Michael P Ward

University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Publications (168)369.32 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Nocturnal singing in diurnal birds is poorly described in the literature and is not well understood. Most research has been limited to the documentation of the behavior, with little information regarding the patterns and function of nocturnal song. We used autonomous acoustic recording units and automated detection and classification algorithms to examine the seasonal and nocturnal patterns of song in the Field Sparrow, Spizella pusilla, a diurnal songbird. We used a generalized linear mixed model to investigate the patterns in the probability of recording each of the two song types described for the species (simple and complex) at night from 7938 10-min recordings from 14 different individuals singing in six different grassland patches. We fit different models investigating the influence of date within the season and time period during the night, and compared models using the Bayesian information criterion. Male Field Sparrows sang both simple and complex songs during the early stages of territory settlement and mate acquisition. However, as the breeding season progressed, we detected fewer instances of simple song, while the occurrence of complex song increased, reaching its peak during the height of reproductive activity. The seasonal pattern of simple and complex songs suggests that they may have a similar function at night and during the day, with simple songs used for inter-sexual interactions and complex songs used for intrasexual functions. Consequently, the role and function of nocturnal song may be more important for reproductive activities than previously assumed.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2016
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    ABSTRACT: Classical swine fever has been negatively impacting pig production in Nusa Tenggara Timur province in eastern Indonesia since its introduction in the 1990s, with live market trade contributing to disease spread. To understand market trader knowledge and practices regarding pig management, biosecurity, pig movements and pig health (specifically CSF), a repeated survey was conducted with pig sellers and pig buyers at 9 market sites across West Timor and the islands of Flores and Sumba. A total of 292 sellers and 281 buyers were interviewed in 2009 during two periods (rounds), a high-demand month (September) and a low-demand month (November). Information was collected via questionnaire. The majority of traders were male (sellers: 89%; buyers: 87%) with the highest level of completed education being primary school (sellers: 48%; buyers: 41%). The primary occupation of most respondents was farming: 90% of sellers and 87% of buyers were smallholder pig farmers and tended to sell their own home-raised pigs at market (52%). Pigs were sold for monetary gain either for primary (52%) or extra income (44%). Markets tended to be selected based on a good reputation (62%), a location close to residence (62%) and having the desired pig type (59%). Pig sales through markets were reported to be highest from August to October with 31% of sellers trading pigs at two or more markets. Prices at market were significantly higher on Sumba compared to West Timor and cross-bred pigs were significantly more expensive than indigenous pigs. Understanding of CSF and biosecurity was limited: 85% of sellers and 83% of buyers had no prior knowledge of CSF. Fifty-four percent of sellers reported no use of any biosecurity practices at market. Most respondents (88%) were able to recognise at least one clinical sign of a sick pig. Informal pig movements were also identified: 18% of pig buyers purchased pigs directly from other farmers. This study has provided baseline information on market trader activities at live pig markets in NTT that can contribute to the formation of sustainable strategies for improving pig health. Since NTT is the poorest province in Indonesia and pigs play a vital socioeconomic role in this province, market management and farmer education is needed to improve the pig market chain and contribute to socioeconomic development.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Acta tropica
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    ABSTRACT: Helminth infections are believed to be common in tropical and subtropical countries. A cross-sectional study was carried out in two villages located in Guichi District in Anhui Province, the People’s Republic of China, where multiparasitism was investigated using parasitological tests. The data collected were fitted to Bayesian multi-level models to profile risk factors for helminth infections. The prevalence of Schistosoma (S.) japonicum, Ascaris (A.) lumbricoides and Trichuris (T.) trichiura were 0.43% (range: 0-0.87% at the village level), 2.28% (range: 1.69-2.88%), and 0.21% (range: 0-0.42%), respectively. No hookworm infection was found. With regard to multiparasitism, only a 33-year-old female was found to be co-infected with S. japonicum and A. lumbricoides. Multiparasitism was unexpectedly rare in the study area, which contrasts with results from other studies carried out elsewhere in the country. The long-term usage of albendazole for individuals serologically positive for schistosomiasis may be the main reason, but this needs to be confirmed by future studies.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Geospatial health
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    ABSTRACT: Predation involves costs and benefits, so predators should employ tactics that reduce their risk of injury or death and that increase their success at capturing prey. One potential way that predators could decrease risk and increase benefits is by attacking prey at night when risks may be reduced and prey more vulnerable. Because some snakes are facultatively nocturnal and prey on bird nests during the day and night, they are ideal for assessing the costs and benefits of diurnal vs. nocturnal predation. We used automated radiotelemetry and cameras to investigate predation on nesting birds by two species of snakes, one diurnal and the other facultatively nocturnal. We predicted that snakes preying on nests at night should experience less parental nest defence and capture more adults and nestlings. Rat snakes (Pantherophis obsoletus) were relatively inactive at night (23-36% activity) but nearly always preyed on nests after dark (80% of nest predations). Conversely, racers (Coluber constrictor) were exclusively diurnal and preyed on nests during the times of day they were most active. These results are consistent with rat snakes strategically using their capacity for facultative nocturnal activity to prey on nests at night. The likely benefit is reduced nest defence because birds defended their nests less vigourously at night. Consistent with nocturnal predation being safer, rat snake predation events lasted three times longer at night than during the day (26 vs. 8 min). Nocturnal nest predation did not make nests more profitable by increasing the likelihood of capturing adults or removing premature fledging of nestlings. The disconnect between rat snake activity and timing of nest predation seems most consistent with rat snakes locating prey during the day using visual cues but waiting until dark to prey on nests when predation is safer, although designing a direct test of this hypothesis will be challenging.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Ethology
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    Elaine Zourkas · Michael P. Ward · Mark Kelman
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    ABSTRACT: Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a highly contagious and often fatal disease reported worldwide. Outbreaks occur throughout Australia, and it has been suggested that disproportionally more CPV cases occur in rural locations. However, evidence to support this suggestion-and possible reasons for such a predisposition-has not existed until now. In this study a total of 4870 CPV cases reported from an Australian disease surveillance system between September 2009 and July 2014 were analysed. Australian postcodes were classified as rural or urban (based on human population density) and reported CPV cases were then categorised as rural or urban based on their reported home postcode. Parvovirus cases were predominately young (<12 months), entire, unvaccinated, mixed-breed dogs. More than twice as many of the reported cases were from a rural area (3321 cases) compared to an urban area (1549 cases). The overall case fatality rate was 47.2%; it was higher for those CPV cases reported from urban areas (50.6%) than rural areas (45.5%). A greater proportion of rural cases were younger, entire dogs compared to urban cases. The final multivariable model of CPV cases being reported from a rural area included age (<12 months) and vaccination status (never vaccinated) as significant predictors. Poor socioeconomic status might be a reason for the decision of rural owners not to vaccinate their dogs as readily as urban owners. The excess reporting of rural CPV cases compared to urban cases and the predictive risk factors identified in this study can be used by veterinarians to reduce the incidence of CPV by educating owners about the disease and promoting better vaccination programs in rural areas. This study also supports that the increased risk of CPV in rural areas may necessitate a need for increased vigilance around preventing CPV disease spread, additional care with puppies which are the most susceptible to this disease and tighter vaccination protocols, compared to urban areas.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Veterinary Microbiology
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    Victor Y. Zhang · Antonio Celis-Murillo · Michael P. Ward
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    ABSTRACT: Many bird species participate in dawn singing, a behaviour categorized by intensive singing at dawn; however, many of these species deliver only one song type at dawn. While there are many proximate and ultimate hypotheses for why birds sing at dawn, little is known about whether males are able to vary one simple song to convey different information. We used autonomous acoustic recorders to record dawn songs of field sparrows and quantified three parameters of singing performance: 1) bout length, 2) song rate, and 3) song complexity. We found that males sang the longest dawn bouts during their mate’s fertile period, the highest song rates during the post-fertile period, and the most complex songs during the pre-fertile period. The change in dawn singing behaviour with their mate’s breeding stage suggest the purpose of dawn song may be context dependent. Our results demonstrate that male field sparrows, while only having a single song type sung at dawn, may convey information for both intra- and intersexual purposes. While it is generally assumed that dawn song has a specific function, the variability in the duration, rate, and complexity of dawn song in field sparrows suggests that they are conveying different information and that dawn song likely has multiple functions.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Bioacoustics
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    ABSTRACT: Land management decisions frequently involve choices that reflect tradeoffs among ecosystem services. These tradeoffs are not always apparent, and land managers unknowingly may make decisions that diminish the value of some services while enhancing the value of others. Offset policies, such as wetland mitigation in the United States, rely on the assumption that ecosystems can be restored to provide a full suite of services. Wetlands provide many ecosystem services such as water quality maintenance, carbon storage, flood abatement, and biodiversity support. Our objectives were to describe tradeoffs among ecosystem services in mitigation wetlands and identify abiotic and biotic drivers underlying these tradeoffs. We measured denitrification potential, organic matter decomposition, herbaceous biomass, and soil organic content as indicators of nutrient storage and removal services in 30 mitigation wetlands in Illinois, USA. Additionally, we estimated surface-water storage potential, and, since wetlands provide valuable biodiversity support, we determined the species composition of plant, anuran, and avian communities. We found a positive relationship among biodiversity indicators for different taxa. Denitrification potential and surface-water storage potential were positively correlated. However, there was a tradeoff between biodiversity support and nutrient cycling processes; soil organic matter, biomass, decomposition rates, and potential denitrification were greater at less biodiverse sites. Our findings indicate that optimizing restored wetlands for nutrient storage and removal may come at the expense of biodiversity. It is unrealistic to expect all services to be maximized at a restoration site. Therefore, restoration practitioners should prioritize services based on needs and opportunities given local and watershed contexts.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Biological Conservation
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    ABSTRACT: Rabies is an important but preventable cause of death in Ethiopia. We assessed the knowledge, attitudes and practices of animal bite victims attending an anti-rabies health center in Jimma Town, Ethiopia. Between July 2012 and March 2013 a cross-sectional questionnaire was administered to 384 bite victims or their guardians in the case of minors (aged <15 years). Factors associated with knowledge, attitudes and practices were evaluated using generalized linear models. Almost all participants (99%) were aware that rabies was transmitted by the bite or lick of a rabid dog, however only 20.1% identified "germs" as the cause of disease. A majority of participants stated rabies could be prevented by avoiding dog bites (64.6%) and confining dogs (53.9%); fewer (41.7%) recognized vaccination of dogs/cats as an important preventive strategy. Regarding attitudes, most (91.1%) agreed that medical evaluation should be sought as soon as possible. However, most (75.0%) also believed that traditional healers could cure rabies. Rural residence (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 2.1, p = 0.015) and Protestant religion (OR = 2.4, p = 0.041) were independently associated with this belief. Among 186 participants who owned dogs, only 9 (4.8%) had ever vaccinated their dog and more than 90% of respondents indicated that their dog was free-roaming or cohabitated with the family. Only 7.0% of participants applied correct first aid following exposure, and the majority (47.7%) reported that the animal was killed by the community following the incident. Female sex and Muslim religion were independently associated with higher and lower practices scores, respectively, due largely to differences in animal management practices following the incident. Although respondents demonstrated reasonably sound knowledge of rabies and its transmission, attitudes and practices were inconsistent with rabies prevention. Culturally- and gender-sensitive activities that promote proper first aid and healthcare seeking behavior as well as appropriate animal management, particularly in rural areas, are needed to prevent deaths associated with rabies in this setting.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
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    Salome Dürr · Michael P Ward
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    ABSTRACT: Domestic dog rabies is an endemic disease in large parts of the developing world and also epidemic in previously free regions. For example, it continues to spread in eastern Indonesia and currently threatens adjacent rabies-free regions with high densities of free-roaming dogs, including remote northern Australia. Mathematical and simulation disease models are useful tools to provide insights on the most effective control strategies and to inform policy decisions. Existing rabies models typically focus on long-term control programs in endemic countries. However, simulation models describing the dog rabies incursion scenario in regions where rabies is still exotic are lacking. We here describe such a stochastic, spatially explicit rabies simulation model that is based on individual dog information collected in two remote regions in northern Australia. Illustrative simulations produced plausible results with epidemic characteristics expected for rabies outbreaks in disease free regions (mean R0 1.7, epidemic peak 97 days post-incursion, vaccination as the most effective response strategy). Systematic sensitivity analysis identified that model outcomes were most sensitive to seven of the 30 model parameters tested. This model is suitable for exploring rabies spread and control before an incursion in populations of largely free-roaming dogs that live close together with their owners. It can be used for ad-hoc contingency or response planning prior to and shortly after incursion of dog rabies in previously free regions. One challenge that remains is model parameterisation, particularly how dogs' roaming and contacts and biting behaviours change following a rabies incursion in a previously rabies free population.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
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    ABSTRACT: Tylosin phosphate is a macrolide commonly administered to cattle in North America for the control of liver abscesses. This study investigated the effect of in-feed administration of tylosin phosphate to cattle at subtherapeutic levels and its subsequent withdrawal on macrolide resistance using enterococci as an indicator bacterium. Faecal samples were collected from steers that received no antibiotics and steers administered tylosin phosphate (11 ppm) in-feed for 197 d and withdrawn 28 d before slaughter. Enterococcus species isolated from faecal samples were identified through sequencing the groES-EL intergenic spacer region and subject to antimicrobial susceptibility testing, identification of resistance determinants and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis profiling. Tylosin increased (P 0.05) between treatments on d 225. This suggests that antibiotic withdrawal prior to slaughter contributes to a reduction in the proportion of macrolide resistant enterococci entering the food chain. Among the 504 enterococci isolates characterised, E. hirae was found to predominate (n=431), followed by E. villorum (n=32), E. faecium (n=21), E. durans (n=7), E. casseliflavus (n=4), E. mundtii (n=4), E. gallinarum (n=3), E. faecalis (n=1), and E. thailandicus (n=1). The diversity of enterococci was greater in steers at arrival than at exit from the feedlot. Erythromycin resistant isolates harboured the erm(B) and/or msrC gene. Similar PFGE profiles of eryR E. hirae n pre- and post-antibiotic treatment suggests the increased abundance of eryR enterococci after administration of tylosin phosphate reflects selection for strains that were within the bovine gastrointestinal tract of cattle at arrival.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Frontiers in Microbiology
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    John E. Andrews · Jeffrey D. Brawn · Michael P. Ward
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    ABSTRACT: Social cues are often used by birds when selecting breeding habitats, however, little is known about the timing and influence of social cues within or across seasons. The ontogeny of social information within newly available habitat is essentially unknown and potentially relevant to habitat management, as the primary approach of many conservation initiatives is to simply create habitat. We investigated the influence of conspecific attraction via social cues (conspecific playbacks) on newly created grasslands for Grasshopper Sparrows (Ammodramus savannarum) in Central Illinois over a 2-year period. We found that Grasshopper Sparrows quickly locate and settle at newly created grasslands without the need for social cues, however, social cues are used later in the season. At sites where social cues (i.e. conspecific vocalizations) were broadcast the densities of Grasshopper Sparrows were nearly double that of sites without the additional social cues, however, this difference occurred later in the breeding season. We suggest that social cues are more valuable for Grasshopper Sparrows later in the breeding season as a potential cue of the reproductive success of individuals currently at the site, and therefore future reproduction at the site. Grassland birds are experiencing large population declines and the primary conservation approach is to provide additional habitat. By understanding how grassland birds select breeding sites we can better develop and implement conservation plans.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · The Condor
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    Valerie L. Buxton · Michael P. Ward · Jinelle H. Sperry
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    ABSTRACT: Conspecific cues have been shown to influence habitat selection in many different species. In anurans, conspecific chorus sounds may facilitate location of new breeding ponds, but direct experimental evidence supporting this notion is lacking. We conducted an experimental field study on American toads (Anaxyrus americanus) and Cope’s gray tree frogs (Hyla chrysoscelis) to determine whether toads and tree frogs use acoustic cues to find new breeding areas by broadcasting chorus sounds at artificial ponds. We found that acoustic cues were effective in attracting H. chrysoscelis to ponds; playback ponds were detected by H. chrysoscelis at significantly faster rates and had greater rates of use than control ponds. Anaxyrus americanus did not colonize ponds regardless of the presence of chorus sounds. This study provides some of the first experimental field evidence that anurans use conspecific cues to locate new breeding habitat; however, species with certain life-history traits may be more likely to exhibit this behavior. These findings may have valuable applications to amphibian conservation and management. If certain anuran species use presence of conspecifics to select habitat, managers may manipulate conspecific cues to passively translocate individuals across the landscape to target wetlands.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Behavioral Ecology
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    ABSTRACT: Although Indonesia has been rabies-infected since at least the 1880s, some islands remain rabies-free, such as Lombok. However, due to its adjacency to rabies-infected islands such as Bali and Flores, there is considerable risk of a rabies incursion. As part of a rabies risk assessment project, surveys were conducted to estimate the size of the dog population and to describe dog management practices of households belonging to different ethnic groups. A photographic-recapture method was employed and the number of unowned dogs was estimated. A total of 400 dog owning households were interviewed, 300 at an urban site and 100 at a rural site. The majority of the interviewed households belonged to the Balinese ethnic group. Owned dogs were more likely male, and non-pedigree or local breed. These households kept their dogs either fully restricted, semi-free roaming or free-roaming but full restriction was reported only at the urban site. Dog bite cases were reported to be higher at the urban site, and commonly affected children/young adults to 20 years old and males. A higher number of unowned dogs was observed at the urban site than at the rural site. Data generated within these surveys can inform rabies risk assessment models to quantify the probability of rabies being released into Lombok and resulting in the infection of the local dog population. The information gained is critical for efforts to educate dog owners about rabies, as a component of preparedness to prevent the establishment of rabies should an incursion occur.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    Tamara Rika-Heke · Mark Kelman · Michael P. Ward
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to describe the association between climate, weather and the occurrence of canine tick paralysis, feline tick paralysis and canine parvovirus in Australia. The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) and monthly average rainfall (mm) data were used as indices for climate and weather, respectively. Case data were extracted from a voluntary national companion animal disease surveillance resource. Climate and weather data were obtained from the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology. During the 4-year study period (January 2010-December 2013), a total of 4742 canine parvovirus cases and 8417 tick paralysis cases were reported. No significant (P ≥ 0.05) correlations were found between the SOI and parvovirus, canine tick paralysis or feline tick paralysis. A significant (P < 0.05) positive cross-correlation was found between parvovirus occurrence and rainfall in the same month (0.28), and significant negative cross-correlations (-0.26 to -0.36) between parvovirus occurrence and rainfall 4-6 months previously. Significant (P < 0.05) negative cross-correlations (-0.34 to -0.39) were found between canine tick paralysis occurrence and rainfall 1-3 months previously, and significant positive cross-correlations (0.29-0.47) between canine tick paralysis occurrence and rainfall 7-10 months previously. Significant positive cross-correlations (0.37-0.68) were found between cases of feline tick paralysis and rainfall 6-10 months previously. These findings may offer a useful tool for the management and prevention of tick paralysis and canine parvovirus, by providing an evidence base supporting the recommendations of veterinarians to clients thus reducing the impact of these diseases. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · The Veterinary Journal
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    ABSTRACT: One Health surveillance describes the systematic collection, validation, analysis, interpretation of data and dissemination of information collected on humans, animals and the environment to inform decisions for more effective, evidence- and system-based health interventions. During the second International Conference on Animal Health Surveillance (ICAHS) in Havana, Cuba, a panel discussion was organised to discuss the relevance of One Health in the context of surveillance. A number of success stories were presented which generally focused on the obvious interfaces between human and veterinary medicine such as zoonoses and food safety. Activities aimed at strengthening inter-sectoral networking through technical collaboration, conferences, workshops and consultations have resulted in recommendations to advance the One Health concept. There are also several One Health educational programmes offered as Masters programmes. Continuing challenges to One Health surveillance were identified at both technical as well as organisational level. It was acknowledged that the public health sector and the environmental sector could be engaged more in One Health activities. Legal issues, hurdles to data sharing, unclear responsibilities and structural barriers between ministries prevent integrated action. Policy makers in the health sector often perceive One Health as a veterinary-driven initiative that is not particularly relevant to their priority problems. Whilst some funding schemes allow for the employment of scientists and technicians for research projects, the development of a sustainable One Health workforce has yet to be broadly demonstrated. Funding opportunities do not explicitly promote the development of One Health surveillance systems. In addition, organisational, legal and administrative barriers may prevent operational implementation. Strategies and communication across sectors need to be aligned. Whilst at the technical or local level the formal separation can be bridged, separate funding sources and budgets can jeopardise the overall strategy, especially if funding cuts are later required. To overcome such challenges, a strong business case for One Health surveillance is needed. This should include the costs and benefits of One Health activities or projects including consequences of different strategies as well as risks. Integrated training should also be further promoted. Future ICAHS conferences should continue to provide a platform for discussing surveillance in the One Health context and to provide a forum for surveillance professionals from all relevant sectors to interact. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Preventive Veterinary Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Approximately two thirds of migratory songbirds in eastern North America negotiate the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), where inclement weather coupled with no refueling or resting opportunities can be lethal. However, decisions made when navigating such features and their consequences remain largely unknown due to technological limitations of tracking small animals over large areas. We used automated radio telemetry to track three songbird species (Red-eyed Vireo, Swainson's Thrush, Wood Thrush) from coastal Alabama to the northern Yucatan Peninsula (YP) during fall migration. Detecting songbirds after crossing ∼1,000 km of open water allowed us to examine intrinsic (age, wing length, fat) and extrin-sic (weather, date) variables shaping departure decisions, arrival at the YP, and crossing times. Large fat reserves and low humidity, indicative of beneficial synoptic weather patterns, favored southward departure across the Gulf. Individuals detected in the YP departed with large fat reserves and later in the fall with profitable winds, and flight durations (mean = 22.4 h) were positively related to wind profit. Age was not related to departure behavior, arrival, or travel time. However, vireos negotiated the GOM differently than thrushes, including different departure decisions, lower probability of detection in the YP, and longer crossing times. Defense of winter territories by thrushes but not vireos and species-specific foraging habits may explain the divergent migratory behaviors. Fat reserves appear extremely important to departure decisions and arrival in the YP. As habitat along the GOM is degraded, birds may be limited in their ability to acquire fat to cross the Gulf. migration | ecological barrier | Gulf of Mexico | songbirds | weather
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    Scott Chiavacci · Michael P. Ward · Thomas J. Benson
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    ABSTRACT: Predation represents the primary cause of mortality for both nestling and fledgling birds and is often greatest in the days immediately before and after nest departure. Due to the selective pressures of such high mortality rates, behaviors likely evolved to increase the survival of young. Among altricial species, fledging often occurs in the morning with most nestlings leaving within six hours of sunrise. However, why nestlings tend to fledge in the morning and whether this strategy is a response to predation risk is unknown. We investigated how the time of day when fledging began and how rapidly broodmates fledged were influenced by nest predation rates and nest site features that affect nest predation risk. We video recorded 477 fledging events at 202 nests of 17 species. Nestlings occupying nests with greater predation risk initiated fledging earlier in the day than those at safer nests. Similarly, broodmates in riskier nests fledged over a shorter period of time than broodmates in safer nests. Our findings support the hypothesis that predation risk influences the time of day when fledging occurs. By fledging earlier and more quickly, young in high risk nests presumably decrease their chances of being depredated in the nest, while those occupying safer nests are likely under reduced pressure to fledge as early and quickly as possible. These results indicate that nestlings preparing to fledge likely face more complex situations than currently understood and the timing of nest departure is an important decision made in an effort to maximize fledgling fitness.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Behavioral Ecology
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    ABSTRACT: In Bhutan, Capture-Neuter-Vaccinate-Release (CNVR) programs have been implemented to manage the dog population and control rabies, but no detailed evaluation has been done to assess their coverage and impact. We compared estimates of the dog population using three analytical methods: Lincoln-Petersen index, the Chapman estimate, and the logit-normal mixed effects model, and a varying number of count periods at different times of the day to recommend a protocol for applying the mark-resight framework to estimate free-roaming dog population abundance. We assessed the coverage of the CNVR program by estimating the proportion of dogs that were ear-notched and visually scored the health and skin condition of free-roaming dogs in Gelephu and Phuentsholing towns in south Bhutan, bordering India, in September–October 2012.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Preventive Veterinary Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Pig farming is a common practice among smallholder farmers in Nusa Tenggara Timur province (NTT), eastern Indonesia. To understand their production systems a survey of smallholder pig farmers was conducted. Eighteen villages were randomly selected across West Timor, Flores and Sumba islands, and 289 pig farmers were interviewed. Information on pig management, biosecurity practices, pig movements and knowledge of pig health and disease, specifically classical swine fever was collected. The mean number of pigs per herd was 5.0 (not including piglets) and total marketable herd size (pigs ≥ two months of age) did not differ significantly between islands (P = 0.215). Chickens (71%) and dogs (62%) were the most commonly kept animal species in addition to pigs. Pigs were mainly kept as a secondary income source (69%) and 83% of farmers owned at least one sow. Seventy-four percent (74%) of pigs were housed in a kandang (small bamboo pen) and 25% were tethered. Pig feeds were primarily locally sourced agricultural products (93%). The majority of farmers had no knowledge of classical swine fever (91%) and biosecurity practices were minimal. Forty-five percent (45%) reported to consuming a pig when it died and 74% failed to report cases of sick or dead pigs to appropriate authorities. Sixty-five percent (65%) of farmers reported that a veterinarian or animal health worker had never visited their village. Backyard slaughter was common practice (55%), with meat mainly used for home consumption (89%). Most (73%) farmers purchased pigs in order to raise the animal on their farm with 36% purchasing at least one pig within the last year. Predominantly fattener pigs (34%) were given as gifts for celebratory events, most commonly for funerals (32%), traditional ceremonies (27%) and marriages (10%). For improved productivity of this traditional low-input system, research incorporating farming training and improved knowledge on pig disease and biosecurity needs to be integrated with greater access to extension services.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Preventive Veterinary Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Knowledge of live animal movement through markets and from farm-to-farm is needed to inform strategies for control of trans-boundary animal diseases (TADs) in south-east Asia, particularly due to consumer preference for fresh meat. In eastern Indonesia a TAD of principal interest for control is classical swine fever (CSF) due to its impacts on smallholder farmers. Pig movement is considered a contributor to failure of current CSF control efforts but pig movement patterns are not well understood. This study investigated movement of live pigs in West Timor, Flores and Sumba islands during 2009-2010, with the aim of informing CSF control policies for Nusa Tenggara Timor province. A market survey of 292 pig sellers and 281 pig buyers across nine live pig markets and a farmer survey across 18 villages with 289 smallholder farmers were conducted and information collected on pig movements. The data obtained was used for social network analysis (SNA) on formal (via a market) and informal (village-to-village) movements using information on trading practices, source and destination locations, and the number of pigs being moved. Both inter- and intra-island movements were identified, however inter-island movement was only observed between Flores and Sumba islands. West Timor and Sumba had highly connected networks where large numbers of villages were directly and indirectly linked through pig movement. Further for West Timor, both formal and informal pig movements linked the capital Kupang, on the eastern end of the island to the western districts bordering East Timor connecting all five districts and demonstrating that informal movement transports pigs over distances similar to formal movement on this island. Sumba had a higher potential for pigs to move to a greater number of sequential locations across the entire island. Flores was found to have a more fragmented network, with pig movements concentrated in its eastern or western regions, influenced by terrain. Markets were confirmed as high-risk locations for the introduction and spread of disease, having over 20 contacts (based on in- and out-degree values) depending on operational day. Villages considered high-risk for CSF spread via informal movements were characterised by higher volume of pig exits and/or linkage to higher numbers of other villages. These findings demonstrate that informal movement (often related to cultural practices) can be extensive and the high level of connectivity dictates that control strategies for CSF and other highly transmissible diseases must be formulated at the provincial level and in collaboration with East Timor. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Preventive Veterinary Medicine

Publication Stats

2k Citations
369.32 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008-2015
    • University of Sydney
      • Faculty of Veterinary Science
      Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • 2005-2015
    • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
      • • Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
      • • Illinois Natural History Survey
      • • Department of Animal Biology
      Urbana, Illinois, United States
  • 2006-2010
    • Texas A&M University
      • • Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences
      • • College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
      College Station, Texas, United States
    • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
      Washington, Washington, D.C., United States
  • 2001-2005
    • Purdue University
      • • Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences (VCS)
      • • Department of Comparative Pathobiology (CPB)
      ウェストラファイエット, Indiana, United States