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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Stress behaviour and physiology of developing Arctic barnacle goslings (Branta leucopsis) is affected by legacy trace contaminants
Scheiber, Isabella B.R. ; Weiß, Brigitte M. ; Jong, Margje E. De; Braun, Anna ; Brink, Nico W. Van Den; Loonen, Maarten J.J.E. ; Millesi, Eva ; Komdeur, Jan - \ 2018
Proceedings of the Royal Society. B: Biological Sciences 285 (2018)1893. - ISSN 0962-8452
acute stress behaviour - Arctic - barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis) - HPA corticosterone metabolites - legacy trace metal contamination - stress coping

Natural populations are persistently exposed to environmental pollution, which may adversely impact animal physiology and behaviour and even compromise survival. Responding appropriately to any stressor ultimately might tip the scales for survival, as mistimed behaviour and inadequate physiological responses may be detrimental. Yet effects of legacy contamination on immediate physiological and behavioural stress coping abilities during acute stress are virtually unknown. Here, we assessed these effects in barnacle goslings (Branta leucopsis) at a historical coal mine site in the Arctic. For three weeks we led human-imprinted goslings, collected from nests in unpolluted areas, to feed in an abandoned coal mining area, where they were exposed to trace metals. As control we led their siblings to feed on clean grounds. After submitting both groups to three well-established stress tests (group isolation, individual isolation, on-back restraint), control goslings behaved calmer and excreted lower levels of corticosterone metabolites. Thus, legacy contamination may decisively change stress physiology and behaviour in long-lived vertebrates exposed at a young age.

Mercury associated neurochemical response in Arctic barnacle goslings (Branta leucopsis)
Brink, Nico W. van den; Scheiber, Isabella B.R. ; Jong, Margje E. de; Braun, Anna ; Arini, Adeline ; Basu, Niladri ; Berg, Hans van den; Komdeur, Jan ; Loonen, Maarten J.J.E. - \ 2018
Science of the Total Environment 624 (2018). - ISSN 0048-9697 - p. 1052 - 1058.
Exposure and effect - Neurotoxicity - Polar - Terrestrial - Tundra
There remains great concern over mercury pollution in the Arctic, though relatively little is known about impacts on biota that inhabit Arctic terrestrial systems. To help address this, the current study was performed with barnacle goslings (Branta leucopsis) from a coal mine-impacted site and a control site near Ny-Ålesund, Spitsbergen (Svalbard). The works focused mainly on mercury, as coal contains trace levels of this element. Total mercury concentrations were quantified in soil and vegetation from the two sites, as well as feces and liver from the goslings. Next, the mercury exposures were related to dopamine 2 (D2)- and NMDA-receptors in the brain, given that mercury is a proven neurotoxicant. Soil and vegetation in the mining area contained mercury levels that were approximately 3- and 2.2-times higher than in the control site. Despite a significant difference between the sites, the soil and vegetation mercury levels where were within ranges found at other Arctic locations. Goslings grazing in the mine-impacted area contained significantly higher hepatic mercury levels than those sampled from the control site. Compared to other species, the hepatic concentrations were relatively low possibly due to dilution of the mercury in growing goslings (growth dilution) and deposition of mercury in the growing feathers. Hepatic mercury concentrations were positively related to D2-neuroreceptor levels but not to NMDA-receptor levels thus suggesting a possible subtle neurological effect. To our knowledge, this is among the first studies on mercury exposure in Arctic terrestrial organisms, and one of the first to document potential subtle neurological responses associated with exposure to low, environmentally relevant mercury levels, which also can be found at other locations in the Arctic. However, as a pilot effort, the results here need to be examined in additional studies that include, for example, lager study designs, different geographic sites and other terrestrial species.
Indices of stress and immune function in Arctic barnacle goslings (Branta leucopsis) were impacted by social isolation but not a contaminated grazing environment
Jong, Margje E. de; Scheiber, Isabella B.R. ; Brink, Nico W. van den; Braun, Anna ; Matson, Kevin D. ; Komdeur, Jan ; Loonen, Maarten J.J.E. - \ 2017
Science of the Total Environment 601-602 (2017). - ISSN 0048-9697 - p. 132 - 141.
Acute phase proteins - Complement - Corticosterone - Heavy metals - Natural antibodies - Nitric oxide

In many areas around the Arctic remains and spoil heaps of old mines can be found, which have been abandoned after their heydays. Runoff from tailings of these abandoned mines can directly contaminate the local environment with elevated concentrations of trace metals. Few studies have investigated the possible negative effects of contaminants on Arctic terrestrial animals that use these areas. Trace metals can accumulate in animals and this accumulation has been linked to negative effects on fitness. Both, the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and/or the immune system have been named as possible underlying causes for these observations. Free-living animals are often exposed to multiple stressors simultaneously, however, and this is often not considered in studies on the effects of contaminants on animal physiology. Here, we performed a study on Spitsbergen (Svalbard) taking both potential effects of trace metal contamination and social stress into account. We investigated experimentally effects of exposure to contaminants from a historic coal mine area on plasma corticosterone levels and on four innate immune parameters (haemolysis, haemagglutination, haptoglobin-like activity and nitric oxide) before and after social isolation in human-raised barnacle goslings (Branta leucopsis). Baseline corticosterone and immune parameters were not affected by mine-exposure. After social isolation, mine goslings tended to show decreased haemagglutination in comparison with control goslings, but we detected no difference in the other measures. Social isolation increased corticosterone and decreased haptoglobin-like activity in all goslings. Immunology and corticosterone levels of barnacle goslings thus seem unaffected, at least on the short term, by Arctic coal mining contamination.

INDREX 2 - Indonesian airborne radar experiment campaign over tropical forest in L- and P-band
Hajnsek, I. ; Kugler, F. ; Papathanassiou, K. ; Horn, R. ; Scheiber, R. ; Moreira, A. ; Hoekman, D.H. ; Davidson, M. - \ 2005
In: Seoul, Korea 26-29 July 2005 Seoul, Korea : - p. np - np.
INDREX 2 - Indonesian airborne radar experiment campaign over tropical forest in L- and P-band
Hajnsek, I. ; Kugler, F. ; Papathanassiou, K. ; Scheiber, R. ; Horn, R. ; Moreira, A. ; Hoekman, D.H. ; Davidson, M. ; Attema, E.P.W. - \ 2005
In: POLinSAR 2-nd International Workshop on Applications of Polarimetry and Polarimetric Interferometry, Frascati 17-21 Januari 2005 Frascati : ESA-ESRIN - ISBN 9290928972 - p. np - np.
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