Determining sources of fecal pollution in a rural Virginia watershed with antibiotic resistance patterns in fecal streptococci. (33/1110)

Nonpoint sources of pollution that contribute fecal bacteria to surface waters have proven difficult to identify. Knowledge of pollution sources could aid in restoration of the water quality, reduce the amounts of nutrients leaving watersheds, and reduce the danger of infectious disease resulting from exposure to contaminated waters. Patterns of antibiotic resistance in fecal streptococci were analyzed by discriminant and cluster analysis and used to identify sources of fecal pollution in a rural Virginia watershed. A database consisting of patterns from 7,058 fecal streptococcus isolates was first established from known human, livestock, and wildlife sources in Montgomery County, Va. Correct fecal streptococcus source identification averaged 87% for the entire database and ranged from 84% for deer isolates to 93% for human isolates. To field test the method and the database, a watershed improvement project (Page Brook) in Clarke County, Va., was initiated in 1996. Comparison of 892 known-source isolates from that watershed against the database resulted in an average correct classification rate of 88%. Combining all animal isolates increased correct classification rates to > or = 95% for separations between animal and human sources. Stream samples from three collection sites were highly contaminated, and fecal streptococci from these sites were classified as being predominantly from cattle (>78% of isolates), with small proportions from waterfowl, deer, and unidentified sources ( approximately 7% each). Based on these results, cattle access to the stream was restricted by installation of fencing and in-pasture watering stations. Fecal coliforms were reduced at the three sites by an average of 94%, from prefencing average populations of 15,900 per 100 ml to postfencing average populations of 960 per 100 ml. After fencing, <45% of fecal streptococcus isolates were classified as being from cattle. These results demonstrate that antibiotic resistance profiles in fecal streptococci can be used to reliably determine sources of fecal pollution, and water quality improvements can occur when efforts to address the identified sources are made.  (+info)

QTL for live weight traits in Pere David's x red deer interspecies hybrids. (34/1110)

Interspecies hybrids between Pere David's deer (Elaphurus davidianus) and red deer (Cervus elaphus) have proved to be a powerful resource in the search for quantitative trait loci (QTL) in deer. Several regions of the genome with significant effects on live weight and growth rates in backcross hybrids were detected. These include putative QTL for 6-month live weight (LOD 3.90) on linkage group 12, for 14-month live weight (LOD 3.19) on linkage group 1, three putative QTL for growth rate from 3 to 6 months (LOD 4.19 on linkage group 12, LOD 3.92 on linkage group 12, and LOD 3.34 on linkage group 5). In addition, linkage groups 20 and 1 appear to be associated with live weight traits between 9 and 16 months. The variance in traits explained by these QTL ranged between 5.3% and 11.2%. Allele substitution with Pere David's alleles at different loci had both positive and negative effects on live weights and growth rates.  (+info)

Cyproterone acetate reduced antler growth in surgically castrated fallow deer. (35/1110)

We studied the role of androgens in antler growth. In particular, we investigated whether the onset of antler regrowth is triggered by a short-term pulse of testosterone and if low levels of androgens are required for antler growth. The study was conducted on 12 surgically castrated fallow deer bucks (Dama dama) aged approximately 27 months. Six animals (CA group) were given the antiandrogen, cyproterone acetate (CA, 1000 mg/treatment); the others were given vehicle solution only (control). Before each CA treatment, blood was sampled and analysed for testosterone, androstenedione, IGF-1, cortisol, FSH, and LH. CA treatment and blood sampling were performed 2 days before castration, on the day of castration and afterwards at 2-day intervals until day 22. Subsequently, CA treatment and blood sampling continued at weekly intervals until day 270. All animals cast their antlers, followed by antler regrowth in all control bucks, but in only four of the six CA-treated castrates. Plasma testosterone concentrations were low in all animals (between 0.01 and 0.20 ng/ml), but were significantly (P<0001) greater in the controls. In both groups, a temporary increase in testosterone values was recorded around the time of antler regrowth, the peak being significantly (P<0.01) higher in the controls. Androstenedione showed a similar pattern as testosterone. Plasma IGF-1 concentrations increased sharply during the antler growth spurt and did not differ significantly between the two groups throughout the study period. Cortisol concentrations were greater in controls than in the CA group. However, no link with the antler cycle was apparent. FSH and LH concentrations were higher in the controls for most of the study. Antlers produced by the control bucks were significantly larger than those in the CA group (P<0.03). For antler length, testosterone, androstenedione and IGF-1, areas under the curve (AUC) were calculated over the period of antler growth. For the pooled deer (n=12) significant correlations existed between AUCs of antler length and testosterone, but not for antler length and IGF-1. Also, a trend for a positive correlation between AUCs of antler length and androstenedione was noted. It is concluded that a plasma androgen concentration at least above a minimal threshold level is a necessary prerequisite for normal antler regrowth in fallow deer, and that this androgen effect is not mediated via circulating IGF-1. The biological role of low levels of androgens may be to sensitize antler cells to the stimulating effect of IGF.  (+info)

Source and site of action of anti-luteolytic interferon in red deer (Cervus elaphus): possible involvement of extra-ovarian oxytocin secretion in maternal recognition of pregnancy. (36/1110)

Six conceptuses were collected from red deer hinds on day 22 after synchronization of oestrus with intravaginal progesterone-releasing devices (removal of device = day 0). Within 24 h of culture in vitro, the supernatant from five of six conceptuses showed detectable antiviral activity. Interferon alpha (IFN-alpha) receptors were identified by immunohistochemistry on the luminal surface of the endometrium, in the neurohypophysis and paraventricular hypothalamus, but not in the ovaries of the hinds from which the conceptuses were collected. Another 16 intact hinds were synchronized as above. Injection of 4 mg IFN i.m. twice a day on days 13-15 had no effect on cloprostenol-induced oxytocin secretion on day 15 and did not prevent cloprostenol-induced luteal regression. Sixteen ovariectomized hinds received a protocol of steroid treatment to mimic ovarian hormone secretion during the normal oestrous cycle. On day 16, hinds showed undulant oxytocin secretion that showed a degree of temporal association with uterine PGF2 alpha release. Treatment with 4 mg IFN-alpha I 1 twice a day on days 13-16 had no effect on this spontaneous oxytocin secretion, but reduced the magnitude of cloprostenol-induced oxytocin secretion on day 17 (P < 0.05). These results indicate that red deer conceptuses secrete an anti-luteolytic IFN to which the endometrium expresses a receptor during early pregnancy. The presence of IFN receptors in the hypothalamus and posterior pituitary and the IFN-induced suppression of extra-ovarian oxytocin secretion provides tentative evidence of an involvement of the central nervous system in maternal recognition of pregnancy in deer.  (+info)

Restriction endonuclease analysis using Hhal and Hpall to discriminate among group B Pasteurella multocida associated with haemorrhagic septicaemia. (37/1110)

The purpose of this study was to improve and standardise restriction endonuclease analysis (REA) for discriminating isolates of serogroup B Pasteurella multocida associated with haemorrhagic septicaemia in wild and domestic animals and to create a reference database that can be used for epidemiological studies. Two techniques for extraction and isolation of chromosomal DNA were compared, a DNAzol method and an enzymic lysis followed by a two-phase partition method. No differences were observed between DNA fingerprint profiles with either technique; however, the former technique was faster and easier to perform. P. multocida isolated from different animals in different countries representing serotypes B:2, B:3, B:3,4 and B:4 were subjected to REA with HhaI and HpaII endonucleases. Forty-eight fingerprint profiles were distinguished among 222 isolates when only HhaI was used. By combining the data from REA with HhaI and HpaII used separately, 88 different groups could be distinguished among the same isolates. Following digestion with HhaI and electrophoresis, the DNA of all serotype B:2 isolates produced fingerprint profiles characterised by two trailing bands at approximately 8.4-7.1 kb which have not been observed in any other serotypes of P. multocida. Passage of three serotype B:2 isolates on laboratory media or two serotype B:2 isolates through mice did not result in a change of DNA fingerprint profile detectable by REA. The findings with 59 isolates from Sri Lanka showed that REA was highly discriminative in determining the genetic diversity of serotype B:2 P. multocida in an area where haemorrhagic septicaemia is endemic.  (+info)

Anthropogenic extinction of top carnivores and interspecific animal behaviour: implications of the rapid decoupling of a web involving wolves, bears, moose and ravens. (38/1110)

The recent extinction of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) and wolves (Canis lupus) by humans from 95-99% of the contiguous USA and Mexico in less than 100 years has resulted in dramatically altered and expanded prey communities. Such rampant ecological change and putative ecological instability has not occurred in North American northern boreal zones. This geographical variation in the loss of large carnivores as a consequence of anthropogenic disturbance offers opportunities for examining the potential consequences of extinction on subtle but important ecological patterns involving behaviour and interspecific ecological interactions. In Alaska, where scavengers and large carnivores are associated with carcasses, field experiments involving sound playback simulations have demonstrated that at least one prey species, moose (Alces alces), is sensitive to the vocalizations of ravens (Corvus corax) and may rely on their cues to avoid predation. However, a similar relationship is absent on a predator-free island in Alaska's Cook Inlet and at two sites in the Jackson Hole region of the Rocky Mountains (USA) where grizzly bears and wolves have been extinct for 50-70 years. While prior study of birds and mammals has demonstrated that prey may retain predator recognition capabilities for thousands of years even after predation as a selective force has been relaxed, the results presented here establish that a desensitization in interspecific responsiveness can also occur in less than ten generations. These results affirm (i) a rapid decoupling in behaviour involving prey and scavengers as a consequence of anthropogenic-caused predator-prey disequilibriums, and (ii) subtle, community-level modifications in terrestrial ecosystems where large carnivores no longer exist. If knowledge about ecological and behavioural processes in extant systems is to be enhanced, the potential effects of recently extinct carnivores must be incorporated into current programmes.  (+info)

Heritability of fitness in a wild mammal population. (39/1110)

Classical population genetics theory predicts that selection should deplete heritable genetic variance for fitness. We show here that, consistent with this prediction, there was a negative correlation between the heritability of a trait and its association with fitness in a wild population of red deer (Cervus elaphus) and there was no evidence of significant heritability of total fitness. However, the decline in heritability was caused, at least in part, by increased levels of residual variance in longevity and, hence, in total fitness: in this population, longevity is known to be heavily influenced by environmental factors. Other life history traits that were not associated with longevity, such as average annual breeding success, had higher heritabilities. Coefficients of additive genetic variance differed markedly between traits, but highly skewed measures, such as male breeding success, generally had greater coefficients of variance than morphometric traits. Finally, there were significant maternal effects in a range of traits, particularly for females.  (+info)

Lactation curves in captive Iberian red deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus). (40/1110)

This study examines milk production and the effect of milk production and sex of calf on body weights and gains of red deer calves and hinds of the Iberian subspecies (Cervus elaphus hispanicus). Milk production was assessed in 14 hinds by weighing calves before and after suckling and by adjusting these values to the Gamma function. Gamma estimates of total milk production up to d 105 were similar to the amounts computed directly from double weighing. Hinds showed two types of lactation curve: 1) the standard mammal lactation curve, with an asymmetrical peak at wk 2 to 4 (Type I) and 2) decreasing curves with no peak (Type II). Although there was great interindividual variability, hinds with Type I curves showed a trend to produce more milk than those with Type II. The type of curve did not seem to affect weight variables of the calf or those of the dam. Calves that gained more weight consumed greater amounts of milk (P<.05). Males were heavier than females at birth (P<.05), but males did not differ from females in their weight at 105 d, milk consumption, and gain. Gender did not affect hind weight, but dams of male calves showed a trend to be lighter (P = .063) at d 105 than dams of female calves. Our results suggest that suckling differences found in other studies between male and female calves may not involve differences in milk production, although other rearing costs seem to affect hind weight losses. They also suggest that the curve type may not depend only, as reported, on the nutrition plane.  (+info)