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Full-Text Articles in Life Sciences

The Economic Impacts Of Blackbird (Icteridae) Damage To Sunflower In The Usa, Karina Ernst, Julie Elser, George Linz, Hans Kandel, Jason Holderieath, Samantha Degroot, Steven Shwiff, Stephanie Shwiff Oct 2019

The Economic Impacts Of Blackbird (Icteridae) Damage To Sunflower In The Usa, Karina Ernst, Julie Elser, George Linz, Hans Kandel, Jason Holderieath, Samantha Degroot, Steven Shwiff, Stephanie Shwiff

Jason Holderieath

BACKGROUND: Blackbird (Icteridae) damage to ripening sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) has been a persistent economic issue in the USA for the last five decades. To quantify losses, we surveyed blackbird damage from 2001 to 2013 (excluding 2004) to physiologically mature sunflower in eight states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Colorado, Kansas, and Vermont.

RESULTS:We pooled data gathered during the most recent 5 years (2009 to 2013) of the survey and found losses averaged $US2.5 million and $US11.3 million for confectionery and oilseed hybrids, respectively. Three states, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska, had sufficient acreage ...


Fish Sentience Denial: Muddying The Waters, Lynne U. Sneddon, Javier Lopez-Luna, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Amanda D. Currie, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown Sep 2019

Fish Sentience Denial: Muddying The Waters, Lynne U. Sneddon, Javier Lopez-Luna, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Amanda D. Currie, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown

Lynne Sneddon, PhD

Recent empirical studies have reported evidence that many aquatic species, including fish, cephalopods and crustaceans, have the capacity for nociception and pain, and that their welfare should be taken into consideration. Some sceptics, rejecting the precautionary principle, have denied that any study demonstrates pain or other aspects of sentience in fish. This target article discusses some of the scientific shortcomings of these critiques through a detailed analysis of a study exploring nociception and analgesia in larval zebrafish.


Ample Evidence For Fish Sentience And Pain, Lynne U. Sneddon, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown Sep 2019

Ample Evidence For Fish Sentience And Pain, Lynne U. Sneddon, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown

Lynne Sneddon, PhD

The majority of commentaries are supportive of our position on the scepticism that muddies the waters surrounding fish pain and sentience. There is substantial empirical evidence for pain in fish. Animals’ experience of pain cannot be compared to artificial intelligence (AI) because AI can only mimic responses to nociceptive input on the basis of human observations and programming. Accepting that fish are sentient would not be detrimental to the industries reliant on fish. A more proactive discussion between scientists and stakeholders is needed to improve fish welfare for the benefit of all.


Habitat Structure And Alarm Call Dialects In Gunnison's Prairie Dog (Cynomys Gunnisoni), Bianca S. Perla, C. N. Slobodchikoff Sep 2019

Habitat Structure And Alarm Call Dialects In Gunnison's Prairie Dog (Cynomys Gunnisoni), Bianca S. Perla, C. N. Slobodchikoff

Con Slobodchikoff, PhD

We examined the relationship between habitat structure and alarm call characteristics in six colonies of Gunnison’s prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) near Flagstaff, Arizona, before and after a mid-summer vegetation change. We found significant differences in alarm call characteristics between colonies, confirming the existence of alarm call dialects. Differences in frequency components but not temporal components of calls were associated with differences in habitat structure. Playback experiments revealed that differences in alarm call structure affected acoustic transmission of calls through the local habitat. Thus, we identify habitat structure as one factor that may contribute to alarm call differences between colonies ...


Raising Consciousness About Chicken Consciousness, Bernard Rollin Sep 2019

Raising Consciousness About Chicken Consciousness, Bernard Rollin

Bernard Rollin, PhD

The topics explored by Marino are definitive, and should work well to lay to rest forever the widespread belief that chickens have no personality, are unintelligent, or in any other way lack a mental life.


Far More To Sheep Than Meets The Casual Eye, Bernard Rollin Sep 2019

Far More To Sheep Than Meets The Casual Eye, Bernard Rollin

Bernard Rollin, PhD

Marino & Merskin’s survey of the cognitive and social capacities of sheep is an eye-opener about the individuality and emotionality of this most maligned of all farm animals. My own eyes had already been opened by an adopted orphaned lamb, so much more like a dog as a companion animal than the mindless robot I had been conditioned to expect. I am morally certain that Marino & Merskin’s survey will have a similar effect on readers open to changing their minds.


Raising The Moral Consciousness Of Science, Bernard Rollin Sep 2019

Raising The Moral Consciousness Of Science, Bernard Rollin

Bernard Rollin, PhD

Precaution on behalf of sentient animals should not be tempered by the questionable principle of the amorality of science.


Unity Of Consciousness In Animals, Bernard E. Rollin Sep 2019

Unity Of Consciousness In Animals, Bernard E. Rollin

Bernard Rollin, PhD

Both Descartes the rationalist and Hume the empiricist, polar opposites philosophically, denied the unity and continuity of animal mind. Kant pointed out that the presence of retrievable memories entails unity of consciousness. Rowlands now argues that animals too have unity of consciousness.


Thinking About Thinking Chickens, Lori Marino Sep 2019

Thinking About Thinking Chickens, Lori Marino

Lori Marino, PhD

This response focuses on three major conceptual threads that run through the peer commentary on my target article: (1) how the use of chickens influences our views of them, (2) whether education is effective, and (3) what components of chicken psychology are most relevant to understanding who chickens are.



“I Am Not An Animal”, Lori Marino Sep 2019

“I Am Not An Animal”, Lori Marino

Lori Marino, PhD

The answer to Chapman & Huffman’s question — “Why do we want to think humans are different?” — lies in the work of Ernest Becker and the social psychology literature known as Terror Management Theory, according to which our deep anxiety about animality and death can drive our need to feel superior to the other animals.


Deepening Our Understanding Of Sheep, Lori Marino, Debra Merskin Sep 2019

Deepening Our Understanding Of Sheep, Lori Marino, Debra Merskin

Lori Marino, PhD

Our Response is centered on five major themes: (1) our presentation of human mythologies about sheep; (2) the relevance of cognitive complexity (“intelligence”) as a dimension underlying the way people perceive and treat sheep; (3) whether our review is too anthropocentric or anthropomorphic; (4) animal welfare versus animal rights (abolitionism); and (5) whether knowledge and education are enough to change human attitudes and behavior.


Octopus Minds Must Lead To Octopus Ethics, Barbara J. King, Lori Marino Sep 2019

Octopus Minds Must Lead To Octopus Ethics, Barbara J. King, Lori Marino

Lori Marino, PhD

Mather argues convincingly for the existence of minds in octopuses based largely on laboratory experiments. Many of these experiments are highly invasive and involve mutilation and death. Moreover, octopuses are now being hailed as a “new model” for biological research and are being enthusiastically bred in captivity, both for research and for food. We argue that the compelling evidence for mind in octopuses must be accompanied by intense scrutiny of the ethics that shape how we treat them and that the intrinsic value of their individual lives must be recognized.


The Inconvenient Truth About Thinking Chickens, Lori Marino Sep 2019

The Inconvenient Truth About Thinking Chickens, Lori Marino

Lori Marino, PhD

Original Abstract: Domestic chickens are members of an order, Aves, which has been the focus of a revolution in our understanding of neuroanatomical, cognitive, and social complexity. Some birds are now known to be on a par with many mammals in their intelligence, emotional sophistication, and social interaction. Yet views of chickens have largely remained unrevised in light of this new evidence. In this paper, I examine the data on cognition, emotions, personality, and sociality in chickens, exploring such areas as self-awareness, cognitive bias, social learning and self-control, and comparing their abilities with other birds and other vertebrates, particularly mammals ...


Intelligence, Complexity, And Individuality In Sheep, Lori Marino, Debra Merskin Sep 2019

Intelligence, Complexity, And Individuality In Sheep, Lori Marino, Debra Merskin

Lori Marino, PhD

Domestic sheep (Ovis aries) are among the earliest animals domesticated for human use. They are consumed worldwide as mutton, hogget, and lamb, kept as wool and milk producers, and used extensively in scientific research. The popular stereotype is that sheep are docile, passive, unintelligent, and timid, but a review of the research on their behavior, affect, cognition, and personality reveals that they are complex, individualistic, and social.


Debunking Human Prejudice And Blindness, Peter J. Li Sep 2019

Debunking Human Prejudice And Blindness, Peter J. Li

Peter J. Li, PhD

Human prejudice and blindness to animal suffering are shocking. Despite their differences in culture, politics, and religious beliefs, humans have one thing in common. They see nonhuman animals as inferior and have since time immemorial assumed a dominant position in an asymmetrical human-animal relationship. When it comes to human-animal relations, there is no “clash of civilizations.” Human prejudice and blindness are predicated on “common sense assumptions” about the natural world and nonhuman animals in particular. Marino & Merskin’s review is part of the growing effort to debunk the assumptions that have shaped human actions so as to end the injustice ...


The Precautionary Principle: A Cautionary Note, Robert C. Jones Sep 2019

The Precautionary Principle: A Cautionary Note, Robert C. Jones

Robert C. Jones, PhD

The precautionary principle regarding animal sentience is often used in decision-making about human actions that may cause harm to nonhuman animals. Birch (2017) develops an account of the precautionary principle requiring two pragmatic rules for its implementation. I support Birch's proposal but offer a cautionary note about relying on precautionary principles if one's ultimate goal is to emancipate animals from human domination.


Fish Sentience Denial: Muddy Moral Water, Robert C. Jones Sep 2019

Fish Sentience Denial: Muddy Moral Water, Robert C. Jones

Robert C. Jones, PhD

Sneddon et al. (2018) authoritatively summarize the compelling and overwhelming evidence for fish sentience, while methodically dismantling one rather emblematic research paper (Diggles et al. 2017) intended to discount solid evidence of fish sentience (Lopez-Luna et al. 2017a, 2017b, 2017c, & 2017d). I explore the larger practical moral contexts within which these debates take place and argue that denials of animal sentience are really moral canards.


Animal Pain And The Social Role Of Science, Leslie Irvine Sep 2019

Animal Pain And The Social Role Of Science, Leslie Irvine

Leslie Irvine, PhD

Assuming that all animals are sentient would mean ending their use in most scientific research. This does not necessarily imply an unscientific or anti-scientific stance. Examining the social role of science reveals its considerable investment in preserving the status quo, including the continued use of animal subjects. From this perspective, the use of animal subjects is a custom that science could move beyond, rather than a methodological requirement that it must defend.


Dc Birdscape: A Program For Monitoring Neotropical Migratory Birds In Washington, Dc, John Sauer, John Hadidian, Sam Droege, Paul Handly, Carolyn Williams, Christopher Swarth, George Didden, Jane Huff Sep 2019

Dc Birdscape: A Program For Monitoring Neotropical Migratory Birds In Washington, Dc, John Sauer, John Hadidian, Sam Droege, Paul Handly, Carolyn Williams, Christopher Swarth, George Didden, Jane Huff

John Hadidian, PhD

Urban and suburban habitats often contain a variety of Neotropical migratory birds, but are poorly sampled by programs such as the North American Breeding Bird Survey. DC Birdscape was developed to inventory and monitor birds in Washington, DC. Birds were surveyed using a systematic sample of point counts during 1993-1995. Results indicate that species richness of Neotropical migratory birds varied among land-use categories, and that maximum species richness occurred in parkland habitats. Although DC Birdscape has provided relevant information on bird distribution and species richness, it is unclear whether the information is of sufficient management interest to support its continuation ...


The Relationship Of Animal Protection Interests To Animal Damage Management: Historic Paths, Contemporary Concerns And The Uncertain Future, John Hadidian Sep 2019

The Relationship Of Animal Protection Interests To Animal Damage Management: Historic Paths, Contemporary Concerns And The Uncertain Future, John Hadidian

John Hadidian, PhD

More than a decade ago Schmidt (1989) called for consideration of animal welfare to become a "firstorder" decision rule in wildlife management concerns, including animal damage control. Although there has been movement in that direction, this clearly has not yet come to pass. This paper takes a brief look at the interests we call animal damage management, animal welfare and protection, animal rights, and environmentalism in order to speculate about their shared concerns and the uncertain future before them. Since animal damage and the management of that damage cannot be abstracted from the environmental context in which they occur, this ...


Marine Invertebrates: Communities At Risk, Jennifer A. Mather Aug 2019

Marine Invertebrates: Communities At Risk, Jennifer A. Mather

Jennifer Mather, PhD

Our definition of the word ‘animal’ centers on vertebrates, yet 99% of the animals on the planet are invertebrates, about which we know little. In addition, although the Census of Marine Life (COML.org) has recently conducted an extensive audit of marine ecosystems, we still do not understand much about the animals of the seas. Surveys of the best-known ecosystems, in which invertebrate populations often play a key role, show that the invertebrate populations are affected by human impact. Coral animals are the foundation of coral reef systems, which are estimated to contain 30% of the species in the ocean ...


What Is In An Octopus's Mind?, Jennifer Mather Aug 2019

What Is In An Octopus's Mind?, Jennifer Mather

Jennifer Mather, PhD

It is difficult to imagine what an animal as different from us as the octopus ‘thinks’, but we can make some progress. In the Umwelt or perceptual world of an octopus, what the lateralized monocular eyes perceive is not color but the plane of polarization of light. Information is processed by a bilateral brain but manipulation is done by a radially symmetrical set of eight arms. Octopuses do not self-monitor by vision. Their skin pattern system, used for excellent camouflage, is open loop. The output of the motor system of the eight arms is organized at several levels — brain, intrabrachial ...


Geographic Variability Of Octopus Insularis Diet: From Oceanic Island To Continental Populations, Tatiana S. Leite, Allan T. Batista, Françoise D. Lima, Jaciana C. Barbosa, Jennifer A. Mather Aug 2019

Geographic Variability Of Octopus Insularis Diet: From Oceanic Island To Continental Populations, Tatiana S. Leite, Allan T. Batista, Françoise D. Lima, Jaciana C. Barbosa, Jennifer A. Mather

Jennifer Mather, PhD

A predator’s choice of prey can be affected by many factors. We evaluated various influences on population dietary composition, individual specialization and size of prey in Octopus insularis populations from 2 continental and 4 insular locations. We expected that habitat diversity would lead to diet heterogeneity. Furthermore, in keeping with MacArthur & Wilson’s (1967) theory of island biogeography, we expected that diet diversity would be lower around islands than on the coast of the mainland. Both predictions were confirmed when prey remains from octopus middens were examined. The 2 continental areas exhibited a richer habitat diversity and a wider ...


Nest-Site Selection By Belted Kingfishers (Ceryle Alcyon) In Colorado, Sara Shields, Jeffrey F. Kelly Aug 2019

Nest-Site Selection By Belted Kingfishers (Ceryle Alcyon) In Colorado, Sara Shields, Jeffrey F. Kelly

Sara Shields, PhD

Along the Cache la Poudre River in northern Colorado, belted kingfishers nested in relatively tall banks that lacked a toe. Kingfishers constructed burrows in soils that contained significantly less sand than was present at systematically sampled points. This finding conflicts with earlier findings that indicate kingfishers select sandy soils for burrow construction. Otherwise, the physical characteristics of banks used by belted kingfishers in Colorado were similar to those found elsewhere.


Salmonid Species Diversity Predicts Salmon Consumption By Terrestrial Wildlife, Christina N. Service, Andrew N. Bateman, Megan S. Adams, Kyle A. Artelle, Thomas E. Reimchen, Paul C. Paquet, Chris T. Darimont Aug 2019

Salmonid Species Diversity Predicts Salmon Consumption By Terrestrial Wildlife, Christina N. Service, Andrew N. Bateman, Megan S. Adams, Kyle A. Artelle, Thomas E. Reimchen, Paul C. Paquet, Chris T. Darimont

Chris Darimont, PhD

1. Resource waves—spatial variation in resource phenology that extends feeding opportunities for mobile consumers—can affect the behaviour and productivity of recipient populations. Interspecific diversity among Pacific salmon species (Oncorhynchus spp.) creates staggered spawning events across space and time, thereby prolonging availability to terrestrial wildlife.

2. We sought to understand how such variation might influence consumption by terrestrial predators compared with resource abundance and intra- and interspecific competition.

3. Using stable isotope analysis, we investigated how the proportion of salmon in the annual diet of male black bears (Ursus americanus; n = 405) varies with species diversity and density of ...


Rcrab: An R Analytics Tool To Visualize And Analyze The Movement Of Horseshoe Crabs In Long Island Sound, Ismael Youssef, Samah Senbel, Jo-Marie Kasinak, Jennifer Mattei Aug 2019

Rcrab: An R Analytics Tool To Visualize And Analyze The Movement Of Horseshoe Crabs In Long Island Sound, Ismael Youssef, Samah Senbel, Jo-Marie Kasinak, Jennifer Mattei

Samah Senbel

Mark-recapture programs are important for studying the ecology and population dynamics of wildlife. An R shiny analytics tool was developed to track the movement of horseshoe crabs in Long Island Sound based on tag and resight data. The crabs were tagged and recaptured by volunteers of Project Limulus, a community-based research program. The dataset contains tag and recapture location information for 14,065 horseshoe crabs over 18 years. The dataset was initially cleaned by removing records with missing, duplicate or incorrect data. A new data structure was developed to save the data and simplify processing: Three dimensions were used, one ...


Rcrab: An R Analytics Tool To Visualize And Analyze The Movement Of Horseshoe Crabs In Long Island Sound, Ismael Youssef, Samah Senbel, Jo-Marie Kasinak, Jennifer Mattei Aug 2019

Rcrab: An R Analytics Tool To Visualize And Analyze The Movement Of Horseshoe Crabs In Long Island Sound, Ismael Youssef, Samah Senbel, Jo-Marie Kasinak, Jennifer Mattei

Jennifer Mattei

Mark-recapture programs are important for studying the ecology and population dynamics of wildlife. An R shiny analytics tool was developed to track the movement of horseshoe crabs in Long Island Sound based on tag and resight data. The crabs were tagged and recaptured by volunteers of Project Limulus, a community-based research program. The dataset contains tag and recapture location information for 14,065 horseshoe crabs over 18 years. The dataset was initially cleaned by removing records with missing, duplicate or incorrect data. A new data structure was developed to save the data and simplify processing: Three dimensions were used, one ...


A Risk Assessment And Phylogenetic Approach, Culum Brown Aug 2019

A Risk Assessment And Phylogenetic Approach, Culum Brown

Culum Brown, PhD

The precautionary principal is often invoked when talking about the evidence of sentience in animals, largely because we can never be certain what any animal is thinking or feeling. Birch (2017) offers a preliminary framework for the use of the precautionary principal for animal sentience combining an epistemic rule with a decision rule. I extend this framework by adding an evolutionary phylogentic approach which spreads the burden of proof across broad taxonomic groups and a risk assessment component which magnifies the likely impact by the number of animals involved.


Ample Evidence For Fish Sentience And Pain, Lynne U. Sneddon, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown Aug 2019

Ample Evidence For Fish Sentience And Pain, Lynne U. Sneddon, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown

Culum Brown, PhD

The majority of commentaries are supportive of our position on the scepticism that muddies the waters surrounding fish pain and sentience. There is substantial empirical evidence for pain in fish. Animals’ experience of pain cannot be compared to artificial intelligence (AI) because AI can only mimic responses to nociceptive input on the basis of human observations and programming. Accepting that fish are sentient would not be detrimental to the industries reliant on fish. A more proactive discussion between scientists and stakeholders is needed to improve fish welfare for the benefit of all.


Fish Sentience Denial: Muddying The Waters, Lynne U. Sneddon, Javier Lopez-Luna, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Amanda D. Currie, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown Aug 2019

Fish Sentience Denial: Muddying The Waters, Lynne U. Sneddon, Javier Lopez-Luna, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Amanda D. Currie, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown

Culum Brown, PhD

Recent empirical studies have reported evidence that many aquatic species, including fish, cephalopods and crustaceans, have the capacity for nociception and pain, and that their welfare should be taken into consideration. Some sceptics, rejecting the precautionary principle, have denied that any study demonstrates pain or other aspects of sentience in fish. This target article discusses some of the scientific shortcomings of these critiques through a detailed analysis of a study exploring nociception and analgesia in larval zebrafish.