Francesco Bonadonna

Paul Valéry University, Montpellier 3, Montpelhièr, Languedoc-Roussillon, France

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Publications (87)260.86 Total impact

  • Simon Potier · Francesco Bonadonna · Almut Kelber · Olivier Duriez
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    ABSTRACT: Raptors are always considered to have an extraordinary resolving power of their eyes (high visual acuity). Nevertheless, raptors differ in their diet and foraging tactics, which could lead to large differences in visual acuity. The visual acuity of an opportunist bird of prey, the Chimango caracara (Mivalgo chimango) was estimated by operant conditioning. Three birds were trained to discriminate two stimuli, a positive grey uniform pattern and a negative grating pattern stimulus. The visual acuity range from 15.08 to 39.83 cycles/degrees. When compared to other birds, they have a higher visual acuity than non-raptorial birds, but they have the lowest visual acuity found in bird of prey so far. We discuss this result in the context of the ecology of the bird, with special focus on it is foraging tactic.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Physiology & Behavior
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    ABSTRACT: Chemical signals may be the basis of interspecific recognition and speciation in many animals. To test whether a chemical label allowing recognition between closely related species exists in seabirds, we investigated two closely related taxa breeding sympatrically at some localities: Cory's and Scopoli's shearwaters. Procellariiform seabirds are ideal for this study because they have a well-developed olfactory system and unequalled associated capabilities among birds. We analysed and compared the relative volatile compounds composition of the uropygial gland secretions of Cory's and Scopoli's shearwaters. As the volatile components from uropygial secretions might also provide some critical eco-chemical information about population origin and sex, we also examined variations in the volatile compounds between populations and sexes in Cory's shearwater. The chemical data were obtained using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry techniques looking for the presence of these three particular labels: species, population and gender. We found diagnostic differences in uropygial secretions between the two species of shearwaters and smaller but significant variation between populations of Cory's shearwater in the Atlantic. No significant differences were observed between males and females. Individuals might thus use the chemical variation between species to recognize and mate with conspecifics, especially at localities where both species breed sympatrically. Geographical variation in chemical composition of uropygial secretions suggests that selective forces might vary according with locations, and might provide a key in the species recognition. Further behavioural bioassays are needed to determine whether or not these species labels are signals allowing reproductive isolation between these two taxa. Finally, one of the aims of our study was to test easier methods than freezing for storing uropygial gland secretions in the field. We describe here a new possibility for the storage of uropygial secretion samples at ambient temperature in the field, providing an alternative, simple protocols for the sampling of avian chemosignals. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Journal of Avian Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Pelagic seabirds wander the open oceans then return accurately to their habitual nest-sites. We investigated the effects of sensory manipulation on oceanic navigation in Scopoli’s shearwaters (Calonectris diomedea) breeding at Pianosa island (Italy), by displacing them 400 km from their colony and tracking them. A recent experiment on Atlantic shearwaters (Cory’s shearwater, Calonectris borealis) breeding in the Azores indicated a crucial role of olfaction over the open ocean, but left open the question of whether birds might navigate by topographical landmark cues when available. Our experiment was conducted in the Mediterranean sea, where the availability of topographical cues may provide an alternative navigational mechanism for homing. Magnetically disturbed shearwaters and control birds oriented homeward even when the coast was not visible and rapidly homed. Anosmic shearwaters oriented in a direction significantly different from the home direction when in open sea. After having approached a coastline their flight path changed from convoluted to homeward oriented, so that most of them eventually reached home. Beside confirming that magnetic cues appear unimportant for oceanic navigation by seabirds, our results support the crucial role of olfactory cues for birds’ navigation and reveal that anosmic shearwaters are able to home eventually by following coastal features.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Scientific Reports

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Oct 2015
  • Gaia Dell'Ariccia · Laetitia Blanc · Francesco Bonadonna · Ana Sanz-Aguilar

    No preview · Conference Paper · Oct 2015
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    Gregory B Cunningham · Francesco Bonadonna
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies on olfaction in penguins have focused on their use of odours while foraging. It has been proposed for some seabirds that an olfactory landscape shaped by odours coming from feeding areas exists. Islands and colonies, however, may also contribute to the olfactory landscape and may act as an orienting map. To test sensitivities to a colony scent we studied whether King penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) could detect the smell of sand, feathers or feces by holding presentations beneath their beaks while they naturally slept on the beach. Penguins responded to the feathers and feces presentations significantly more than to sand. Although only a first step in exploring a broader role of olfaction in this species, our results raise the possibility of olfaction being used by King penguins in three potential ways: 1) locating the colony from the water or the shore, 2) finding the rendezvous zone within the colony where a chick or partner may be found, or 3) recognizing individuals by scent, as in Humboldt penguins (Spheniscus demersus). Further studies must be conducted to determine how sensitivity to feathers and feces is involved in the natural history of this species.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Journal of Experimental Biology
  • Gaia Dell'Ariccia · Laetitia Blanc · Francesco Bonadonna · Ana Sanz-Aguilar
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    ABSTRACT: Petrels are highly philopatric and return from migratory journeys of thousands of kilometres to breed in the same burrow year after year. During the breeding season, some burrowing petrel species rely on their sense of smell to locate their nest at night, but the mechanisms involved in the homing behaviour after several months at sea are virtually unknown. To understand whether the sense of smell is involved in nest finding at the return from migration and to study the interplay with other positional cues, we explored the homing behaviour and nest choice by Mediterranean storm petrels, Hydrobates pelagicus melitensis. During two consecutive winters, we conducted our research in a colony with well-used artificial nestboxes that has been studied for the past two decades. We experimentally displaced previously occupied nestboxes in late winter and then checked for nest choice and occupancy by breeding individuals in the following breeding season. This experimental design allowed the manipulation of the location of the burrow, and the olfactory information contained within, without manipulating other positional cues. We observed that almost all individuals nested in the nestbox located at the same position as the year before, regardless of whether the nestbox was the one they had previously occupied or another one. During the breeding period, we also tested in a Y-maze the olfactory preference for the occupied nestbox with respect to another random one. Again, storm petrels did not show any olfactory preference for their nest. Our study implies that storm petrels breeding in a cave rely on other positional cues than olfactory ones to home and suggests a mechanism combining tactile and proprioceptive cues to find the nest in the dark.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Animal Behaviour
  • Anna P. Nesterova · Andrea Flack · E. Emiel van Loon · Francesco Bonadonna · Dora Biro
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    ABSTRACT: Group members' individual experience can have important influences when navigating collectively. However, how exactly they structure group travel performance is still not fully understood. This study investigated how navigation and leadership dynamics are affected by the presence of an experienced individual in king penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus, chick pairs. We tested pairs of chicks in which two partners differed in their level of prior navigational experience. Naïve pairs consisted of two chicks that had no previous homing experience. In mixed pairs, one chick was naïve, but the other chick had previous homing experience. Our results showed that in mixed pairs the navigational performance of naïve chicks improved if they travelled together with an experienced partner compared to when they walked alone. Experienced chicks, however, maintained their relatively high speeds and efficiencies irrespective of whether they walked with a partner or independently. We also observed a shift in leadership dynamics: in naïve pairs, both chicks took turns in leading and following, while in mixed pairs, experienced chicks tended to lead throughout. Our work provides a valuable empirical system in which to test theoretical models of leadership and information transfer within groups.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Animal Behaviour
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    ABSTRACT: Norwegian Northern Gannet Morus bassanus populations exhibit contrasting trends on a regional scale, with several colony extinctions having occurred in recent decades. In an attempt to understand the ecological drivers of such variability, we tested whether resource availability is a factor limiting the current development of gannetries in the Lofoten/Vesterålen area. Between 2007 and 2010, we recorded arrival and departure times of breeding Northern Gannets from two colonies from regions showing contrasting population growth rates during the past two decades. We also recorded the duration of joint attendances by Northern Gannet parents at the nest, performed opportunistic diet sampling and counted numbers of occupied nests. Finally, we compiled ring recoveries over a 30-year period to assess inter-colony movements. Norwegian Gannet parents spent more time together, attending their chick, and performed shorter foraging trips than those in British and French colonies of similar size. This suggests that, despite some annual variations, their foraging effort was relatively low. Diet samples from both colonies mainly constituted fish of high energetic value, such as large herring Clupea harengus, mackerel Scomber scombrus, and saithe Pollachius virens, prey that are relatively abundant within the study area. Data from ringed birds revealed a northward movement of adults ringed as breeding birds and chicks from extinct Lofoten colonies that established a growing colony close to the North Cape. Recorded foraging features (trip duration, joint attendance and prey quality) during our study does not indicate food availability as a limiting factor explaining successive extinctions and re-colonisations of breeding sites in Lofoten/Vesterålen. White-tailed Eagles Haliaeetus albicilla are known to predate opportunistically on Northern Gannet adults or chicks and their populations are growing in the Lofoten area. Their potential impact on the Norwegian Northern Gannet population dynamics should be further investigated.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · Journal of Ornithology
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    ABSTRACT: Although birds have recently been shown to possess olfactory abilities and to use chemical cues in communication, limited effort has been made to demonstrate the use of odorants in social contexts. Even less is known regarding the use of odorants in species recognition. The ability to recognize conspecifics should be more pronounced in social species. This study investigated the importance of olfactory cues in species recognition in females of two estrildid finch species with different levels of sociality. Combining odor preference tests with chemical analyses, we surveyed whether female zebra finches and diamond firetails are able to distinguish between the species based on volatile traits and whether individuals exhibit species-specific differences in body odorants. Zebra finches are more social than diamond firetails; nevertheless, both species have an overlapping distribution area. Applying an experimental Y-maze paradigm, we showed that zebra finches can use differences in their species odor fingerprints and displayed a significant preference for the odor of conspecifics over that of heterospecifics, whereas diamond firetails did not reveal a preference. Using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, we demonstrated that body odorants of the two species were significantly different in relative composition. This finding demonstrates the potential importance of olfactory cues in species recognition, at least in social bird species. Even these two closely related species displayed remarkable differences in their responsiveness to similar chemical cues, which might be caused by species-specific differences in ecology, physiology, or evolution.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
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    ABSTRACT: Conflicts may arise within a moving animal group if its members have different preferred destinations. Many theoretical models suggest that in maintaining group cohesion conflicting preferences can have an overwhelming influence on decision making. However, empirical studies, especially on wild animals, remain limited. Here, we introduce a new study system for investigating collective decision making: king penguins, Aptenodytes patagonicus. Their gregarious lifestyle, the colony's organization into subgroups and group travel make king penguins especially interesting for studying collective movements. Chicks spend their first year of life in groups with other chicks (crèches), and if displaced will return to their crèche. We examined how different levels of navigational conflict affect such homing, by comparing the performance of pairs of chicks from the same crèche with pairs from different crèches. The majority of chicks in both treatments travelled at least part of the journey together; when doing so they were more efficient and faster than individuals travelling alone. Chicks took turns in leading and following. Chicks with a common destination (same-crèche pairs) were more precise at homing and less likely to split up than those with a conflict over preferred destinations (different-crèche pairs). Our results support some, but not all, predictions derived from theoretical models.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Animal Behaviour
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    Samuel P Caro · Jacques Balthazart · Francesco Bonadonna
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    ABSTRACT: This article is part of a Special Issue ("Chemosignals and Reproduction"). Chemical cues were probably the first cues ever used to communicate and are still ubiquitous among living organisms. Birds have long been considered an exception: it was believed that birds were anosmic and relied on their acute visual and acoustic capabilities. Birds are however excellent smellers and use odors in various contexts including food searching, orientation, but also breeding. Successful reproduction in most vertebrates involves the exchange of complex social signals between partners. The first evidence for a role of olfaction in reproductive contexts in birds only dates back to the seventies, when ducks were shown to require a functional sense of smell to express normal sexual behaviors. Nowadays, even if the interest for olfaction in birds has largely increased, the role that bodily odors play in reproduction still remains largely understudied. The few available studies however suggest that olfaction is involved in many reproductive stages. Odors have been shown to influence the choice and synchronization of partners, the choice of nest-building material or the care for the eggs and offspring. How this chemical information is translated at the physiological level mostly remain to be described, although available evidence suggests that, as in mammals, key reproductive brain areas like the medial preoptic nucleus are activated by relevant olfactory signals. Olfaction in birds receives increasing attention and novel findings are continuously published, but many exciting discoveries are still ahead of us, and could make birds one of the animal classes with the largest panel of developed senses ever described.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Hormones and Behavior
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    ABSTRACT: Many procellariiforms use olfactory cues to locate food patches over the seemingly featureless ocean surface. In particular, some of them are able to detect and are attracted by dimethylsulfide (DMS), a volatile compound naturally occurring over worldwide oceans in correspondence with productive feeding areas. However, current knowledge is restricted to sub-Antarctic species, and to only one study realized under natural conditions at sea. Here, for the first time, we investigated the response to DMS in parallel in two different environments in temperate waters, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, employing Cory's (Calonectris borealis) and Scopoli's shearwaters (Calonectris diomedea) as models. To test whether these birds can detect and respond to DMS, we presented them with this substance in a Y-maze. Then, to determine if they use this molecule in natural conditions, we tested the response to DMS at sea. The number of birds that chose the DMS in the Y-maze and that were recruited at DMS-scented slicks at sea suggest that these shearwaters are attracted to DMS in both non-foraging and natural contexts. Our findings show that the use of DMS as a foraging cue may be a strategy used by procellariiforms across oceans but that regional differences may exist, giving a worldwide perspective to previous hypotheses concerning the use of DMS as chemical cue.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Journal of Experimental Biology
  • Samuel P. Caro · Jacques Balthazart · Francesco Bonadonna

    No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Hormones and Behavior
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    ABSTRACT: Norwegian Northern Gannet Morus bassanus populations exhibit contrasted trends at a regional scale and several colony extinctions occurred in recent decades. In an attempt to understand the ecological drivers of such variability, we tested whether resource availability is a factor limiting the current development of gannetries in the Lofoten/Vesterålen area. Between 2007 and 2010, we recorded arrival and departure times of breeding gannets from two colonies from regions showing contrasting population growth rates during the past two decades. We also recorded the duration of joint attendances by gannet parents at the nest, performed opportunistic diet sampling and counted numbers of occupied nests. Finally, we compiled ring recoveries over a 30-year period to assess inter-colony movements. Norwegian gannet parents spent more time together, attending their chick, and performed shorter foraging trips than those in British and French colonies of similar size. This suggests that, despite some annual variations, their foraging effort was relatively low. Diet samples from both colonies mainly constituted fish of high energetic value, such as large herring Clupea harengus and mackerel Scomber scombrus, and saithe Pollachius virens, prey that are relatively abundant within the study area. Data from ringed birds revealed a northward movement of adults ringed as breeding birds and chicks from extinct Lofoten colonies that established in a growing colony close to the North Cape. Recorded foraging features (trip duration, joint attendance and prey quality) during our study does not indicate food availability as a limiting factor explaining successive extinctions and recolonisations of breeding sites in Lofoten/Vesterålen. White-tailed eagles Haliaeetus albicilla are known to predate opportunistically on Northern Gannet adult or chicks and their populations are growing in the Lofoten area. Their potential impact on the Norwegian Northern Gannet population dynamics should be further investigated.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Journal of Ornithology
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    G Sachs · J Traugott · A P Nesterova · F Bonadonna
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    ABSTRACT: Dynamic soaring is a small-scale flight manoeuvre which is the basis for the extreme flight performance of albatrosses and other large seabirds to travel huge distances in sustained non-flapping flight. As experimental data with sufficient resolution of th ese small-scale movements are not available, knowledge is lacking about dynamic soaring and the physical mechanism of the energy gain of the bird from the wind. With new in-house developments of GPS logging units for recording raw phase observations and of a dedicated mathematical method for postprocessing these measurements, it was possible to determine the small-scale flight manoeuvre with the required high precision. Experimental results from tracking 16 wandering albatrosses (Diomedea exulans) in the southern Indian Ocean show the characteristic pattern of dynamic soaring. This pattern consists of four flight phases comprising a windward climb, an upper curve, a leeward descent and a lower curve, which are continually repeated. It is shown that the primary energy gain from the shear wind is attained in the upper curve where the bird changes the flight direction from windward to leeward. As a result, the upper curve is the characteristic flight phase of dynamic soaring for achieving the energy gain necessary for sustained non-flapping flight.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Journal of Experimental Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Pelagic birds, which wander in the open sea most of the year and often nest on small remote oceanic islands, are able to pinpoint their breeding colony even within an apparently featureless environment, such as the open ocean. The mechanisms underlying their surprising navigational performance are still unknown. In order to investigate the nature of the cues exploited for oceanic navigation, Cory's shearwaters, Calonectris borealis, nesting in the Azores were displaced and released in open ocean at about 800 km from their colony, after being subjected to sensory manipulation. While magnetically disturbed shearwaters showed unaltered navigational performance and behaved similarly to unmanipulated control birds, the shearwaters deprived of their sense of smell were dramatically impaired in orientation and homing. Our data show that seabirds use olfactory cues not only to find their food but also to navigate over vast distances in the ocean.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Journal of Experimental Biology

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Aug 2013
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    Ismaël Keddar · Malvina Andris · Francesco Bonadonna · F. Stephen Dobson
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    ABSTRACT: Darwin devised sexual selection theory to explain sexual dimorphisms. Further developments of the theory identified the operational sex-ratio (OSR) as one of its cornerstones, and it was commonly admitted that an OSR biased toward one sex would lead to stronger selection pressures toward that sex. Recent theoretical developments have challenged this view and showed that the OSR alone does not determine the direction of sexual selection, more particularly in mutually ornamented species exhibiting high and similar parental investment by both sexes. These developments, however, focused on mutual intersexual selection, and little is known about intrasexual selection of both males and females in species exhibiting such characteristics. The first aim of our study was to test the relative involvement of males and females in same-sex contest over mates in the king penguin, a species exhibiting mutual ornamentation of the sexes, high parental investment by both sexes, and a male-biased OSR. We investigated the sex composition of trio parades, which are groups of three individuals that compete for mates during pair formation. We found that these trios consist of a female trailed by two fighting males in 19 of 20 cases; the 20th trio was all male. The second aim of our study was to investigate the existence of within-sex differences in colour ornaments between individuals involved in such trios and individuals already paired. While limited sample sizes precluded detection of statistically significant differences between trios vs. pairs, reflectance measurements suggested that the beak spot of males in trios were more strongly ultraviolet than the beak spot of males in pairs. We concluded that intrasexual selection in our colony follows the typical pattern of mate competition observed in species in which sexual dimorphisms and OSR are male biased, and discussed the ultraviolet difference within the framework of the king penguins' colour perception.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Ethology
  • Gaia Dell'Ariccia · Francesco Bonadonna

    No preview · Conference Paper · Apr 2013

Publication Stats

2k Citations
260.86 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2016
    • Paul Valéry University, Montpellier 3
      Montpelhièr, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
  • 2000-2015
    • French National Centre for Scientific Research
      • Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive
      Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France
  • 2004-2013
    • Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive
      Montpelhièr, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
  • 1997-2009
    • Università di Pisa
      • Department of Biology
      Pisa, Tuscany, Italy
  • 2003
    • University of California, Davis
      • Department of Neurology
      Davis, CA, United States
  • 1996
    • National Research Council
      Oristany, Sardinia, Italy