, i.e., per individual rates increased with body mass and temperature; thus, high mass-specific excretion rates characterized small relative to large macrofaunal individuals. Interestingly, our body size scaling coefficients diverge from predictions by the metabolic theory of ecology (MTE) and the universal model of excretion. Furthermore, stoichiometric traits and stable isotope signatures (delta C-13 and delta N-15) explained a minor additional proportion of variability in excretion rates among species. The excretion rates also varied strongly seasonally, with the highest nutrient recycling rates during summer months, when community NH4-N and PO4-P excretion clearly exceeded net sediment efflux. The seasonal pattern emphasized that changes in temperature and food availability drove metabolic processes and thus excretion rates of the benthic consumers, and indicated that these effects could outweigh the importance of animal biomass. Our results highlight the benefits of using allometric and stoichiometric traits when quantifying species-specific contributions to nutrient recycling in coastal marine environments, and in predicting alteration of function in response to environmental change.
  • Mammola, Stefano; Malumbres-Olarte, Jagoba; Arabesky, Valeria; Barrales-Alcalá, Diego Alejandro; Barrion-Dupo, Aimee Lynn; Benamú, Marco Antonio; Bird, Tharina L.; Bogomolova, Maria; Cardoso, Pedro; Chatzaki, Maria; Cheng, Ren-Chung; Chu, Tien-Ai; Classen-Rodriguez, Leticia M.; Cupic, Iva; Dhiya'ulhaq, Naufal Urfi; Picard, Andre-Philippe Drapeau; El-Hennawy, Hisham K.; Elverici, Mert; Fukushima, Caroline S.; Ganem, Zeana; Gavish-Regev, Efrat; Gonnye, Naledi T.; Hacala, Axel; Haddad, Charles R.; Hesselberg, Thomas; Ho, Tammy Ai Tian; Into, Thanakorn; Isaia, Marco; Jayaraman, Dharmaraj; Karuaera, Nanguei; Khalap, Rajashree; Khalap, Kiran; Kim, Dongyoung; Korhonen, Tuuli; Kralj-Fiser, Simona; Land, Heidi; Lin, Shou-Wang; Loboda, Sarah; Lowe, Elizabeth; Lubin, Yael; Martinez, Alejandro; Mbo, Zingisile; Milicic, Marija; Kioko, Grace Mwende; Nanni, Veronica; Norma-Rashid, Yusoff; Nwankwo, Daniel; Painting, Christina J.; Pang, Aleck; Pantini, Paolo; Pavlek, Martina; Pearce, Richard; Petcharad, Booppa; Petillon, Julien; Raberahona, Onjaherizo Christian; Saarinen, Joni A.; Segura-Hernandez, Laura; Sentenska, Lenka; Uhl, Gabriele; Walker, Leilani; Warui, Charles M.; Wisniewski, Konrad; Zamani, Alireza; Scott, Catherine; Chuang, Angela (2022)
    Mass media plays an important role in the construction and circulation of risk perception associated with animals. Widely feared groups such as spiders frequently end up in the spotlight of traditional and social media. We compiled an expert-curated global database on the online newspaper coverage of human-spider encounters over the past ten years (2010-2020). This database includes information about the location of each human-spider encounter reported in the news article and a quantitative characterisation of the content-location, presence of photographs of spiders and bites, number and type of errors, consultation of experts, and a subjective assessment of sensationalism. In total, we collected 5348 unique news articles from 81 countries in 40 languages. The database refers to 211 identified and unidentified spider species and 2644 unique human-spider encounters (1121 bites and 147 as deadly bites). To facilitate data reuse, we explain the main caveats that need to be made when analysing this database and discuss research ideas and questions that can be explored with it.
  • Rene-Martellet, Magalie; Minard, Guillaume; Massot, Raphael; Van Tran Van; Moro, Claire Valiente; Chabanne, Luc; Mavingui, Patrick (2017)
    Background: Ticks of the group Rhipicephalus sanguineus (sensu lato) are distributed worldwide and are major pathogen vectors of both dogs and humans. Previous phylogenetic reconstructions have suggested the existence of two main lineages within this group, "Tropical" and "Temperate". Symbiotic interactions contribute to vector development, survival, reproduction and competence. The diversity of microbial communities associated with different populations of R. sanguineus (s.l.) remains poorly characterized, however, this knowledge will aid in future studies of hosts-microbiota-pathogen interactions. To gain insight into the bacterial communities associated with R. sanguineus (s.l.) ticks, 40 specimens from France, Senegal and Arizona were analyzed by high-throughput 16S amplicon sequencing. All tick specimens were taxonomically classified using the mitochondrial 12S rDNA gene, which provides sufficient phylogenetic resolution to discriminate different lineages of R. sanguineus. Results: Rhipicephalus sanguineus (s.l.) samples from Senegal belonged to the "Tropical" lineage, samples from France belonged to the "Temperate" lineage, whereas both lineages were identified in samples from Arizona. Regardless of origin, each bacterial microbiota was dominated by three genera: Coxiella, Rickettsia and Bacillus. Rickettsia and Coxiella were the two main genera found in females whereas males had a higher proportion of Bacillus. Significant differences of relative abundances were evidenced between specimens from different geographical origins. Conclusions: This study highlights differences in the microbiota composition within R. sanguineus (s.l.) specimens from different genotypes, genders and geographical origins. This knowledge will help in future studies of the symbiotic interactions, biology and vector competence of the R. sanguineus (s.l.) complex.
  • Yun, Jinhyeon; Ollila, Anna; Valros, Anna; Larenza Menzies, Maria Paula; Heinonen, Mari; Oliviero, Claudio; Peltoniemi, Olli (2019)
    The present study aimed to use behavioural measures to assess pain induced by surgical castration of piglets, and evaluate the efficacy of pain-relief medications. In total, 143 male piglets from 29 sows were used. The treatments included: 1) non-castration (NC; n = 28), 2) castration without medication (SC; n = 29), 3) castration with meloxicam injection 0.4 mg/kg i.m. (ME; n = 28), 4) castration with 0.5 ml of 2% lidocaine in each testicle (LA; n = 29), and 5) castration with general inhalation anaesthesia using isoflurane (1.5%) and meloxicam injection (GA; n = 29). Behaviour was monitored continuously for a ten minute period one hour prior to castration (−1 h), as well as immediately (0 h), one hour (1 h), and two hours (2 h) after castration. Behaviour was also monitored twice (08:00 and 20:00) during the following day. Compared to −1 h, castration induced changes in several behavioural measures in SC piglets at 0 h, suggesting that castration was painful. Furthermore, inactive standing or sitting, tail wagging and aggressive behaviour differed between SC and NC piglets at 0 h. ME and LA piglets spent less time standing or sitting inactively, and LA and GA piglets showed more tail wagging than SC piglets at 0 h (P < 0.05 for all). No other behavioural measures differed among the various groups of castrated piglets. In conclusion, the results indicate that surgical castration is indeed painful. However, the efficacy of various pain-relief protocols in piglets shortly after castration was not verified.
  • Hamalainen, Liisa; Rowland, Hannah M.; Mappes, Johanna; Thorogood, Rose (2017)
    Video playback is becoming a common method for manipulating social stimuli in experiments. Parid tits are one of the most commonly studied groups of wild birds. However, it is not yet clear if tits respond to video playback or how their behavioural responses should be measured. Behaviours may also differ depending on what they observe demonstrators encountering. Here we present blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) videos of demonstrators discovering palatable or aversive prey (injected with bitter-tasting Bitrex) from coloured feeding cups. First we quantify variation in demonstrators' responses to the prey items: aversive prey provoked high rates of beak wiping and head shaking. We then show that focal blue tits respond differently to the presence of a demonstrator on a video screen, depending on whether demonstrators discover palatable or aversive prey. Focal birds faced the video screen more during aversive prey presentations, and made more head turns. Regardless of prey type, focal birds also hopped more frequently during the presence of a demonstrator (compared to a control video of a different coloured feeding cup in an empty cage). Finally, we tested if demonstrators' behaviour affected focal birds' food preferences by giving individuals a choice to forage from the same cup as a demonstrator, or from the cup in the control video. We found that only half of the individuals made their choice in accordance to social information in the videos, i.e., their foraging choices were not different from random. Individuals that chose in accordance with a demonstrator, however, made their choice faster than individuals that chose an alternative cup. Together, our results suggest that video playback can provide social cues to blue tits, but individuals vary greatly in how they use this information in their foraging decisions.
  • Rodriguez, C.; Taminiau, B.; Bouchafa, L.; Romijn, S.; Rajamaki, M. M.; Van Broeck, J.; Delmee, M.; Clercx, C.; Daube, G. (2019)
    Zoonotic transmission of Clostridium difficile has been largely hypothesised to occur after direct or indirect contact with contaminated animal faeces. Recent studies have reported the presence of the bacterium in the natural environment, including in soils and rivers. If C. difficile spores are scattered in the environment, they can easily enter the respiratory tract of dogs, and therefore, dog nasal discharge could be a direct route of transmission not previously investigated. This study reports for the first time the presence of C. difficile in the respiratory tracts of dogs. The bacterium was isolated from 6 (17.1%) out of 35 nasal samples, with a total of 4 positive dogs (19%). C. difficile was recovered from both proximal and distal nasal cavities. All isolates were toxigenic and belonged to PCR- ribotype 014, which is one of the most predominant types in animals and in community- acquired C. difficile infections in recent years. The findings of this study demonstrate that the nasal cavity of dogs is contaminated with toxigenic C. difficile, and therefore, its secretions could be considered as a new route by which bacteria are spread and transmitted.
  • Aivelo, Tuomas; Huovelin, Suvi (2020)
    Citizen science is a valuable tool in environmental and formal education in creating scientific knowledge for the researchers and facilitating learning and fostering a positive relationship toward the environment and study species. We present a case study on the Helsinki Urban Rat Project in which students surveyed rat occurrence in their own near environments. According to our results, experientiality, involvement, meaningfulness, freedom to choose, ease of participation, and the rats themselves contributed to students' increased interest in participation. Furthermore, students described diverse factual, conceptual, procedural, and metacognitive knowledge that they acquired during their participation. In general, students described negative attitudes toward rats, but they less negative views on rats after participation. We reflect on the success of the citizen science project and implications of planning a future citizen science project and incorporating citizen science in formal education.
  • Andjelkovic, Ana; Oliveira, Marcos T.; Cannino, Giuseppe; Yalgin, Cagri; Dhandapani, Praveen K.; Dufour, Eric; Rustin, Pierre; Szibor, Marten; Jacobs, Howard T. (2015)
    The mitochondrial alternative oxidase, AOX, carries out the non proton-motive re-oxidation of ubiquinol by oxygen in lower eukaryotes, plants and some animals. Here we created a modified version of AOX from Ciona instestinalis, carrying mutations at conserved residues predicted to be required for chelation of the diiron prosthetic group. The modified protein was stably expressed in mammalian cells or flies, but lacked enzymatic activity and was unable to rescue the phenotypes of flies knocked down for a subunit of cytochrome oxidase. The mutated AOX transgene is thus a potentially useful tool in studies of the physiological effects of AOX expression.
  • Kumpulainen, Pekka; Valldeoriola Cardó, Anna; Somppi, Sanni; Törnqvist, Heini; Väätäjä, Heli; Majaranta, Päivi; Gizatdinova, Yulia; Antink, Christoph Hoog; Surakka, Veikko; V. Kujala, Miiamaaria; Vainio, Outi; Vehkaoja, Antti (2021)
    Dog owners' understanding of the daily behaviour of their dogs may be enhanced by movement measurements that can detect repeatable dog behaviour, such as levels of daily activity and rest as well as their changes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of supervised machine learning methods utilising accelerometer and gyroscope data provided by wearable movement sensors in classification of seven typical dog activities in a semi-controlled test situation. Forty-five middle to large sized dogs participated in the study. Two sensor devices were attached to each dog, one on the back of the dog in a harness and one on the neck collar. Altogether 54 features were extracted from the acceleration and gyroscope signals divided in two-second segments. The performance of four classifiers were compared using features derived from both sensor modalities. and from the acceleration data only. The results were promising; the movement sensor at the back yielded up to 91 % accuracy in classifying the dog activities and the sensor placed at the collar yielded 75 % accuracy at best. Including the gyroscope features improved the classification accuracy by 0.7-2.6 %, depending on the classifier and the sensor location. The most distinct activity was sniffing, whereas the static postures (lying on chest, sitting and standing) were the most challenging behaviours to classify, especially from the data of the neck collar sensor. The data used in this article as well as the signal processing scripts are openly available in Mendeley Data, https://doi.org/10.17632/vxhx934tbn.1.
  • Grönthal, Thomas; Ollilainen, Matti; Eklund, Marjut; Piiparinen, Heli; Gindonis, Veera; Junnila, Jouni; Saijonmaa-Koulumies, Leena; Liimatainen, Riitta; Rantala, Merja (2015)
    Background: Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP) and Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are common multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria in dogs. In 2012-2013 three dogs of the Guide Dog School of the Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired were found to be MRSP positive. Guide dogs have regular contact with each other during their first year of life and prolonged contact when in training. Since dogs are placed in different parts of Finland after training, there is a risk for national spread of MDR bacteria. In this study the prevalence of MRSP and MRSA, as well as the risk factors for MRSP were determined in the Finnish guide dog population. MRSP isolates were investigated using molecular methods and compared to the earlier isolates. Results: Out of 132 tested dogs 4 were MRSP positive thus giving the prevalence estimate of 3% (95% CI: 1-8%) for MRSP in the target population. MRSA was not detected (prevalence estimate 0%, 95% CI: 0-3%). Risk factors associated with MRSP were being a breeding bitch (OR = 8.4; 95% CI: 1.1-64.1, P = 0.012), the number of veterinary visits (OR = 1.23; 95% CI: 1.0-1.5, P = 0.025) and number of antimicrobial courses (OR = 1.63; 95% CI: 1.0-2.55; P = 0.035). Identified MRSP isolates belonged to five different sequence types (ST45, 71, 402, 403 and 404). All ST71 isolates carried SCCmec II-III, while the SCCmec type of the ST45 and ST402 (a single locus variant of ST45) isolates were non-typeable with the method used. Conclusions: MRSP and MRSA had low prevalence in the studied dog population despite the close contact between dogs, and the MRSP population was heterogenic. Antimicrobial therapy and veterinary visits are risk factors for MRSP even among a small case group.
  • Shiffrin, Richard M.; Matzke, Dora; Crystal, Jonathon D.; Wagenmakers, E. -J.; Chandramouli, Suyog H.; Vandekerckhove, Joachim; Zorzi, Marco; Morey, Richard D.; Murphy, Mary C. (2021)
    Roberts (2020, Learning & Behavior, 48[2], 191-192) discussed research claiming honeybees can do arithmetic. Some readers of this research might regard such claims as unlikely. The present authors used this example as a basis for a debate on the criterion that ought to be used for publication of results or conclusions that could be viewed as unlikely by a significant number of readers, editors, or reviewers.
  • Franks, Victoria R.; Ewen, John G.; McCready, Mhairi; Thorogood, Rose (2020)
    Early independence from parents is a critical period where social information acquired vertically may become outdated, or conflict with new information. However, across natural populations, it is unclear if newly independent young persist in using information from parents, or if group-level effects of conformity override previous behaviours. Here, we test if wild juvenile hihi (Notiomystis cincta, a New Zealand passerine) retain a foraging behaviour from parents, or if they change in response to the behaviour of peers. We provided feeding stations to parents during chick-rearing to seed alternative access routes, and then tracked their offspring's behaviour. Once independent, juveniles formed mixed-treatment social groups, where they did not retain preferences from their time with parents. Instead, juvenile groups converged over time to use one access route­ per group, and juveniles that moved between groups switched to copy the locally favoured option. Juvenile hihi did not copy specific individuals, even if they were more familiar with the preceding bird. Our study shows that early social experiences with parents affect initial foraging decisions, but social environments encountered later on can update transmission of arbitrary behaviours. This suggests that conformity may be widespread in animal groups, with potential cultural, ecological and evolutionary consequences.
  • Kujala, Miiamaaria V.; Somppi, Sanni; Jokela, Markus; Vainio, Outi; Parkkonen, Lauri (2017)
    Facial expressions are important for humans in communicating emotions to the conspecifics and enhancing interpersonal understanding. Many muscles producing facial expressions in humans are also found in domestic dogs, but little is known about how humans perceive dog facial expressions, and which psychological factors influence people's perceptions. Here, we asked 34 observers to rate the valence, arousal, and the six basic emotions (happiness, sadness, surprise, disgust, fear, and anger/aggressiveness) from images of human and dog faces with Pleasant, Neutral and Threatening expressions. We investigated how the subjects' personality (the Big Five Inventory), empathy (Interpersonal Reactivity Index) and experience of dog behavior affect the ratings of dog and human faces. Ratings of both species followed similar general patterns: human subjects classified dog facial expressions from pleasant to threatening very similarly to human facial expressions. Subjects with higher emotional empathy evaluated Threatening faces of both species as more negative in valence and higher in anger/aggressiveness. More empathetic subjects also rated the happiness of Pleasant humans but not dogs higher, and they were quicker in their valence judgments of Pleasant human, Threatening human and Threatening dog faces. Experience with dogs correlated positively with ratings of Pleasant and Neutral dog faces. Personality also had a minor effect on the ratings of Pleasant and Neutral faces in both species. The results imply that humans perceive human and dog facial expression in a similar manner, and the perception of both species is influenced by psychological factors of the evaluators. Especially empathy affects both the speed and intensity of rating dogs' emotional facial expressions.
  • Emameh, Reza Zolfaghari; Kuuslahti, Marianne; Näreaho, Anu; Sukura, Antti; Parkkila, Seppo (2016)
    Trichinellosis is a helminthic infection where different species of Trichinella nematodes are the causative agents. Several molecular assays have been designed to aid diagnostics of trichinellosis. These assays are mostly complex and expensive. The genomes of Trichinella species contain certain parasite-specific genes, which can be detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods. We selected -carbonic anhydrase (-CA) gene as a target, because it is present in many parasites genomes but absent in vertebrates. We developed a novel -CA gene-based method for detection of Trichinella larvae in biological samples. We first identified a -CA protein sequence from Trichinella spiralis by bioinformatic tools using -CAs from Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster. Thereafter, 16 sets of designed primers were tested to detect -CA genomic sequences from three species of Trichinella, including T.spiralis, Trichinellapseudospiralis and Trichinellanativa. Among all 16 sets of designed primers, the primer set No. 2 efficiently amplified -CA genomic sequences from T.spiralis, T.pseudospiralis and T.nativa without any false-positive amplicons from other parasite samples including Toxoplasma gondii, Toxocara cati and Parascaris equorum. This robust and straightforward method could be useful for meat inspection in slaughterhouses, quality control by food authorities and medical laboratories.
  • Lynsdale, Carly L.; Seltmann, Martin W.; Mon, Nay Oo; Aung, Htoo Htoo; Nyein, UKyaw; Htut, Win; Lahdenpera, Mirkka; Lummaa, Virpi (2022)
    Frequent social interactions, proximity to conspecifics, and group density are main drivers of infections and parasite transmissions. However, recent theoretical and empirical studies suggest that the health benefits of sociality and group living can outweigh the costs of infection and help social individuals fight infections or increase their infection-related tolerance level. Here, we combine the advantage of studying artificially created social work groups with different demographic compositions with free-range feeding and social behaviours in semi-captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), employed in timber logging in Myanmar. We examine the link between gastro-intestinal nematode load (strongyles and Strongyloides spp.), estimated by faecal egg counts, and three different aspects of an elephant's social world: individual solitary behaviour, work group size, and work group sex ratio. Controlling for sex, age, origin, time since last deworming treatment, year, human sampler bias, and individual identity, we found that infection by nematodes ranged from 0 to 2720 eggs/g between and within 26 male and 45 female elephants over the 4-year study period. However, such variation was not linked to any investigated measures of sociality in either males or females. Our findings highlight the need for finer-scale studies, establishing how sociality is limited by, mitigates, or protects against infection in different ecological contexts, to fully understand the mechanisms underlying these pathways. Significance statement Being social involves not only benefits, such as improved health, but also costs, including increased risk of parasitism and infectious disease. We studied the relationship between and three different sociality measures-solitary behaviour, group size, and the proportion of females to males within a group-and infection by gut nematodes (roundworms), using a unique study system of semi-captive working Asian elephants. Our system allows for observing how infection is linked to sociality measures across different social frameworks. We found that none of our social measures was associated with nematode infection in the studied elephants. Our results therefore suggest that here infection is not a large cost to group living, that it can be alleviated by the benefits of increased sociality, or that there are weak infection-sociality associations present which could not be captured and thus require finer-scale measures than those studied here. Overall, more studies are needed from a diverse range of systems that investigate specific aspects of social infection dynamics.
  • Falgenhauer, Linda; Schwengers, Oliver; Schmiedel, Judith; Baars, Christian; Lambrecht, Oda; Hess, Stefanie; Berendonk, Thomas U.; Falgenhauer, Jane; Chakraborty, Trinad; Imirzalioglu, Can (2019)
    Water is considered to play a role in the dissemination of antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacteria including those encoding Extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBL) and carbapenemases. To investigate the role of water for their spread in more detail, we characterized ESBL/Carbapenemase-producing bacteria from surface water and sediment samples using phenotypic and genotypic approaches. ESBL/Carbapenemase-producing isolates were obtained from water/sediment samples. Species and antibiotic resistance were determined. A subset of these isolates (n = 33) was whole-genome-sequenced and analyzed for the presence of antibiotic resistance genes and virulence determinants. Their relatedness to isolates associated with human infections was investigated using multilocus sequence type and cgMLST-based analysis. Eighty-nine percent of the isolates comprised of clinically relevant species. Fifty-eight percent exhibited a multidrug-resistance phenotype. Two isolates harbored the mobile colistin resistance gene mcr-1. One carbapenemase-producing isolate identified as Enterobacter kobei harbored bla(VIM-)(1). Two Escherichia coli isolates had sequence types (ST) associated with human infections (ST131 and ST1485) and a Klebsiella pneumoniae isolate was classified as hypervirulent. A multidrug-resistant (MDR) Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolate encoding known virulence genes associated with severe lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients was also detected. The presence of MDR and clinically relevant isolates in recreational and surface water underlines the role of aquatic environments as both reservoirs and hot spots for MDR bacteria. Future assessment of water quality should include the examination of the multidrug resistance of clinically relevant bacterial species and thus provide an important link regarding the spread of MDR bacteria in a One Health context.
  • Romiguier, Jonathan; Rolland, Jonathan; Morandin, Claire; Keller, Laurent (2018)
    Background: The ants of the Formica genus are classical model species in evolutionary biology. In particular, Darwin used Formica as model species to better understand the evolution of slave-making, a parasitic behaviour where workers of another species are stolen to exploit their workforce. In his book "On the Origin of Species" (1859), Darwin first hypothesized that slave-making behaviour in Formica evolved in incremental steps from a free-living ancestor. Methods: The absence of a well-resolved phylogenetic tree of the genus prevent an assessment of whether relationships among Formica subgenera are compatible with this scenario. In this study, we resolve the relationships among the 4 palearctic Formica subgenera (Formica str. s., Coptoformica, Raptiformica and Serviformica) using a phylogenomic dataset of 945 genes for 16 species. Results: We provide a reference tree resolving the relationships among the main Formica subgenera with high bootstrap supports. Discussion: The branching order of our tree suggests that the free-living lifestyle is ancestral in the Formica genus and that parasitic colony founding could have evolved a single time, probably acting as a pre-adaptation to slave-making behaviour. Conclusion: This phylogenetic tree provides a solid backbone for future evolutionary studies in the Formica genus and slave-making behaviour.
  • Koskinen, Juho; Ortiz Martinez, Pilar; Keto-Timonen, Riikka; Joutsen, Suvi; Fredriksson-Ahomaa, Maria; Korkeala, Hannu (2022)
    Yersinia enterocolitica is a psychrotrophic zoonotic foodborne pathogen. Pigs are considered the main reservoir of Y. enterocolitica 4/O:3, which is the most commonly isolated bioserotype in many European countries. Consuming pork contaminated with Y. enterocolitica can be a health threat, and antimicrobial-resistant strains may complicate the treatment of the most severe forms of yersiniosis. We analyzed the antimicrobial resistance of 1,016 pathogenic porcine Y. enterocolitica 4/O:3 strains originating from Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Based on available reports, we also compared antimicrobial sales for food production animals in these countries, excluding Russia. Antimicrobial resistance profiles were determined using a broth microdilution method with VetMIC plates for 13 antimicrobial agents: ampicillin, cefotaxime, ceftiofur (CTF), chloramphenicol (CHL), ciprofloxacin, florfenicol, gentamicin, kanamycin, nalidixic acid (NAL), streptomycin (STR), sulfamethoxazole (SME), tetracycline (TET), and trimethoprim (TMP). The antimicrobial resistance of Y. enterocolitica 4/O:3 strains varied widely between the countries. Strains resistant to antimicrobial agents other than ampicillin were rare in Estonia, Finland, Latvia, and Russia, with prevalence of 0.7, 0.4, 0, and 8.3%, respectively. The highest prevalence of antimicrobial resistance was found in Spanish and Italian strains, with 98 and 61% of the strains being resistant to at least two antimicrobial agents, respectively. Resistance to at least four antimicrobial agents was found in 34% of Spanish, 19% of Italian, and 7.1% of English strains. Antimicrobial resistance was more common in countries where the total sales of antimicrobials for food production animals are high and orally administered medications are common. Our results indicate that antimicrobials should be used responsibly to treat infections, and parenteral medications should be preferred to orally administered mass medications.
  • Aivelo, Tuomas (2023)
    Most of biodiversity is not considered charismatic and from human’s perspective it can be indifferent, problematic, harmful, disgusting, or dangerous. Secondary school students’ attitudes towards an unloved species and how it relates to their feelings of disgust in the context of a biology course were studied during a citizen science project where Finnish lower and upper-secondary school students surveyed the occurrence of urban rats. Questionnaire data was collected including items on four scales: attitude towards rats, interest in learning about environment, disgust, and liking biology as a school subject. It was modelled with an item response theory approach by including respondents’ age and gender as fixed variables and school as a random factor. Higher age correlated with a more positive attitude towards the environment and lower level of disgust. There was an interaction between age and gender that male students had more negative attitude towards rats and lower general levels of disgust. Surprisingly, the students with more positive attitude towards rats also not only had a higher liking biology as a school subject and positive attitude towards the environment, but also a higher level of general disgust. The results suggest that disgust in general is not detrimental in learning and appreciating unloved others as parts of biodiversity. The results also raise questions on how personal attitudes towards the individual species relate to attitudes toward more abstract concept of biodiversity or the environment.
  • Siragusa, Laura; Westman, Clinton; Moritz, Sarah (2020)
    We introduce and elaborate on the notion of "shared breath" as a way of understanding human and nonhuman copresence and offer descriptions and narratives about three Indigenous groups in Russia and Canada, namely, Veps, Western Woods Cree, and Interior Salish St'at'imc. These data illustrate vividly how the underused metaphor of shared breath sheds light on active participation in life by and respectful relations with nonhuman beings, thus surpassing other overly used spatial, physical, and spiritual metaphors. We move beyond the physical aspects of discrete spaces and materials in extending consideration to pertinent metaphorical and tangible aspects of the verbal, sonorous, and ritual performances undertaken by humans in order to negotiate and reinforce relations with other beings. Relationality is continuously accommodated and regenerated by human and nonhuman agencies through ritual acts that include blowing, chants, breathing, drumming, visualizing, and smoking. The shared breath through which these encounters take place emblematizes turning moments, when new directions may be taken and long-term relations of respect may be established, validated, and reinforced. Shared breath is both a medium and a modality of shamanic and animist relationality, offering a new way of looking at human-nonhuman contact and exchange in animist ritual contexts and beyond.