Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Dog-Directed Parenting Styles Mirror Dog Owners’ Orientations Toward Animals
    Herwijnen, Ineke R. van; Borg, Joanne A.M. van der; Naguib, Marc ; Beerda, Bonne - \ 2020
    Anthrozoos 33 (2020)6. - ISSN 0892-7936 - p. 759 - 773.
    dog - human–animal interaction - orientations toward animals - owner–dog relationship - parenting styles
    Parents raise children in consistent ways, and these parenting styles affect child wellbeing and societal adjustment. Recently, we identified such parenting styles in the owner–dog relationship. Dog owners of the authoritarian- correction orientated (AUC) type stand out for demandingness. Authoritative dog owners adopt either an intrinsic-value orientated style (AUI), of high responsiveness and attention to a dog’s needs, or an authoritative-training orientated style (AUT) of high demandingness and responsiveness in teaching a dog how to behave socially. The causes for dog owners to favor certain dog- directed parenting styles are presently unknown. Orientations toward animals could play a role, and these have previously been determined in dog owners, capsulizing views on dog ownership. A dominionistic orientation values the dog for its utility, a humanistic orientation humanizes dogs, and a protectionistic orientation acknowledges the dog’s species-specific interests. We wanted to know how these views on dog ownership are associated with dog-directed parenting styles. Therefore, orientations toward animals and dog-directed parenting styles were determined from dog-owner reports collected online (n = 518). The Likert-scale items regarding the orientations toward animals were grouped using data reduction techniques. The scores for our newly formed orientations were then rank correlated to the dog-directed parenting styles, with all scores expressed as percentages of the theoretical maximum. A dominionistic orientation was associated with AUC, indicating that combined demandingness and non-responsiveness in dog-directed parenting partly results from the owner’s perceived need to dominate the dog. A humanistic/protectionistic orientation was associated with AUI, suggesting that the combination of parenting responsiveness and relatively low demandingness is an outcome of humanizing dogs. These findings support the idea that orientations toward animals partly underlie dog-directed parenting styles and may constitute a starting point for guiding owners away from less favorable dog-directed parenting styles.
    Dog-directed parenting styles predict verbal and leash guidance in dog owners and owner-directed attention in dogs
    Herwijnen, Ineke R. van; Borg, Joanne A.M. van der; Naguib, Marc ; Beerda, Bonne - \ 2020
    Applied Animal Behaviour Science 232 (2020). - ISSN 0168-1591
    Dogs - Owner-dog relationship - Parenting styles

    Dog-directed parenting is an aspect of the owner-dog relationship that describes the overarching emotional sphere in which the dog's guidance and training take place. How dog-directed parenting styles express in specific owner-dog interactions is presently unknown. However, such knowledge can help to advise dog owners on appropriate parenting of their dog. Child-directed parenting is regarded appropriate when it is demanding for socially adaptive behaviour as well as responsive to the child's needs. This combination of high demandingness and responsiveness is known as authoritative parenting, which in dog-directed parenting manifests in two ways. Teaching the dog socially adaptive behaviour is key to the authoritative-training style (AUT) and being responsive to the dog's perceived needs and emotions is key to the authoritative-intrinsic style (AUI). A third dog-directed parenting style, the authoritarian-correction style (AUC), of high demandingness and low responsiveness focusses on correcting the dog's undesired behaviour. We determined these three dog-directed parenting styles by an online questionnaire and tested the styles for associations with owner and dog behaviours. The behaviours were scored as the owner-dog dyads walked a short course with distractions (treats and balls) that dogs should ignore (N = 40) or when they had a ten-minute break together (N = 36). Nine out of 49 behavioural observations, such as verbally praising or correcting the dog and leash tensions, related significantly (comparison-wise two-tailed P < 0.05) to the parenting styles and Spearman rank correlations explained up to 30 % of the variance. The self-report-based dog-directed parenting styles related logically to the way owners actually interacted with their dogs, verbally and by leash. AUI and AUT parenting related directly to verbally praising the dog. AUC parenting related directly to verbally correcting the dog and to leash tensions. Also, AUC parenting related inversely and AUT parenting directly to the dog frequently looking at its owner during the course with distractions. Thus, we find evidence that verbal communication and leash tensions are telling about dog-directed parenting styles and, possibly, constitute meaningful manifestations to address in educational interventions for dog owners. We see potential merit in moving AUC parenting dog owners away from leash-related guidance towards verbal praise-based guidance and a more authoritative dog-directed parenting style.

    Female great tits avoid the best singers
    Naguib, Marc ; Bircher, Nina - \ 2020
    Bumblebees land remarkably well in red-blue greenhouse LED light conditions
    Vries, Lana J. De; Langevelde, Frank Van; Dooremalen, Coby Van; Kornegoor, Ilse G. ; Lankheet, Martin J. ; Leeuwen, Johan L. Van; Naguib, Marc ; Muijres, Florian T. - \ 2020
    Biology Open 9 (2020)6. - ISSN 2046-6390
    Bombus terrestris - Insect flight - Insect vision - Landing behaviour - Light spectrum - Pollination

    Red-blue emitting LEDs have recently been introduced in greenhouses to optimise plant growth. However, this spectrum may negatively affect the performance of bumblebees used for pollination, because the visual system of bumblebees is more sensitive to green light than to red-blue light. We used high-speed stereoscopic videography to three-dimensionally track and compare landing manoeuvres of Bombus terrestris bumblebees in red-blue light and in regular, broad-spectrum white light. In both conditions, the landing approaches were interspersed by one or several hover phases, followed by leg extension and touchdown. The time between leg extension and touchdown was 25% (0.05 s) longer in red-blue light than in white light, caused by a more tortuous flight path in red-blue light. However, the total landing duration, specified as the time between the first hover phase and touchdown, did not differ between the light conditions. This suggests that the negative effects of red-blue light on the landing manoeuvre are confined to the final phase of the landing. This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.

    Home range and Long-Range Movements of the Nile Crocodile in Relation to the Anthropogenic pressure, Lake Nasser, Egypt
    Ezat, M. ; Naguib, M. ; Langevelde, F. van - \ 2020
    In: Wias Annual Conference 2020 WIAS - p. 76 - 76.
    Movements of animals determine and reflect home ranges and social interactions, provide insights into resource requirements and habitat usage, and allow to make predictions about individual and population responses to disturbances. The size, location and shape of a home range reflects an animals’ behavioural decisions as it searches for food, nesting sites, shelter and mates. Understanding movement behaviour and social structures is seen as prerequisite for effective conservation and management actions, particularly for apex predators with large home ranges because of their influence on lower trophic levels. The Nile crocodile Crocodylus niloticus is the second world’s largest reptile and the most iconic animal along the Nile. The Nile crocodile inhabits threatened wetlands and it is an important indicator species of environmental conditions. Lake Nasser in Egypt is the largest man-made lake world-wide and contains a large, but decreasing population providing unique opportunities to study their ecology and behaviour under fully free ranging conditions.However, despite its remote location, the crocodiles of Lake Nasser compete with local fishermen. Local crocodile populations become therefore increasingly threatened asmany individuals are killed every year, often by local fishermen. Yet, little is known about the behaviour and ecology of Nile crocodile and consequently local conservation programs lack information on the spatial distribution of crocodiles and whether they indeed consume fish in the same areas in which fishermen harvest their fish. Home ranges of Nile crocodiles generally centre around suitable basking sites in winter and expand to include favourable breeding (mating and nesting) and foraging sites in summer. However, these long-range movement are only anecdotally described and without determining factors that could explain these movements, e.g. the anthropogenic pressures in the lake. The aim of this PhD project is thus is to obtain fundamental insights into the distribution and movements of fully free ranging GPS tagged Nile crocodiles by determining their home ranges and long-range movements. In particular, determining seasonal changes in habitat use and movements to and from nesting sites is important to also understand the ecological requirements and to understand where and when crocodiles are exposed to threats by,for instance fishermen or changing water levels that effects the availability of the nesting habitat
    Stay and help or go (to help)? - Cooperative breeding in white-crested helmetshrikes
    Kuspiel, Miriam ; Kingma, Sjouke ; Bebbington, Kat ; Naguib, M. - \ 2020
    In: Wias Annual Conference 2020 WIAS - p. 75 - 75.
    Why would an individual forego or delay its own reproduction and instead help raising the offspring of others? Numerous studies have already established concepts and models addressing these questions. Yet the reasons for and forms of cooperative breeding can greatly vary between species, and various theoretical concepts on group and individual benefits lack practical evidence from the field. We will thus investigate social organization and dispersal in white-crested helmetshrikes Prionops plumatus. This bird species has rarely been studied, yet observations like same-sex offspring dispersing and founding a new group together prove it to be a fascinating system to unravel direct and indirect benefits of cooperative breeding tactics. We thus plan to 1) investigate the cooperative breeding system and dispersal patterns in white-crested helmetshrikes with modern techniques, 2)test group augmentation theories and cost-benefit trade-offs for staying versus dispersing in a new study system and 3) investigate the effect of gradual and abrupt environmental changes on group stability, home ranges, dispersal and reproductive success. We collect data in the Mbuluzi Game Reserve in eSwatini where approximately 30 wild groups of white-crested helmetshrikes live, using a combination of genetic and observational approaches.Our findings will contribute to the understanding of cooperative breeding in non-human animals.
    Smelly wetlands in the Sahara: Role of sewage ponds in bird migration across Egypt
    Noby, K. ; Kingma, Sjouke ; Heitkönig, I.M.A. ; Bulte, E.H. ; Naguib, M. - \ 2020
    In: Wias Annual Conference 2020 WIAS - p. 70 - 70.
    Wetlands are crucial habitats to birds, during both breeding and migration seasons. Millions of Western Palearctic birds cross over 2000 km over desert every year to reach their wintering grounds in Africa. Through this vast arid landscape with very limited natural wetlands,artificial wetlands are mainly used as stopover and wintering sites by some bird species. In North Africa, natural wetlands are the most inhibited places by humans. Thus, next to wetlands along, for instance the Nile, high bird richness and abundance are observed in artificial wetlands, such as in aquaculture and sewage treatment ponds. Although, there is some evidence that sewage ponds attract high numbers of birds, their functions as stopover,wintering and conservation sites are not well understood. The establishment of sewage ponds is a developmental requirement in most developing countries, as waste water treatment is part of the SDGs. So, it is crucial to determine the potential of sewage ponds in bird ecology and as as bird conservation sites. In this PhD project, I will quantify the contribution of sewage ponds as stopover and wintering sites across three different aridity gradients of landscape in Egypt (Red Sea migration corridor, Nile migration corridor and Western desert oases path). A species-level bird count will be carried out in representative samples of sewage ponds in each corridor, as well as their nearby natural wetlands. Aridity levels,as well as habitat fragmentation degrees will be calculated in each of the three corridors,using remote sensing. Different environmental variables will be measured in each site so the contribution of each sewage pond system is clearly understood and quantified. In the second part, I will determine the long-term effect of sewage ponds usage, as wintering sites by waterbirds. Many studies have shown direct relationships between wintering habitat conditions and reproductivity of birds in their breeding grounds. Yet, the effect of sewage pond conditions on bird reproductivity is not understood. In the third part, I will carry out an experiment of sewage ponds site rehabilitation to enhance their functions as wintering habitats.I will compare socio-economic costs of bird conservation in natural wetlands vs rehabilitated sewage ponds. Finally, I will model wintering birds distribution in Egypt according to different future scenarios of sewage ponds expansion and conservation level.
    Waterbird habitat requirements and responses to anthropogenic stressors along the Nile in Egypt
    Mossad, Haitham ; Hof, A.R. ; Boer, W.F. de; Naguib, M. - \ 2020
    In: Wias Annual Conference 2020 WIAS - p. 66 - 66.
    In recent decades, human population growth increased rapidly which increased the anthropogenic pressures on natural habitats. Wetland losses due to environmental changes and human pressures are seen as serious threats to waterbird populations. About 23% of global waterbird populations are declining and 19% of waterbird species have been listed as threatened by the IUCN. Human rapid population growth increases the expansion of settlement over natural habitats which can have negative effect on waterbird species.Some waterbird species avoid areas of high human disturbance levels which can results in costing them more energy or end by occupying less food quality areas. Therefore disturbance can affect energy storage of birds and so impact their behaviour, survival, and breeding success. On the other hand, some waterbird species can benefit from human presence, where they can foraging in associated urban areas habitat of rich food supplies.In Egypt, the River Nile basin and the associated linear habitats are surrounded by un hospitable matrix, the Great Sahara. It is important corridor for migration and its mosaic of habitat is considered important as wintering ground and breeding area for many species.The Nile Valley is one of the oldest human-dominated landscapes river basins; where human and wildlife coexist for millennia. In this PhD project, the effect of various environmental variables in different anthropogenic stressor levels on community composition, foraging movements and behaviour, nesting site selection of selected waterbird species will be assessed. The River Nile will be surveyed in Egypt where we will record species and numbers of waterbirds and will determine environmental variables and human disturbance indices in each transect by using field observation combined with GIS software and satellite imageries. Highly disturbed areas are expected to have relatively poor communities, i.e.communities with relatively low species richness and diversity, in comprising of species that tolerate these stressors. Understand the distribution of waterbirds due to environmental variables can help in predicting the influence of anthropogenic stressors on waterbirds wintering along the Nile in Egypt.
    The ecology of wild zebra finch song – why do they sing?
    Loning, Hugo ; Griffith, Simon C. ; Naguib, M. - \ 2020
    In: Wias Annual Conference 2020 WIAS - p. 35 - 35.
    The zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata is the most studied songbird in the lab but the functions of their song in the wild, Australia’s arid zone, remain unclear. Like many songbirds,male zebra finches sing to attract a female. However, unlike the typically studied songbirds,zebra finches are nomadic birds that live in fission-fusion societies. They pair early in life (sometimes <100 days) and have extremely faithful monogamous relations. Nevertheless,males sing throughout their life. So why do zebra finches sing? In this talk I present data collected at Fowlers Gap Arid Zone Research Station in New South Wales, Australia, home of the world’s only nest box breeding population of zebra finches. Using advanced audio recording techniques and standard behavioural observations, I show that zebra finchessing uncharacteristically soft and that they sing in a variety of contexts, such as in groups at social areas. By studying this lab ‘supermodel’ in the wild, where it evolved, this research may bridge the gap between our understanding of this species in the lab and birdsong in general, already one of the best studied model systems for animal communication.
    Early-life microbiota transplantation affects behavioural responses, serotonin and immune characteristics in chicken lines divergently selected on feather pecking
    Eijk, J.A.J. van der; Rodenburg, T.B. ; Vries, H.J.A. de; Kjaer, J.B. ; Smidt, H. ; Naguib, M. ; Kemp, B. ; Lammers, A. - \ 2020
    Scientific Reports 10 (2020). - ISSN 2045-2322 - 13 p.
    Gut microbiota influences host behaviour and physiology, such as anxiety, stress, serotonergic and immune systems. These behavioural and physiological characteristics are related to feather pecking (FP), a damaging behaviour in chickens that reduces animal welfare and productivity. Moreover, high FP (HFP) and low FP (LFP) lines differed in microbiota composition. However, it is unknown whether microbiota can influence the development of FP. For the first time, we identified the effects of microbiota transplantation on FP, and behavioural and physiological characteristics related to FP. HFP and LFP chicks received sterile saline (control), HFP or LFP microbiota transplantation during the first two weeks post-hatch. Microbiota transplantation influenced behavioural responses of the HFP line during treatment and of the LFP line after treatment. In both lines, homologous microbiota transplantation (i.e., receiving microbiota from their line) resulted in more active behavioural responses. Furthermore, microbiota transplantation influenced immune characteristics (natural antibodies) in both lines and peripheral serotonin in the LFP line. However, limited effects on microbiota composition, stress response (corticosterone) and FP were noted. Thus, early-life microbiota transplantation had immediate and long-term effects on behavioural responses and long-term effects on immune characteristics and peripheral serotonin; however, the effects were dependent on host genotype. Since early-life microbiota transplantation influenced behavioural and physiological characteristics that are related to FP, it could thus influence the development of FP later in life
    Rein sensor leash tension measurements in owner-dog dyads navigating a course with distractions
    Rombout van Herwijnen, Ineke ; Borg, Joanne van der; Naguib, Marc ; Beerda, Bonne - \ 2020
    Journal of Veterinary Behavior 35 (2020). - ISSN 1558-7878 - p. 45 - 46.
    dog - dog-owner relationship - leash pressure - rein sensor

    Consistent owner-dog interaction patterns such as dog-directed parenting styles could reflect in the leash tension applied when walking a dog. Rein sensors are commonly used to measure tension applied to a horse's bit and our research aim was to evaluate the performance of this methodology for measuring leash tension. We evaluated the consistency of leash tension measurements in owner-dog dyads walking a food-distraction course and a more complex zigzag object-distraction course to confirm our prediction that the more challenging course would trigger increased leash tension. Leash tension sample points were averaged per owner-dog dyad per course, and we used restricted maximum likelihood to analyze leash tensions for effects of course difficulty and dog body weight. In 24 participating owner-dog dyads, leash tension was an average (±standard deviation) 18.29 ± 14.03 newtons. Leash tensions were 1.6 times higher (P < 0.001) during the more challenging second course than during the easier first one and variation between owner-dog dyads was consistent across the two courses (rank correlation of 0.63, P = 0.001, N = 24). Our findings support the usefulness of rein sensors for measuring leash tension, with potential applications in studies on the owner-dog relationship such as how leash exerted levels of control relate to dog-directed parenting styles.

    Advances in the Study of Behaviour
    Naguib, M. ; Barrett, Louise ; Healy, Susan D. ; Podos, Jeff ; Simmons, Leigh W. ; Zuk, Marlene - \ 2019
    Oxford, United Kingdom : Academic Press (Advances in the Study of Behaviour 51) - ISBN 9780128171240 - 250 p.
    Gut microbiota affects behavioural responses of feather pecking selection lines
    Eijk, J.A.J. van der; Naguib, M. ; Kemp, B. ; Lammers, A. ; Rodenburg, T.B. - \ 2019
    In: Book of abstracts of the 70th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP). - Wageningen Academic Publishers (Book of Abstracts ) - ISBN 9789086863396 - p. 200 - 200.
    Early life environmental factors have a profound impact on an animal’s behavioural development. The gut microbiota could be such a factor as it inuences behavioural characteristics, such as stress and anxiety. Stress sensitivity and fearfulness are related to feather pecking (FP) in chickens, which involves pecking and pulling out feathers of conspecics. Furthermore, high (HFP) and low FP (LFP) lines differ in gut microbiota composition. Yet, it is unknown whether gut microbiota affects FP or behavioural characteristics related to FP. Therefore, HFP and LFP birds orally received a control, HFP or LFP microbiota treatment within 6 hrs post hatch and daily until 2 weeks of age. FP behaviour was observed via direct observations at pen-level between 0-5, 9-10 and 14-15 weeks of age. Birds were tested in novel object (3 days & 5 weeks of age), novel environment (1 week of age), open eld (13 weeks of age) and manual restraint (15 weeks of age) tests. Microbiota transplantation inuenced behavioural responses, but did not affect FP. HFP receiving HFP microbiota tended to approach a novel object sooner and more birds tended to approach than HFP receiving LFP microbiota at 3 days of age. HFP receiving HFP microbiota tended to vocalise sooner compared to HFP receiving control in a novel environment. LFP receiving LFP microbiota stepped and vocalised sooner compared to LFP receiving control in an open eld. Similarly, LFP receiving LFP microbiota tended to vocalise sooner during manual restraint than LFP receiving control or HFP microbiota. Thus, early life microbiota transplantation had short-term effects in HFP birds and long-term effects in LFP birds. Previously, HFP birds had more active responses compared to LFP birds. Thus, in this study HFP birds seemed to adopt behavioural characteristics of donor birds, but LFP birds did not. Interestingly, homologous microbiota transplantation resulted in more active responses, suggesting reduced fearfulness.
    Data from: Repeatability of signalling traits in the avian dawn chorus
    Naguib, M. ; Diehl, Joris ; Oers, C.H.J. - \ 2019
    Animal communication - Bird song - Dawn chorus - Dawn song - Great tit - Behavioural repeatability - Singing activity - Song repertoire - Parus major
    Background Birdsong, a key model in animal communication studies, has been the focus of intensive research. Song traits are commonly considered to reflect differences in individual or territory quality. Yet, few studies have quantified the variability of song traits between versus within individuals (i.e. repeatability), and thus whether certain song traits indeed provide reliable individual-specific information. Here, we studied the dawn chorus of male great tits (Parus major) to determine if key song traits are repeatable over multiple days and during different breeding stages. Additionally, we examined whether repeatability was associated with exploration behaviour, a relevant personality trait. Finally, we tested if variation in song traits could be explained by breeding stage, lowest night temperature, and exploration behaviour. Results We show that the start time of an individual’s dawn song was indeed repeatable within and across breeding stages, and was more repeatable before, than during, their mate’s egg laying stage. Males started singing later when the preceding night was colder. Daily repertoire size was repeatable, though to a lesser extent than song start time, and no differences were observed between breeding stages. We did not find evidence for an association between exploration behaviour and variation in dawn song traits. Repertoire composition, and specifically the start song type, varied across days, but tended to differ less than expected by chance. Conclusions Our findings that individuals consistently differ in key song traits provides a better understanding of the information receivers can obtain when sampling songs of different males. Surprisingly, start time, despite being influenced by a highly variable environmental factor, appeared to be a more reliable signal of individual differences than repertoire size. Against expectation, singers were more repeatable before than during their mate’s egg laying stage, possibly because before egg laying, females are less constrained to move around unguarded and thus may then already sample (and compare) different singers. Combining repeated dawn song recordings with spatial tracking could reveal if the sampling strategies of receivers are indeed important drivers of repeatability of song traits. Such a complementary approach will further advance our insights into the dynamics and evolution of animal signalling systems.
    Repeatability of signalling traits in the avian dawn chorus
    Naguib, Marc ; Diehl, Joris ; Oers, Kees van; Snijders, Lysanne - \ 2019
    Frontiers in Zoology 16 (2019). - ISSN 1742-9994
    Animal communication - Behavioural repeatability - Bird song - Dawn chorus - Dawn song - Great tit - Singing activity - Song repertoire

    Background: Birdsong, a key model in animal communication studies, has been the focus of intensive research. Song traits are commonly considered to reflect differences in individual or territory quality. Yet, few studies have quantified the variability of song traits between versus within individuals (i.e. repeatability), and thus whether certain song traits indeed provide reliable individual-specific information. Here, we studied the dawn chorus of male great tits (Parus major) to determine if key song traits are repeatable over multiple days and during different breeding stages. Additionally, we examined whether repeatability was associated with exploration behaviour, a relevant personality trait. Finally, we tested if variation in song traits could be explained by breeding stage, lowest night temperature, and exploration behaviour. Results: We show that the start time of an individual's dawn song was indeed repeatable within and across breeding stages, and was more repeatable before, than during, their mate's egg laying stage. Males started singing later when the preceding night was colder. Daily repertoire size was repeatable, though to a lesser extent than song start time, and no differences were observed between breeding stages. We did not find evidence for an association between exploration behaviour and variation in dawn song traits. Repertoire composition, and specifically the start song type, varied across days, but tended to differ less than expected by chance. Conclusions: Our findings that individuals consistently differ in key song traits provides a better understanding of the information receivers can obtain when sampling songs of different males. Surprisingly, start time, despite being influenced by a highly variable environmental factor, appeared to be a more reliable signal of individual differences than repertoire size. Against expectation, singers were more repeatable before than during their mate's egg laying stage, possibly because before egg laying, females are less constrained to move around unguarded and thus may then already sample (and compare) different singers. Combining repeated dawn song recordings with spatial tracking could reveal if the sampling strategies of receivers are indeed important drivers of repeatability of song traits. Such a complementary approach will further advance our insights into the dynamics and evolution of animal signalling systems.

    Zebra finch v-calls and the evidence for a signal: A response to comments on McDiarmid et al
    McDiarmid, Callum S. ; Naguib, Marc ; Griffith, Simon C. - \ 2019
    Behavioral Ecology 30 (2019)3. - ISSN 1045-2249 - p. E4 - E5.
    Early life microbiota transplantation affects behaviour and peripheral serotonin in feather pecking selection lines
    Eijk, J.A.J. van der; Naguib, M. ; Kemp, B. ; Lammers, A. ; Rodenburg, T.B. - \ 2019
    In: Proceedings of the 53rd Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE). - Wageningen, The Netherlands : Wageningen Academic Publishers - ISBN 9789086863389 - p. 98 - 98.
    Early life environmental factors have a profound impact on an animal’s behavioural andphysiological development. In animal husbandry, early life factors that interfere with thebehavioural and physiological development could lead to the development of damagingbehaviours. The gut microbiota could be such a factor as it influences behaviour, such as stressand anxiety, and physiology, such as the serotonergic system. Stress sensitivity, fearfulness andserotonergic system functioning are related to feather pecking (FP), a damaging behaviourin chickens which involves pecking and pulling out feathers of conspecifics. Furthermore,high (HFP) and low FP (LFP) lines differ in gut microbiota composition. Yet, it is unknownwhether gut microbiota affects FP or behavioural and physiological characteristics related toFP. Therefore, HFP and LFP chicks orally received 100μL of a control, HFP or LFP microbiotatreatment within 6 hrs post hatch and daily until 2 weeks of age (n=96 per group) using apipette. FP behaviour was observed via direct observations at pen-level between 0-5, 9-10 and14-15 weeks of age. Birds were further tested in a novel object test at 3 days and 5 weeks of age,a novel environment test at 1 week of age, an open field test at 13 weeks of age and a manualrestraint test at 15 weeks of age after which whole blood was collected for serotonin analysis. Weanalysed treatment effects within lines using mixed models with treatment, batch, sex, observerand test time as fixed factors and pen within treatment as random factor or Kruskal-Wallistests. Early life microbiota transplantation influenced behavioural responses and peripheralserotonin, but did not affect FP. HFP receiving HFP microbiota tended to approach a novelobject sooner and more birds tended to approach than HFP receiving LFP microbiota at3 days of age (P<0.1). HFP receiving HFP microbiota tended to vocalise sooner comparedto HFP receiving control (P<0.1) in a novel environment. LFP receiving LFP microbiotastepped and vocalised sooner compared to LFP receiving control (P<0.05) in an open field.Similarly, LFP receiving LFP microbiota tended to vocalise sooner during manual restraintthan LFP receiving control or HFP microbiota (P<0.1). LFP receiving HFP microbiota tendedto have lower serotonin levels compared to LFP receiving control (P<0.1). Thus, early lifemicrobiota transplantation had short-term effects (during treatment) in HFP birds and longtermeffects (after treatment) in LFP birds. Previously, HFP birds had more active responsesand lower serotonin levels compared to LFP birds. Thus, in this study HFP birds seemed toadopt behavioural characteristics of donor birds, while LFP birds seemed to adopt physiologicalcharacteristics (i.e. serotonin level) of donor birds. Interestingly, homologous microbiotatransplantation resulted in more active responses, suggesting reduced fearfulness.
    Differences in gut microbiota composition of laying hen lines divergently selected on feather pecking
    Eijk, J.A.J. van der; Vries, H.J.A. de; Kjaer, Joergen B. ; Naguib, M. ; Kemp, B. ; Smidt, H. ; Rodenburg, T.B. ; Lammers, A. - \ 2019
    Poultry Science 98 (2019)12. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 7009 - 7021.
    Feather pecking (FP), a damaging behavior where laying hens peck and pull at feathers of conspecifics, is multifactorial and has been linked to numerous behavioral and physiological characteristics. The gut microbiota has been shown to influence host behavior and physiology in many species, and could therefore affect the development of damaging behaviors, such as FP. Yet, it is unknown whether FP genotypes (high FP [HFP] and low FP [LFP] lines) or FP phenotypes (i.e., individuals differing in FP, feather peckers and neutrals) differ in their gut microbiota composition. Therefore, we identified mucosa-associated microbiota composition of the ileum and cecum at 10 and 30 wk of age. At 30 wk of age, we further identified luminal microbiota composition from combined content of the ileum, ceca, and colon. FP phenotypes could not be distinguished from each other in mucosa-associated or luminal microbiota composition. However, HFP neutrals were characterized by a higher relative abundance of genera of Clostridiales, but lower relative abundance of Lactobacillus for the luminal microbiota composition compared to LFP phenotypes. Furthermore, HFP neutrals had a higher diversity and evenness for the luminal microbiota compared to LFP phenotypes. FP genotypes could not be distinguished from each other in mucosa-associated microbiota composition. Yet, FP genotypes could be distinguished from each other in luminal microbiota composition. HFP birds were characterized by a higher relative abundance of genera of Clostridiales, but lower relative abundance of Staphylococcus and Lactobacillus compared to LFP birds. Furthermore, HFP birds had a higher diversity and evenness for both cecal mucosa-associated and luminal microbiota compared to LFP birds at adult age. In conclusion, we here show that divergent selection on FP can (in)directly affect luminal microbiota composition. Whether differences in microbiota composition are causal to FP or a consequence of FP remains to be elucidated.
    Early-life microbiota transplantation affects behavioural responses of chicken lines divergently selected on feather pecking
    Eijk, J.A.J. van der; Lammers, A. ; Kemp, B. ; Naguib, M. ; Rodenburg, T.B. - \ 2019
    In: Trade-offs in science – keeping the Balance. - Wageningen University & Research - p. 17 - 17.
    Data from: Calling in the heat: the zebra finch ‘incubation call’ depends on heat but not reproductive stage
    Mc Diarmid, C.S. ; Naguib, M. ; Griffith, S.C. - \ 2018
    Behavioural Ecology Group, Wageningen Universiteit & NIOO-KNAW
    incubation call - embryonic development - parental behaviour - panting - zebra finch
    Environmental conditions during early development can profoundly impact an organism’s phenotype, potentially resulting in future adaptations. Offspring can often obtain environmental information directly, but in some cases rely on parental cues or signals. It was recently suggested that at high ambient temperatures zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) parents use acoustic signals (‘incubation calls’ or hereon ‘v-calls’) to adaptively alter offspring development for hot conditions. However, this conclusion requires a thorough understanding of the timing and production of the call. In this study we use audio recordings (1696 hours) from within wild zebra finch nest boxes, and of non-breeding captive zebra finches experimentally exposed to heat, to characterise the circumstances under which v-calls are produced. V-call incidence was positively related to ambient temperature in the wild and captivity, confirming that v-calls are temperature dependent. However, v-calls were not limited to late incubation (as previously suggested) and were instead produced throughout incubation and chick rearing in the wild, and by non-breeding captive adults. Videos of the captive birds revealed that v-calls were produced during ‘bouts’ of panting. We found no evidence that during v-call production breathing patterns were being altered from that optimal for panting and typical of quiet respiration (1:1 inspiration:expiration). While embryos may gather climatic information from this heat-related call, it is produced over a range of conditions so is unlikely to be a specifically evolved signal for offspring programming. The idea that parents use specifically evolved signals to provide offspring with climate information requires further study.
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