Piotr Minias

Piotr Minias
University of Lodz · Department of Biodiversity Studies and Bioeducation

PhD

About

146
Publications
20,353
Reads
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1,275
Citations
Additional affiliations
May 2016 - present
University of Lodz
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
October 2014 - July 2015
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Position
  • Senior Researcher (Fulbright)
October 2012 - May 2016
University of Lodz
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)

Publications

Publications (146)
Article
Genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) encode receptor molecules that are responsible for recognition of intracellular and extracellular pathogens (class I and class II genes, respectively) in vertebrates. Given the different roles of class I and II MHC genes, one might expect the strength of selection to differ between these two class...
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Centres of avian colonies are usually associated with reduced predation risk and, thus, attract individuals of high quality, while poor-quality individuals are relegated to peripheral zones. Assuming that the incidence of extra-pair paternity (EPP) is dependent on individual quality, we could expect lower incidence of extra-pair offspring in the ce...
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Under inbreeding, heterozygosity at neutral genetic markers is likely to reflect genome-wide heterozygosity and, thus, is expected to correlate with fitness. There is, however, growing evidence that some of heterozygosity-fitness correlations (HFCs) can be explained by ‘local effects’, where noncoding loci are at linkage disequilibrium with functio...
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Total blood haemoglobin concentration is increasingly being used to assess physiological condition in wild birds, although it has not been explicitly recognized how reliably this parameter reflects different components of individual quality. Thus, I reviewed over 120 published studies linking variation in haemoglobin concentrations to different mea...
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It has long been suggested that habitat structure affects how colonial birds are distributed within their nesting aggregations, but this hypothesis has never been formally tested. The aim of this study was to test for a correlated evolution between habitat heterogeneity and within-colony distributions of Ciconiiformes by using Pagel’s general metho...
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Thriving under high population density is considered a major feature of urban exploiter species. Nevertheless, population density appears to be a surprisingly overlooked factor in urban ecology studies. High population numbers observed in urban species might promote pathogen transmission and negatively affect health or condition, thus requiring inv...
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Balancing selection is a classic mechanism for maintaining variability in immune genes involved in host-pathogen interactions. However, it remains unclear how widespread the mechanism is across immune genes other than the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC). While occasional reports suggest that balancing selection (heterozygote advantage, negat...
Article
1. Genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) encode antigen binding molecules and are an integral part of the acquired immune response of vertebrates. In general, high individual MHC diversity is expected to increase fitness by broadening the spectrum of pathogens recognized by the immune system, in accordance with the heterozygote advant...
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Genes of the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) form a key component of vertebrate adaptive immunity, as they code for molecules which bind antigens of intra- and extracellular pathogens (MHC class I and II, respectively) and present them to T cell receptors. In general, MHC genes are hyper-polymorphic and high MHC diversity is often maintained...
Article
Weather conditions are recognized as one of key determinants of animal reproductive performance; however, the effect of weather on breeding success can be modulated by different features of breeding habitat. Constantly expanding urban areas cause significant changes in land cover and environmental conditions, but whether and how urban landscape mit...
Article
Extravagant ornaments are thought to signal male quality to females choosing mates, but the evidence linking ornament size to male quality is controversial, particularly in cases in which females prefer different ornaments in different populations. Here, we use whole-genome sequencing and transcriptomics to determine the genetic basis of ornament s...
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The Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) is a hyper-polymorphic genomic region, which forms a part of the vertebrate adaptive immune system and is crucial for intra- and extra-cellular pathogen recognition (MHC-I and MHC-IIA/B, respectively). Although recent advancements in high-throughput sequencing methods sparked research on the MHC in non-mod...
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Background The Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) codes for the key vertebrate immune receptors responsible for pathogen recognition. Foreign antigens are recognized via their compatibility to hyper-variable region of the peptide-binding groove (PBR), which consists of two separate protein domains. Specifically, the PBR of the MHC class I recep...
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Urban sprawl is one of the most common landscape alterations occurring worldwide, and there is a growing list of species that are recognised to have adapted to urban life. To be successful, processes of urban colonization by wildlife require a broad spectrum of phenotypic (e.g., behavioural or physiological) adjustments, but evidence for genetic ad...
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The size and shape of red blood cells (erythrocytes) is determined by key life history strategies in vertebrates. They have a fundamental role to deliver oxygen to tissues, and their ability to do so is shaped by the tissues need and their shape. Despite considerable interest in how other components of blood are shaped by ecology and life history,...
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Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are a crucial component of vertebrate innate immune response. Despite their importance, associations of TLR diversity with fitness-related traits have rarely been examined in wild animal populations. Here, we tested for associations of TLR polymorphism with physiological condition in a colonial waterbird, the Black-headed...
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We investigate the role of black-headed gulls ( Chroicocephalus ridibundus ), an omnivorous species that is among the most likely wild bird candidates for transmission of zoonotic agents, as a potential reservoir of Campylobacter spp. Colonies with different anthropogenic pressures were studied to examine differences in exposure to sources of Campy...
Article
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) are the key pathogen-recognition genes of vertebrate immune system and they have a crucial role in the initiation of innate and adaptive immune response, respectively. Recent advancements in sequencing technology sparked research on highly duplicated MHC genes in non-model sp...
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Landscape conversions induced by human activities can affect dispersal patterns of various bird species and, as a result, affect genetic structure of their populations. Genetic differentiation of bird populations may be enhanced by habitat variation, especially in urban-non-urban systems. The majority of population genetic studies focus on single s...
Article
The Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) genes code for key immune receptors responsible for recognition of intra- and extra-cellular pathogens (MHC class I and class II, respectively). It was hypothesized that MHC polymorphism can be maintained via fluctuating selection resulting from between-habitat variation in pathogen regimes. We examined as...
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Optimal size of social groups may vary between individuals, depending on their phenotypic traits, such as dominance status, age, or personality. Larger social groups often enhance transmission rates of pathogens and should be avoided by individuals with poor immune defences. In contrast, more immunocompetent individuals are expected to take advanta...
Article
Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes code for key proteins of the adaptive immune system, which present antigens from intra-cellular (MHC class I) and extra-cellular (MHC class II) pathogens. Because of their unprecedented diversity, MHC genes have long been an object of scientific interest, but due to methodological difficulties in genotyp...
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Brood parasitized and/or colonial birds use egg features as visual identity signals, which allow parents to recognize their own eggs and avoid paying fitness costs of misdirecting their care to others' offspring. However, the mechanisms of egg recognition and discrimination are poorly understood. Most studies have put their focus on individual abil...
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Background Nesting in large aggregations provides several important advantages for colonially breeding birds. However, it also imposes certain costs, associated with facilitated pathogen transmission and social stress. The cost-benefit ratio is not similar for all the birds in a colony and it might be mediated by nest density. To investigate the in...
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Rapid urbanization has a great impact on avian distribution, ecology, habitat selection, and behavior. Recent avian studies indicated that individuals remain consistent in their behavioral responses to human disturbance across short periods of time. However, there is still little information about keeping consistent behaviors in distinct locations...
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Our knowledge of the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) in birds is limited because it often consists of numerous duplicated genes within individuals that are difficult to assemble with short read sequencing technology. Long-read sequencing provides an opportunity to overcome this limitation because it allows the assembly of long regions with r...
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The choice of colony size may have profound consequences for individual fitness in colonially breeding birds, but at the same time it may require certain behavioural adaptations. Here, we aimed to examine behavioural divergence of common terns Sterna hirundo nesting in colonies of different size. For this purpose, we promoted establishment of small...
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Melanin is the most common pigment in avian plumage and has various functions including: signalling individual condition, social status, aiding in camouflage and/or strengthening feathers. To date, most research focusing on melanin‐based colours has focused on eumelanin black and pheomelanin rusty traits. The occurrence and function of grey melanin...
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Lay Summary • There is equivocal support for direct associations between maternal quality and deposition of protoporphyrin pigmentation (dark spots and blotches) in avian eggshells. • Research on protoporphyrin eggshell pigmentation has primarily focused on a single avian order (Passeriformes). • We examined associations of protoporphyrin-based egg...
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In many bird species, we observe age-related differences in reproductive success, which usually increases early in life and later decreases due to senescence. At the individual level, an early-life improvement in breeding performance may be associated with experience acquired during early reproductive events (experience hypothesis). At the populati...
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Aim It has long been recognized that tropical bird species demonstrate a wide range of traits characteristic for slow life histories, as indicated by lower investment in reproduction, slower senescence or slower physiological pace of life. Nevertheless, evidence for latitudinal variation in avian developmental rates has, so far, been inconclusive a...
Article
Genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) play a key role in the adaptive immunity of vertebrates, as they encode receptors responsible for antigen recognition. Evolutionary history of the MHC proceeded through numerous gene duplications, which increase the spectrum of pathogens recognized by individuals. Although pathogen-mediated select...
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Using GPS loggers, we examined the influence of colony, sex, and bird identity on foraging flight characteristics of black-headed gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus during the incubation period. We studied tracks of 36 individuals breeding in one urban and two rural colonies in Poland. Birds from both rural colonies performed the furthest flights (me...
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Nonspecific innate immune response is activated by toll-like receptors (TLRs), which recognize conserved molecular motifs characteristic for a broad spectrum of pathogens. In this study, we examined nucleotide substitution patterns and allelic diversity at five TLR genes in a wild nonpasserine bird, the black-headed gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus....
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Great Egret Ardea alba is one of few Western Palearctic species that underwent a rapid range expansion in the recent decades. Originally breeding in central and eastern Europe, the species has spread in northern (up to the Baltic coast) and western (up to the western France) directions and established viable breeding populations throughout almost e...
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Acinetobacter baumannii is a worldwide occurring nosocomial pathogen, the natural habitats of which remain to be defined. Recently, white stork nestlings have been described as a recurring source of A. baumannii. Here, we challenged the hypothesis of a general preference of A. baumannii for avian hosts. Taking advantage of campaigns to ring free-li...
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Domestic and wild mammals, domestic birds and particularly wild birds are considered to be reservoirs of many species of Enterobacteriaceae, and also important human enteric pathogens, e.g., the bacteria of the genus Campylobacter that occur in their digestive tracts. These species may be vectors of antimicrobial resistance dissemination in the env...
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Transmission of gastrointestinal bacteria, Campylobacter spp. and Salmonella spp., from wild birds may have serious consequences for human health and poultry industry. Despite this, our knowledge on the distribution of these bacteria in wild avian populations is limited. Since both genera markedly differ in their pathogenicity in wild birds (Campyl...
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Melanin‐ and carotenoid‐based ornaments often signal different aspects of individual quality or similar components of quality under different environmental conditions and, thus, they may become evolutionarily integrated into a composite sexual trait. On the other hand, functionally and developmentally different characters (e.g. coloration character...
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Blood oxygen-carrying capacity is one of the important determinants of the amount of oxygen supplied to the tissue per unit time and plays a key role in oxidative metabolism. In wild vertebrates, blood oxygen-carrying capacity is most commonly measured with the total blood hemoglobin concentration (Hb) and hematocrit (Hct), which is the volume perc...
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Louse flies are blood-sucking ectoparasites of birds and mammals of veterinary and medical importance. These flies damage host skin and serve as vectors for blood-associated pathogens. Little is known about their phenology, host selection, and prevalence in wild birds. Our study provided a broad-scale assessment of louse flies parasitizing Charadri...
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There is increasing evidence that melanin-based plumage ornaments play a role in the sexual selection of birds, although there seems to be little consensus on the mechanisms underlying the signalling function of melanin-based plumage. The aim of this study was to assess the potential of a melanin-based plumage ornament (brown hood) to reflect compo...
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Two or three gull species (Laridae) commonly breed together in one colony, often caused by a shortage of optimal breeding sites or as an anti-predator behaviour. Observers usually assume that the benefits of colonial breeding outweigh potential costs. Still, our study shows that the costs can be substantial. We show that short distances between nes...
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The Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus, like many other gulls, has monomorphic plumage, which impedes sex identification in the field. We analysed the size of the hood, eye ring and wing tip and found that putative ornaments did not differ between sexes in this species. We formulated a novel discriminant function for Black-headed Gulls using morpho...
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Elevated transmission rate of pathogens and parasites is considered one of the major costs of sociality in birds. However, greater risk of infection in colonial birds might be compensated by specific immune adaptations. Here, we predicted that nestlings raised in larger colonies should invest more in their immune function. To test this hypothesis,...
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In species with sexual dimorphism, raising female or male offspring may be associated with different costs and benefits, resulting in a skewed nestling sex ratio. We examined the influence of: weather conditions, hatching date and brood size on nestling sex ratio in the black stork Ciconia nigra. We used molecular methods to determine the sex of 28...
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The use of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays to generate large SNP datasets for comparison purposes have recently become an attractive alternative to other genotyping methods. Although most SNP arrays were originally developed for domestic organisms, they can be effectively applied to wild relatives to obtain large panels of SNPs. In this...
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1.Lymphocytes and heterophils are the two most abundant leukocyte types, which play a major role in adaptive and innate immune defence, respectively. The ratio of heterophils to lymphocytes (H/L ratio) may reflect a readiness to cope with infection through injury (via heterophils) rather than with a communicable disease (via lymphocytes). Since ele...
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Background Genes of the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) are essential for adaptive immune response in vertebrates, as they encode receptors that recognize peptides derived from the processing of intracellular (MHC class I) and extracellular (MHC class II) pathogens. High MHC diversity in natural populations is primarily generated and maintai...
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Animals living in anthropogenic habitats bear a multitude of costs, which are directly or indirectly associated with human activities. Among others, an elevated exposure to environmental pollution can have negative consequences for wildlife populations. We examined the differences in the concentrations of trace elements between the field and forest...
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Behavioural adaptations are recognized as crucial determinants for successful establishment and persistence of animal populations in a novel urban environment. Here, we examined mechanisms responsible for the development of urban behavioural type in a common waterbird, the Eurasian coot Fulica atra. We compared the behaviour of coots from a rural p...
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The evolution of the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) is shaped by frequent gene duplications and deletions, which generate extensive variation in the number of loci (gene copies) between different taxa. Here, we collected estimates of copy number at the MHC for over 250 bird species from 68 families. We found contrasting patterns of copy num...
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Central nesting sites within avian colonies are often more profitable in terms of fitness, as they can offer better protection against predators, than colony edges. Thus, central sites are expected to attract high‐quality individuals, which should produce a clear central‐periphery gradients in the phenotypic quality of nesting individuals and repro...
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Nestling diet and parental provisioning rate are important determinants of reproductive success and future offspring performance in birds. The diet of Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) nestlings was characterized and tested for intra-seasonal and brood-size dependent variation in the type and mass of prey provisioned to the brood. Data were collected on...
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Mycobacterium tuberculosis is one of the deadliest and most challenging pathogens to study in current microbiological research. One of the issues that remains to be resolved is the importance of cobalamin in the metabolism of M. tuberculosis. The functionality of a vitamin B12 biosynthesis pathway in M. tuberculosis is under dispute, and the abilit...
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Recent advancements in sequencing technology have resulted in rapid progress in the study of the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) in non‐model avian species. Here, we analyse a global dataset of avian MHC class I and class II sequences (ca. eleven thousand sequences from over 250 species) to gain insight into the processes that govern macroev...
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Urban colonization by wildlife involves a combination of several different mechanisms, including phenotype or genotype sorting, phenotypic plasticity, and microevolutionary adaptation. Combination of these processes can produce a rapid phenotypic, but also genetic divergence of urban versus rural populations. Here, we examined the pattern of geneti...
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Gene polymorphisms shared between recently diverged species are thought to be widespread and most commonly reflect introgression from hybridization or retention of ancestral polymorphism through incomplete lineage sorting. Shared genetic diversity resulting from incomplete lineage sorting is usually maintained for a relatively short period of time,...
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The aim of this study was to evaluate which factors determined immediate mortality of Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) chicks during a heavy rainfall. On 26 June 2013, a heavy rainfall event was recorded at an inland colony of Common Terns in central Poland that resulted in the death of ∼30% of the chicks. The highest mortality rate was recorded in the...
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Game animals, such as the roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), have long been used as bioindicators of environmental contamination. Most ecotoxicological research on ungulates has focused on trace element content in soft tissues and antlers. Also, only fragmentary information exists about whether and how trace element concentrations vary with the age of...
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Assortative mating is a tendency to mate with phenotypically similar individuals as a consequence of either selection acting on mate preferences or individual constraints resulting from temporal and spatial segregation. The aim of this study was to examine the patterns of assortative mating in a plumage-monomorphic bird species, the black-headed gu...
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The relative ratio of the two main leukocyte types, heterophils (H) and lymphocytes (L), is known to change proportionally to the concentrations of stress hormones in the circulating blood. Thus, analysis of leukocyte profiles serves as a reliable proxy of stress in vertebrates, as high H/L ratios indicate stronger stress response. Moult and migrat...
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Although nesting at high densities promotes frequent interactions with individuals other than social mates, the rate of extra-pair paternity (EPP) in colonial waterbirds is generally low. So far, the highest EPP rate within this group has been reported in the black-headed gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus breeding in a colony in Czech Republic (33% b...
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1. Assessment of leukocyte profiles has become an increasingly popular tool in the fields of ecology and ecophysiology. The ratio of heterophils to lymphocytes (H/L ratio) is of special utility, as it reflects physiological adaptation of an organism to cope either with an infection through injury (via heterophils) or a communicable disease (via lym...