Browsing by Subject "REPRODUCTIVE SUCCESS"

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  • Lindh, Lena; Lindeberg, H.; Banting, A; Banting, S.; Sainmaa, S.; Beasley, S.; Korhonen, H.; Peltoniemi, Olli (2020)
    The interest in non-surgical approaches to contraception and fertility control in female dogs has increased in recent years. In this study the effect of an aromatase inhibitor (finrozole) was evaluated in fur production animals, farmed blue fox vixens, as a model for contraception in bitches. A total of 80 vixens were divided into 4 groups, receiving orally placebo (A) or finrozole 0.5 mg/kg (B), 3.5 mg/kg (C) or 24.5 mg/kg (D) for 21 consecutive days beginning in the pre-ovulatory period of heat. Monitoring of the vixens included clinical signs of heat, measurement of vaginal electrical resistance (VER) as well as oestradiol and progesterone concentrations in plasma. The approximate relation of the start of treatment to ovulation varied from 11 days before to one day after ovulation provided that the LH peak occurred 0.5 e2 days before the VER peak and ovulation was then estimated to occur 2 days after the LH peak. Seventy vixens were artificially inseminated within 8 h after a 50 Udecline in vaginal electrical resistance was detected. Ten vixens were not inseminated. Pregnancy was confirmed by transabdominal ultrasound examination and birth of cubs was recorded. The pregnancy rates in the groups were 89.5% (A), 81.3% (B), 55.6% (C) and 52.9% (D). The average number of live born pups in the four groups was 9.4 (A), 7.0 (B), 5.8 (C), and 3.8 (D), respectively. No deleterious effects (for instance malformations) of finrozole on pups could be verified. The administration of finrozole did not have a significant effect on oestradiol pa- rameters and VER values in vixens. Progesterone values were significantly higher in treatment groups compared with the placebo group. The results indicate that pregnancy could be avoided by finrozole provided that doses of 3.5 mg/kg were used and the treatment was initiated at least four days before the day of artificial insemination. This corresponds with two to six days before ovulation provided that the LH peak occurred 0.5e2 days before the VER peak and that ovulation then occurred in average 2 days after the LH peak.
  • O'Sullivan, Ronan James; Aykanat, Tutku; Johnston, Susan E.; Rogan, Ger; Poole, Russell; Prodohl, Paulo A.; de Eyto, Elvira; Primmer, Craig R.; McGinnity, Philip; Reed, Thomas Eric (2020)
    The release of captive-bred animals into the wild is commonly practised to restore or supplement wild populations but comes with a suite of ecological and genetic consequences. Vast numbers of hatchery-reared fish are released annually, ostensibly to restore/enhance wild populations or provide greater angling returns. While previous studies have shown that captive-bred fish perform poorly in the wild relative to wild-bred conspecifics, few have measured individual lifetime reproductive success (LRS) and how this affects population productivity. Here, we analyse data on Atlantic salmon from an intensely studied catchment into which varying numbers of captive-bred fish have escaped/been released and potentially bred over several decades. Using a molecular pedigree, we demonstrate that, on average, the LRS of captive-bred individuals was only 36% that of wild-bred individuals. A significant LRS difference remained after excluding individuals that left no surviving offspring, some of which might have simply failed to spawn, consistent with transgenerational effects on offspring survival. The annual productivity of the mixed population (wild-bred plus captive-bred) was lower in years where captive-bred fish comprised a greater fraction of potential spawners. These results bolster previous empirical and theoretical findings that intentional stocking, or non-intentional escapees, threaten, rather than enhance, recipient natural populations.
  • Pärssinen, Varpu; Kalb, Nadine; Vallon, Martin; Anthes, Nils; Heubel, Katja (2019)
    Nests play a critical role for offspring development across the animal kingdom. Nest quality may contribute to the builder's extended phenotype and serve as an ornament during mate choice. We examined male and female nest choice in the common goby (Pomatoschistus microps), a benthic fish with male-only parental care where females deposit eggs in male-built nests. Using prebuilt nest models, we independently manipulated two candidate nest quality traits: (a) nest entrance width with a role in oxygen ventilation, and (b) extent of sand cover with a role in camouflage. In simultaneous choice trials, male gobies exhibited no preference for any nest model type. This suggests that initial characteristics of a nesting substrate have minor importance for males, which usually remodel the nest. Females were given a choice between two males occupying either entrance- or cover-manipulated nests. The same pair of males was then exposed to a second female but now with alternated nest types assigned. Most females were consistent in choosing the same, typically the heavier male of the two regardless of nest properties. However, the females that chose the same nest regardless of the male preferred low over high sand coverage and narrow over wide nest entrance. Our results indicate that females base their mating decision on a combination of male phenotype and nest traits. While we found no indication that females are attracted to highly decorated nests, our study is the first in fishes to disentangle a preference for narrow (and thus more protective) nest entrances independent of nest coverage.
  • Velmala, William; Helle, Samuli; Ahola, Markus P.; Klaassen, Marcel; Lehikoinen, Esa; Rainio, Kalle; Sirkiä, Päivi; Laaksonen, Toni (2015)
    For migratory birds, the earlier arrival of males to breeding grounds is often expected to have fitness benefits. However, the selection differential on male arrival time has rarely been decomposed into the direct effect of male arrival and potential indirect effects through female traits. We measured the directional selection differential on male arrival time in the pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) using data from 6years and annual number of fledglings as the fitness proxy. Using structural equation modeling, we were able to take into account the temporal structure of the breeding cycle and the hierarchy between the examined traits. We found directional selection differentials for earlier male arrival date and earlier female laying date, as well as strong selection differential for larger clutch size. These selection differentials were due to direct selection only as indirect selection for these traits was nonsignificant. When decomposing the direct selection for earlier male arrival into direct and indirect effects, we discovered that it was almost exclusively due to the direct effect of male arrival date on fitness and not due to its indirect effects via female traits. In other words, we showed for the first time that there is a direct effect of male arrival date on fitness while accounting for those effects that are mediated by effects of the social partner. Our study thus indicates that natural selection directly favored earlier male arrival in this flycatcher population.
  • Vehmaa, Anu; Almén, Anna-Karin; Brutemark, Andreas; Paul, Allanah; Riebesell, Ulf; Furuhagen, Sara; Engstrom-Ost, Jonna (2016)
    Ocean acidification is challenging phenotypic plasticity of individuals and populations. Calanoid copepods (zooplankton) are shown to be fairly plastic against altered pH conditions, and laboratory studies indicate that transgenerational effects are one mechanism behind this plasticity. We studied phenotypic plasticity of the copepod Acartia sp. in the course of a pelagic, large-volume mesocosm study that was conducted to investigate ecosystem and biogeochemical responses to ocean acidification. We measured copepod egg production rate, egg-hatching success, adult female size and adult female antioxidant capacity (ORAC) as a function of acidification (fCO(2) similar to 365-1231 mu atm) and as a function of quantity and quality of their diet. We used an egg transplant experiment to reveal whether transgenerational effects can alleviate the possible negative effects of ocean acidification on offspring development. We found significant negative effects of ocean acidification on adult female size. In addition, we found signs of a possible threshold at high fCO(2), above which adaptive maternal effects cannot alleviate the negative effects of acidification on egg-hatching and nauplii development. We did not find support for the hypothesis that insufficient food quantity (total particulate carbon
  • Delgado, Maria del Mar; Caferri, Eleonora; Mendez, Maria; Godoy, Jose A.; Campioni, Letizia; Penteriani, Vincenzo (2013)
    Individual variability influences the demographic and evolutionary dynamics of spatially structured populations, and conversely ecological and evolutionary dynamics provide the context under which variations at the individual level occur. Therefore, it is essential to identify and characterize the importance of the different factors that may promote or hinder individual variability. Animal signaling is a prime example of a type of behavior that is largely dependent on both the features of individuals and the characteristics of the population to which they belong. After 10 years studying the dynamics of a population of a long-lived species, the eagle owl (Bubo bubo), we investigated the emergence and maintenance of traits that reveal individual identity by focusing on vocal features. We found that individuals inhabiting a high density population characterized by a relative lack of heterogeneity (in terms of prey availability and breeding success) among breeding sites might be selected for reducing the levels of identity. Two non-mutually exclusive hypotheses may explain the structural call patterns we detected: (1) similarity in calls may be principally a consequence of the particular characteristics of the population; and (2) high density may encourage individuals to mimic each other’s vocalizations in a cascade effect, leading to a widespread and unique communication network.
  • Selonen, Vesa; Remm, Jaanus; Hanski, Ilpo K.; Henttonen, Heikki; Huitu, Otso; Jokinen, Maarit; Korpimäki, Erkki; Makela, Antero; Sulkava, Risto; Wistbacka, Ralf (2019)
    Climatic conditions, trophic links between species and dispersal may induce spatial synchrony in population fluctuations. Spatial synchrony increases the extinction risk of populations and, thus, it is important to understand how synchrony-inducing mechanisms affect populations already threatened by habitat loss and climate change. For many species, it is unclear how population fluctuations vary over time and space, and what factors potentially drive this variation. In this study, we focus on factors determining population fluctuations and spatial synchrony in the Siberian flying squirrel, Pteromys volans, using long-term monitoring data from 16 Finnish populations located 2-400 km apart. We found an indication of synchronous population dynamics on a large scale in flying squirrels. However, the synchrony was not found to be clearly related to distance between study sites because the populations seemed to be strongly affected by small-scale local factors. The regularity of population fluctuations varied over time. The fluctuations were linked to changes in winter precipitation, which has previously been linked to the reproductive success of flying squirrels. Food abundance (tree mast) and predator abundance were not related to population fluctuations in this study. We conclude that spatial synchrony was not unequivocally related to distance in flying squirrels, as has been observed in earlier studies for more abundant rodent species. Our study also emphasises the role of climate in population fluctuations and the synchrony of the species.
  • Vuorinen, Ilppo; Hänninen, Jari; Rajasilta, Marjut; Laine, Päivi; Eklund, Jan; Montesino-Pouzols, Federico; Corona, Francesco; Junker, Karin; Meier, H. E. Markus; Dippner, Joachim W. (2015)
    Substantial ecological changes occurred in the 1970s in the Northern Baltic during a temporary period of low salinity (S). This period was preceded by an episodic increase in the rainfall over the Baltic Sea Watershed area. Several climate models, both global and regional, project an increase in the runoff of the Northern latitudes due to proceeding climate change. The aim of this study is to model, firstly, the effects on Baltic Sea salinity of increased runoff due to projected global change and, secondly, the effects of salinity change on the distribution of marine species. The results suggest a critical shift in the S range 5-7, which is a threshold for both freshwater and marine species distributions and diversity. We discuss several topics emphasizing future monitoring, modelling, and fisheries research. Environmental monitoring and modelling are investigated because the developing alternative ecosystems do not necessarily show the same relations to environment quality factors as the retiring ones. An important corollary is that the observed and modelled S changes considered together with species' ranges indicate what may appear under a future climate. Consequences could include a shift in distribution areas of marine benthic foundation species and some 40-50 other species, affiliated to these. This change would extend over hundreds of kilometres, in the Baltic Sea and the adjacent North Sea areas. Potential cascading effects, in coastal ecology, fish ecology and fisheries would be extensive, and point out the necessity to develop further the "ecosystem approach in the environmental monitoring". (C) 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
  • Uusi-Heikkilä, Silva; Whiteley, Andrew R.; Kuparinen, Anna; Matsumura, Shuichi; Venturelli, Paul A.; Wolter, Christian; Slate, Jon; Primmer, Craig R.; Meinelt, Thomas; Killen, Shaun S.; Bierbach, David; Polverino, Giovanni; Ludwig, Arne; Arlinghaus, Robert (2015)
    Size-selective harvesting is assumed to alter life histories of exploited fish populations, thereby negatively affecting population productivity, recovery, and yield. However, demonstrating that fisheries-induced phenotypic changes in the wild are at least partly genetically determined has proved notoriously difficult. Moreover, the population-level consequences of fisheries-induced evolution are still being controversially discussed. Using an experimental approach, we found that five generations of size-selective harvesting altered the life histories and behavior, but not the metabolic rate, of wild-origin zebrafish (Danio rerio). Fish adapted to high positively size selective fishing pressure invested more in reproduction, reached a smaller adult body size, and were less explorative and bold. Phenotypic changes seemed subtle but were accompanied by genetic changes in functional loci. Thus, our results provided unambiguous evidence for rapid, harvest-induced phenotypic and evolutionary change when harvesting is intensive and size selective. According to a life-history model, the observed life-history changes elevated population growth rate in harvested conditions, but slowed population recovery under a simulated moratorium. Hence, the evolutionary legacy of size-selective harvesting includes populations that are productive under exploited conditions, but selectively disadvantaged to cope with natural selection pressures that often favor large body size.
  • Pakkala, Timo; Tiainen, Juha; Kouki, Jari (2017)
    Cavity-nesting birds can save time and energy by reusing old cavities. We studied cavity reuse and its connections to nesting success and timing in the three-toed woodpecker Picoides tridactylus in a 170-km(2) area in southern Finland during 1987-2015. The data include 520 nest trees, 645 nest cavities and 833 nestings in 86 territory sites, including 211 cases of cavity reuse. Twenty-five percent of nestings was in previously used cavities. Twenty-eight percent of cavities and 25% of nest trees were used more than once. Reuse improved nesting success and facilitated early nesting in the year following first nesting. Reuse of nest trees with several cavities was observed in 15% of nest trees, and 62% of reused cavities were in those multi-cavity trees. Cavity reuse and multi-cavity trees were most abundant in long-term territories with stable habitats. In boreal forests, cavity and tree reuse can be an important adaptation allowing efficient nesting during a short breeding season.
  • Reijniers, Jonas; Tersago, Katrien; Borremans, Benny; Hartemink, Nienke; Voutilainen, Liina; Henttonen, Heikki; Leirs, Herwig (2020)
    For wildlife diseases, one often relies on host density to predict host infection prevalence and the subsequent force of infection to humans in the case of zoonoses. Indeed, if transmission is mainly indirect, i.e., by way of the environment, the force of infection is expected to increase with host density, yet the laborious field data supporting this theoretical claim are often absent. Hantaviruses are among those zoonoses that have been studied extensively over the past decades, as they pose a significant threat to humans. In Europe, the most widespread hantavirus is the Puumala virus (PUUV), which is carried by the bank vole and causes nephropathia epidemica (NE) in humans. Extensive field campaigns have been carried out in Central Finland to shed light on this supposed relationship between bank vole density and PUUV prevalence and to identify other drivers for the infection dynamics. This resulted in the surprising observation that the relationship between bank vole density and PUUV prevalence is not purely monotonic on an annual basis, contrary to what previous models predicted: a higher vole density does not necessary result in a higher infection prevalence, nor in an increased number of humans reported having NE. Here, we advance a novel individual-based spatially-explicit model which takes into account the immunity provided by maternal antibodies and which simulates the spatial behavior of the host, both possible causes for this discrepancy that were not accounted for in previous models. We show that the reduced prevalence in peak years can be attributed to transient immunity, and that the density-dependent spatial vole behavior, i.e., the fact that home ranges are smaller in high density years, plays only a minor role. The applicability of the model is not limited to the study and prediction of PUUV (and NE) occurrence in Europe, as it could be easily adapted to model other rodent-borne diseases, either with indirect or direct transmission.