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Optimization of protocols for DNA extraction from fecal samples

High-throughput sequencing offers new possibilities in molecular ecology and conservation studies. However, its potential has not yet become fully exploited for noninvasive studies of free–ranging animals, such as those based on feces. High–throughput sequencing allows sequencing of short DNA fragments and could allow simultaneous genotyping of a very large number of samples and markers at a low cost. The application of high throughput genotyping to fecal samples from wildlife has been hindered by several labor intensive steps. Alternative protocols which could allow higher throughput were evaluated for two of these steps: sample collection and DNA extraction. Two different field sampling and seven different DNA extraction methods were tested on grey wolf (Canis lupus) feces. There was high variation in genotyping success rates. The field sampling method based on surface swabbing performed much worse than the extraction from a fecal fragment. In addition, there is a lot of room for improvement in the DNA extraction step. Optimization of protocols can lead to very much more efficient, cheaper and higher throughput noninvasive monitoring. Selection of appropriate markers is still of paramount importance to increase genotyping success. informacion[at] Sarabia et al (2020) Towards high-throughput analyses of fecal samples from wildlife. Animal Biodiver Conserv 43.2: 271–283 Doi 10.32800/abc.2020.43.0271
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Broodmate aggression and life history variation in accipitrid birds of prey

Broodmate aggression and life history variation in accipitrid birds of prey

Aggressive sibling competition for parental food resources is relatively infrequent in animals but highly prevalent and extreme among certain bird families, particularly accipitrid raptors (Accipitriformes). Intense broodmate aggression within this group is associated with a suite of traits including a large adult size, small broods, low provisioning rates, and slow development. In this study, phylogenetic comparative analyses are applied to assess the relative importance of several behavioral, morphological, life history, and ecological variables as predictors of the intensity of broodmate aggression in 65 species of accipitrid raptors. The study shows that intensity of aggression increases in species with lower parental effort (small clutch size and low provisioning rates), while size effects (adult body mass and length of nestling period) are unimportant. Intense aggression is more closely related to a slow life history pace (high adult survival coupled with a restrained parental effort), rather than a by?product of allometry or food limitation. Consideration of several ecological variables affecting prey abundance and availability reveals that certain lifestyles (e.g., breeding in aseasonal habitats or hunting for more agile prey) may slow a species' life history pace and favor the evolution of intense broodmate aggression. informacion[at] Redondo et al (2019) Broodmate aggression and life history variation in accipitrid birds of prey. Ecol Evol