Publications by authors named "José I Aguirre"

11 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Environmental conditions but not nest composition affect reproductive success in an urban bird.

Ecol Evol 2021 Apr 12;11(7):3084-3092. Epub 2021 Mar 12.

Department of Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution Universidad Complutense de Madrid Madrid Spain.

Adjusting the composition of their nests, breeding birds can influence the environmental conditions that eggs and offspring experience. Birds often use feathers to build nests, presumably due to their insulating properties. The amount of feathers in nests is often associated with increased nestling survival and body condition. However, it is unclear whether these putative beneficial effects of adding feathers to nests are relevant in a wide range of environmental conditions. Here, we combine data on weather conditions and feathers in nests (i.e., nest composition) to investigate their relative contribution to reproductive success in the Eurasian tree sparrow (). Specifically, we investigate whether the effect of weather conditions on breeding success is modulated by the amount of feathers added to the nest. We found a strong negative effect of rainfall on the number of nestlings that successfully fledged per breeding attempt, but this negative effect was not mitigated by the amount of feathers in nests. We also found that the amount of feathers in nests varied along the breeding season, with nests containing more feathers early in the breeding season, when temperatures were lower. Despite considerable variation in nest composition, our results do not suggest an important role of feathers in nests protecting eggs or nestling tree sparrows against fluctuations in environmental conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7234DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8019055PMC
April 2021

The trade-offs of foraging at landfills: Landfill use enhances hatching success but decrease the juvenile survival of their offspring on white storks (Ciconia ciconia).

Sci Total Environ 2021 Mar 4;778:146217. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

Department of Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution, Complutense University of Madrid, José Antonio Novais, 12, 28040 Madrid, Spain.

During the last decades, landfills have become a valuable food source for wildlife, being in some cases determinants of large avian population increases. Superabundant food resources at landfills can increase reproductive and/or survival parameters; however, negative effects such as intoxication, plastic ingestion, skeletal deformities, unbalanced oxidative stress, and other health problems have also been reported. White stork (Ciconia ciconia) commonly benefits from landfill resources. Here, we evaluate potential landfill effects on demographic parameters (reproduction and offspring survival) at the individual level in a single population. Our results show that a more intense use of landfills by breeders has a positive effect on hatching success but a negative effect on juvenile survival probability after emancipation, at least during the first year of life. High amount of food and proximity to landfill may explain their beneficial effect on reproductive parameters. On the other hand, poor quality food, pollutants, and pathogens acquired during early development from a diet based on refuse may be responsible for reduced future survival probability. Consequently, both positive and negative effects were detected, being foraging at landfills at low to medium levels the better strategy. Although our study shows that intense foraging on rubbish can imply both costs and benefits at an individual level, the benefits of superabundant food provisioning observed at population level by other studies cannot be ignored. Management actions should be designed to improve natural food resources, reduce non-natural mortality and/or human disturbances to guarantee the species viability under current European Union regulations designed to ban open-air landfills in a near future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146217DOI Listing
March 2021

A multidisciplinary approach to the evaluation of the effects of foraging on landfills on white stork nestlings.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Feb 10;775:145197. Epub 2021 Feb 10.

SaBio Research Group, Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos IREC, (CSIC-UCLM-JCCM), Ciudad Real, Spain.

The use of landfills as foraging areas by white storks (Ciconia ciconia) is a recent well-known behaviour. While several studies have highlighted positive effects at a populational level others suggest that the presence of pollutants, pathogens and the lower presence of antioxidants in the food could pose a health risk for individuals. The objective of this study was to evaluate potential effects of the use of landfills as a food resource on the physiology and health of white stork nestlings, by a multidisciplinary approach based on the analysis of nutritional status, body condition, blood parameters, oxidative stress balance and the presence of pathogens. Results showed better body condition in individuals associated with landfills compared to the ones feeding on natural resources, as well as better nutritional status, as indicated by higher levels of albumin, cholesterol, and triglycerides in plasma. As many pollutants have a pro-oxidant effect, we evaluated oxidative stress balance, with no differences in the indicators of damage except for methaemoglobin (metHb), significantly higher in nestlings associated with landfill-origin food. Regarding antioxidants, GSH was higher in nestlings associated with landfills, which may suggest a hormetic response induced potentially by the presence of pollutants in waste. Nestlings fed food from landfills also had a higher presence of Escherichia coli with a multiresistant phenotype to antibiotics. In conclusion, our results show that nestlings fed with a higher proportion of food from landfills present a better nutritional status and body condition than those fed with a higher proportion of natural diet, being the only indicators of negative effects of the use of this food resource the higher percentage of metHb in the peripheral blood and the presence of antibiotic-resistant E. coli.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145197DOI Listing
February 2021

Distance to landfill and human activities affects the debris incorporation into the white stork nests in urbanized landscape in central Spain.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2020 Aug 15;27(24):30893-30898. Epub 2020 Jun 15.

Institute of Dendrology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Parkowa 5, 62-035, Kórnik, Poland.

Human's activities dominates many aspects of the Earth's environment; thus animals are forced to adapt and respond to the resulting changes in habitat structure and functioning due to anthropogenic pressure. Along with the growing human population and the associated amount of waste produced, the amount of different type of physical contamination component in environment is increasing. Incorporation of debris in nests may be a mounting avian response to anthropogenic pollution. In this research, we quantified the constituent pieces and total mass of human-derived materials incorporated in white stork nests. The study was conducted on four locations in central Spain where white storks nest along a urbanization gradient. In total, we examined 49 nests. This study demonstrates that the incorporation of debris by white storks into their nests is related to human activity, measured by the Human Footprint Index (HFI). Moreover, the distance between these nests and landfills predicts the occurrence of debris incorporated into nests. Our study shows that birds nest building behaviour is impacted by human activities and pollution in environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-09621-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7378044PMC
August 2020

Physiological stress does not increase with urbanization in European blackbirds: Evidence from hormonal, immunological and cellular indicators.

Sci Total Environ 2020 Jun 14;721:137332. Epub 2020 Feb 14.

Department of Wetland Ecology, Estación Biológica de Doñana, (EBD-CSIC), Seville, Spain; CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Publica (CIBERESP), Seville, Spain.

Urbanization changes the landscape structure and ecological processes of natural habitats. While urban areas expose animal communities to novel challenges, they may also provide more stable environments in which environmental fluctuations are buffered. Species´ ecology and physiology may determine their capacity to cope with the city life. However, the physiological mechanisms underlying organismal responses to urbanization, and whether different physiological systems are equally affected by urban environments remain poorly understood. This severely limits our capacity to predict the impact of anthropogenic habitats on wild populations. In this study, we measured indicators of physiological stress at the endocrine, immune and cellular level (feather corticosterone levels, heterophil to lymphocyte ratio, and heat-shock proteins) in urban and non-urban European blackbirds (Turdus merula) across 10 European populations. Among the three variables, we found consistent differences in feather corticosterone, which was higher in non-urban habitats. This effect seems to be dependent on sex, being greater in males. In contrast, we found no significant differences between urban and non-urban habitats in the two other physiological indicators. The discrepancy between these different measurements of physiological stress highlights the importance of including multiple physiological variables to understand the impact of urbanization on species' physiology. Overall, our findings suggest that adult European blackbirds living in urban and non-urban habitats do not differ in terms of physiological stress at an organismal level. Furthermore, we found large differences among populations on the strength and direction of the urbanization effect, which illustrates the relevance of spatial replication when investigating urban-induced physiological responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.137332DOI Listing
June 2020

Antioxidant supplementation slows telomere shortening in free-living white stork chicks.

Proc Biol Sci 2020 01 15;287(1918):20191917. Epub 2020 Jan 15.

Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Telomere length (TL) and shortening is increasingly shown to predict variation in survival and lifespan, raising the question of what causes variation in these traits. Oxidative stress is well known to accelerate telomere attrition , but its importance is largely hypothetical. We tested this hypothesis experimentally by supplementing white stork () chicks with antioxidants. Individuals received either a control treatment, or a supply of tocopherol (vitamin E) and selenium, which both have antioxidant properties. The antioxidant treatment increased the concentration of tocopherol for up to two weeks after treatment but did not affect growth. Using the telomere restriction fragment technique, we evaluated erythrocyte TL and its dynamics. Telomeres shortened significantly over the 21 days between the baseline and final sample, independent of sex, mass, size and hatching order. The antioxidant treatment significantly mitigated shortening rate of average TL (-31% in shorter telomeres; percentiles 10th, 20th and 30th). Thus, our results support the hypothesis that oxidative stress shortens telomeres .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2019.1917DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7003462PMC
January 2020

Life in a polluted world: A global review of anthropogenic materials in bird nests.

Environ Pollut 2019 Aug 7;251:717-722. Epub 2019 May 7.

Department of Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution, Complutense University of Madrid, José Antonio Novais, 12, 28040, Madrid, Spain.

Human pressure exerts a significant influence on animals and the environment. One of its consequences, plastic pollution is considered one of the major threats to fauna as well as a significant conservation issue. In this research, we examined the global pattern of one example of avian behavior in response to pollution-namely, the incorporation of anthropogenic materials into nests-as well as the existing knowledge on this subject. Based on 25 articles, we studied 51 populations, involving 24 bird species, and checked 10,790 nests; as a result, we found that incorporation of debris is correlated with increasing human influence on the environment, measured as the Human Footprint Index. Moreover, the probability of debris incorporation is higher in terrestrial than in marine species. We also identified knowledge bias in favor of marine as opposed to terrestrial species: namely, marine species attract more scientific attention than terrestrial. Furthermore, research approaches to these two ecosystems differ. Undeniably, the factors which influence debris incorporation by birds, the scale of this behavior, and particular forms of use of debris in bird nests are aspects which require long-term standardized research. This is the first global review paper on debris incorporation by birds to demonstrate a close link to human pressure as a driver.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2019.05.028DOI Listing
August 2019

Antibiotic Perturbation of Gut Microbiota Dysregulates Osteoimmune Cross Talk in Postpubertal Skeletal Development.

Am J Pathol 2019 02 16;189(2):370-390. Epub 2019 Jan 16.

Department of Oral Health Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina College of Dental Medicine, Charleston, South Carolina; Endocrinology Division, Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine, Charleston, South Carolina. Electronic address:

Commensal gut microbiota-host immune responses are experimentally delineated via gnotobiotic animal models or alternatively by antibiotic perturbation of gut microbiota. Osteoimmunology investigations in germ-free mice, revealing that gut microbiota immunomodulatory actions critically regulate physiologic skeletal development, highlight that antibiotic perturbation of gut microbiota may dysregulate normal osteoimmunological processes. We investigated the impact of antibiotic disruption of gut microbiota on osteoimmune response effects in postpubertal skeletal development. Sex-matched C57BL/6T mice were administered broad-spectrum antibiotics or vehicle-control from the age of 6 to 12 weeks. Antibiotic alterations in gut bacterial composition and skeletal morphology were sex dependent. Antibiotics did not influence osteoblastogenesis or endochondral bone formation, but notably enhanced osteoclastogenesis. Unchanged Tnf or Ccl3 expression in marrow and elevated tumor necrosis factor-α and chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 3 in serum indicated that the pro-osteoclastic effects of the antibiotics are driven by increased systemic inflammation. Antibiotic-induced broad changes in adaptive and innate immune cells in mesenteric lymph nodes and spleen demonstrated that the perturbation of gut microbiota drives a state of dysbiotic hyperimmune response at secondary lymphoid tissues draining local gut and systemic circulation. Antibiotics up-regulated the myeloid-derived suppressor cells, immature myeloid progenitor cells known for immunosuppressive properties in pathophysiologic inflammatory conditions. Myeloid-derived suppressor cell-mediated immunosuppression can be antigen specific. Therefore, antibiotic-induced broad suppression of major histocompatibility complex class II antigen presentation genes in bone marrow discerns that antibiotic perturbation of gut microbiota dysregulates critical osteoimmune cross talk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajpath.2018.10.017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6360355PMC
February 2019

Urban blackbirds have shorter telomeres.

Biol Lett 2018 03;14(3)

Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences, University of Groningen, 9700 CC Groningen, The Netherlands.

Urbanization, one of the most extreme human-induced environmental changes, represents a major challenge for many organisms. Anthropogenic habitats can have opposing effects on different fitness components, for example, by decreasing starvation risk but also health status. Assessment of the net fitness effect of anthropogenic habitats is therefore difficult. Telomere length is associated with phenotypic quality and mortality rate in many species, and the rate of telomere shortening is considered an integrative measure of the 'life stress' experienced by an individual. This makes telomere length a promising candidate for examining the effects of urbanization on the health status of individuals. We investigated whether telomere length differed between urban and forest-dwelling common blackbirds (). Using the terminal restriction fragment assay, we analysed telomere length in yearlings and older adults from five population dyads (urban versus forest) across Europe. In both age classes, urban blackbirds had significantly shorter telomeres (547 bp) than blackbirds in natural habitats, indicating lower health status in urban blackbirds. We propose several potential hypotheses to explain our results. Our findings show that even successful city dwellers such as blackbirds pay a price for living in these anthropogenic habitats.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2018.0083DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5897618PMC
March 2018

Influence of trophic ecology on the accumulation of dioxins and furans (PCDD/Fs), non-ortho polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in Mediterranean gulls (Larus michahellis and L. audouinii): A three-isotope approach.

Environ Pollut 2016 May 5;212:307-315. Epub 2016 Feb 5.

Department of Instrumental Analysis and Environmental Chemistry, Institute of Organic Chemistry, IQOG-CSIC, Juan de la Cierva 3, 28006 Madrid, Spain.

The impact of pollution caused by severe anthropogenic pressure in the Mediterranean Sea, an important biodiversity hotspot, requires continuous research efforts. Sources of highly toxic chemicals such as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are misunderstood in representative Mediterranean species, which limits our capability to establish proper conservation strategies. In the present study, eggs of Audouin's and yellow-legged gulls (Larus audouinii and L. michahellis) were used to investigate the trophic sources, as measured by δ(13)C, δ(15)N, and δ(34)S, of legacy POPs, in particular, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and furans (PCDD/Fs) and non-ortho polychlorinated biphenyls (no-PCBs), as well as recently-regulated POPs, e.g., polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Special attention was paid to the usefulness of rarely-explored δ(34)S ratios in explaining POP exposure in wildlife, and δ(34)S was the isotopic ratio that best explained POP variations among gulls in most cases, thus demonstrating its usefulness for understanding POP exposure in wildlife. Significant relationships between stable isotope signatures and POP concentrations revealed increasing levels of no-PCBs and low halogenated PCDD/Fs and PBDEs in Mediterranean gulls as the consumption of marine resources increases. In contrast, highly chlorinated and brominated congeners appeared to preferentially accumulate in gulls feeding primarily on refuse from dump sites and terrestrial food webs. The use of suitable dietary tracers in the study of POPs in yellow-legged gulls revealed the importance of dump sites as a source of POPs in Mediterranean seabirds, which has not previously been reported. In contrast, the preferential accumulation through marine food webs of low chlorinated PCCD/Fs and no-PCBs, which show the highest toxic equivalents factors (TEFs), led to a significantly greater toxicological concern in Audouin's as compared to yellow-legged gulls. Audouin's gull exposure to POPs appears primarily related to the pelagic food webs commonly exploited by fisheries, highlighting the need for further research given the potential impact on human consumption.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2016.01.078DOI Listing
May 2016

Predominance of BDE-209 and other higher brominated diphenyl ethers in eggs of white stork (Ciconia ciconia) colonies from Spain.

Environ Int 2011 Apr 28;37(3):572-6. Epub 2010 Dec 28.

Department of Instrumental Analysis and Environmental Chemistry, Institute of Organic Chemistry, CSIC. Juan de la Cierva 3, 28006 Madrid, Spain.

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are ubiquitous pollutants for which there is still a lack of knowledge about the environmental behavior and fate of the higher brominated congeners (octa- to deca-BDEs). In this study, the PBDE content and congener profiles in failed eggs from two colonies of white stork (Ciconia ciconia) in Spain were studied. The average total PBDE concentration was 1.64ng/g (wet weight, w.w.) for the rural colony and 9.08ng/g (w.w.) for the urban colony. Higher brominated BDEs dominated the congener profiles of both colonies. Of particular interest was the determination of BDE-209 as the dominant congener accounting for 44.1% and 38.6% of the total PBDE content in the rural and urban colonies, respectively. BDE-202, considered an indicator of BDE 209 debromination, was detected in 83% and all of the samples from rural and urban colonies, respectively. The observed congener profile in which BDE-207>BDE-208>BDE-206 does not correspond to any known technical PBDE mixture and is evidence for possible BDE-209 degradation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2010.11.013DOI Listing
April 2011