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Integrative and Comparative Biology

Robert L Cieri
Although the airways of vertebrates are diverse in shape, complexity, and function, they all contain visceral smooth muscle. The morphology, function, and innervation of this tissue in airways is reviewed in actinopterygians, lungfish, amphibians, non-avian reptiles, birds, and mammals. Smooth muscle was likely involved in tension regulation ancestrally, and may serve to assist lung emptying in fishes and aquatic amphibians, as well as maintain internal lung structure. In certain non-avian reptiles and anurans antagonistic smooth muscle fibers may contribute to intrapulmonary gas mixing...
January 22, 2019: Integrative and Comparative Biology
B S de Bakker, M J B van den Hoff, P D Vize, R J Oostra
Contemporary papers and book chapters on nephrology open with the assumption that human kidney development passes through three morphological stages: pronephros, mesonephros and metanephros. Current knowledge of the human pronephros, however, appears to be based on only a hand full of human specimens. The ongoing use of variations in the definition of a pronephros hamper the interpretation of study results. Because of the increased interest in the anamniote pronephros as a genetic model for kidney organogenesis we aimed to provide an overview of the literature concerning kidney development and to clarify the existence of a pronephros in human embryos...
January 15, 2019: Integrative and Comparative Biology
(no author information available yet)
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
December 12, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Julia D Sigwart, K D Bennett, Stewart M Edie, Luke Mander, Beth Okamura, Kevin Padian, Quentin Wheeler, Judith E Winston, Norine W Yeung
How biodiversity is changing in our time represents a major concern for all organismal biologists. Anthropogenic changes to our planet are decreasing species diversity through the negative effects of pollution, habitat destruction, direct extirpation of species, and climate change. But major biotic changes-including those that have both increased and decreased species diversity-have happened before in Earth's history. Biodiversity dynamics in past eras provide important context to understand ecological responses to current environmental change...
December 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Rick Loverd, Sara J ElShafie, Ann Merchant, C Sachi Gerbin
Mainstream film and television play a critical role in inspiring public interest in science. It can provide an enticing platform to share scientific information through storytelling. This requires collaboration between storytellers and scientists. However, such opportunities often lie outside the awareness or perceived interest of both filmmakers and scientists. The National Academy of Sciences therefore created The Science & Entertainment Exchange (The Exchange) to serve as a credible conduit to facilitate scientific input on film and television projects...
November 15, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
P S Segre, D E Cade, J Calambokidis, F E Fish, A S Friedlaender, J Potvin, J A Goldbogen
Blue whales are often characterized as highly stable, open-ocean swimmers who sacrifice maneuverability for long-distance cruising performance. However, recent studies have revealed that blue whales actually exhibit surprisingly complex underwater behaviors, yet little is known about the performance and control of these maneuvers. Here, we use multi-sensor biologgers equipped with cameras to quantify the locomotor dynamics and the movement of the control surfaces used by foraging blue whales. Our results revealed that simple maneuvers (rolls, turns, and pitch changes) are performed using distinct combinations of control and power provided by the flippers, the flukes, and bending of the body, while complex trajectories are structured by combining sequences of simple maneuvers...
November 15, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
(no author information available yet)
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 7, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Jenny Q Ouyang, Caroline Isaksson, Chloé Schmidt, Pierce Hutton, Frances Bonier, Davide Dominoni
As urban areas continue to grow, understanding how species respond and adapt to urban habitats is becoming increasingly important. Knowledge of the mechanisms behind observed phenotypic changes of urban-dwelling animals will enable us to better evaluate the impact of urbanization on current and future generations of wildlife and predict how animals respond to novel environments. Recently, urban ecology has emerged not only as a means of understanding organismal adaptation but also as a framework for exploring mechanisms mediating evolutionary phenomena...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Brett R Aiello, Gary B Gillis, Jessica L Fox
The successful completion of many behaviors relies on sensory feedback. This symposium brought together researchers using novel techniques to study how different stimuli are encoded, how and where multimodal feedback is integrated, and how feedback modulates motor output in diverse modes of locomotion (aerial, aquatic, and terrestrial) in a diverse range of taxa (insects, fish, tetrapods), and in robots. Similar to biological organisms, robots can be equipped with integrated sensors and can rely on sensory feedback to adjust the output signal of a controller...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Oriol Lapiedra
Human-driven rapid environmental changes such as urbanization challenge the persistence of animal populations worldwide. A major aim of research in urban ecology is to unravel which traits allow animals to successfully deal with these new selective pressures. Since behavior largely determines how animals interact with the environment, it is expected to be an important factor determining their success in urban environments. However, behavior is a complex trait and fully understanding how it contributes to urban success is not straightforward: different behaviors may help animals deal with urbanization at different levels of biological organization...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Simon Ducatez, Ferran Sayol, Daniel Sol, Louis Lefebvre
Although urbanization is a major threat to biodiversity, some species are able to thrive in cities. This might be because they have specific adaptations to urban conditions, because they are able to cope with artificial habitats in general or because they are generalists that can live in a wide range of conditions. We use the latest version of the IUCN database to distinguish these possibilities in 25,985 species of the four classes of terrestrial vertebrates with the help of phylogenetically controlled methods...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Jane Loveless, Barbara Webb
Larval Drosophila move up attractive chemical gradients, and down aversive ones. Although their movement is often characterized as a series of runs and directed turns, it can also be modeled as a continuous modulation of turning extent by the detected change in stimulus intensity as the animal moves through the gradient. We show that a neuromechanical model of peristaltic crawling and spontaneous bending in the larva can be adapted to produce taxis behavior by the simple addition of a local segmental reflex to modulate transverse viscosity (or "bendiness") proportionally to the intensity change detected in the head...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Pablo Salmón, Hannah Watson, Andreas Nord, Caroline Isaksson
As urban areas expand rapidly worldwide, wildlife is exposed to a wide range of novel environmental stressors, such as increased air pollution and artificial light at night. Birds in highly polluted and/or urbanized habitats have been found to have increased antioxidant protection, which is likely important to avoid accumulation of oxidative damage, which can have negative fitness consequences. Yet, the current knowledge about the ontogeny of antioxidant protection in urban areas is limited; i.e., is the capacity to up-regulate the antioxidant defences already established during pre-natal development, or does it manifest itself during post-natal development? We cross-fostered great tit (Parus major) nestlings within and between urban and rural habitats, to determine if oxidative stress (measured as non-enzymatic total antioxidant capacity, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and plasma lipid peroxidation) is affected by habitat of origin and/or by habitat of rearing...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Megan E Kobiela, Emilie C Snell-Rood
Heavy metal pollution is a major problem in urban and industrial environments, and has a myriad of negative effects on animals. Quantifying the amount of population-level variation that exists for heavy metal tolerance and how plastic responses to heavy metals play out across generations are essential for understanding how animals respond to pollution. As an initial step toward studying transgenerational effects and population-level variation in concert, we brought cabbage white butterflies (Pieris rapae) from two populations-collected from St...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Pierce Hutton, Christian D Wright, Dale F DeNardo, Kevin J McGraw
Global urban development continues to accelerate and have diverse effects on wildlife. Although most studies of anthropogenic impacts on animals have focused on indirect effects (e.g., environmental modifications like habitat change or pollution), there may also be direct effects of physical human presence and actions on wildlife stress, behavior, and persistence in cities. Most studies on how humans physically interact with wildlife have focused on the active, daytime phase of diurnal animals, rarely considering effects of our night-time activities...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Melanie Haehnel-Taguchi, Otar Akanyeti, James C Liao
The lateral line system is a sensory system unique to fishes and amphibians. It is composed of distributed mechanosensory hair cell organs on the head and body (neuromasts), which are sensitive to pressure gradients and water movements. Over the last decade, we have pursued an interdisciplinary approach by combining behavioral, electrophysiology, and robotics experiments to study this fascinating sensory system. In behavioral and electrophysiology experiments, we have studied the larval lateral line system in the model genetic organism, zebrafish (Danio rerio)...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Tracy I Mulholland, Danielle M Ferraro, Kelley C Boland, Kathleen N Ivey, My-Lan Le, Carl A LaRiccia, John M Vigianelli, Clinton D Francis
Artificial nest boxes are critical nesting sites for secondary cavity-nesting birds; however, they are often placed near roadways and in urban areas that experience noise pollution and other human-caused stressors. Recent correlative studies document both negative and positive influences of noise pollution on reproductive success. Additionally, observational studies have not determined which stage of the breeding process is most vulnerable to noise pollution-settlement, incubation, and/or provisioning. Here, we controlled for possible effects from non-random settlement and eliminated potential effects of roadways, such as collisions and chemical and light pollution, by experimentally introducing traffic noise into nest boxes after clutch initiation in two secondary-cavity nesting bird species...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Meredith E Kernbach, Richard J Hall, Nathan D Burkett-Cadena, Thomas R Unnasch, Lynn B Martin
Light pollution has emerged as a pervasive component of land development over the past century. Several detrimental impacts of this anthropogenic influence have been identified in night shift workers, laboratory rodents, and a plethora of wildlife species. Circadian, or daily, patterns are interrupted by the presence of light at night and have the capacity to alter rhythmic physiological or behavioral characteristics. Indeed, biorhythm disruption can lead to metabolic, reproductive, and immunological dysfunction depending on the intensity, timing, duration, and wavelength of light exposure...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Brett R Aiello, Adam R Hardy, Mark W Westneat, Melina E Hale
Mechanosensation is a universal feature of animals that is essential for behavior, allowing detection of animals' own body movement and position as well as physical characteristics of the environment. The extraordinary morphological and behavioral diversity that exists across fish species provide rich opportunities for comparative mechanosensory studies in fins. The fins of fishes have been found to function as proprioceptors, by providing feedback on fin ray position and movement, and as tactile sensors, by encoding pressures applied to the fin surface...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Monica A Daley
Birds are a diverse and agile lineage of vertebrates that all use bipedal locomotion for at least part of their life. Thus birds provide a valuable opportunity to investigate how biomechanics and sensorimotor control are integrated for agile bipedal locomotion. This review summarizes recent work using terrain perturbations to reveal neuromechanical control strategies used by ground birds to achieve robust, stable, and agile running. Early experiments in running guinea fowl aimed to reveal the immediate intrinsic mechanical response to an unexpected drop ("pothole") in terrain...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
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