Peer Reviewed Science October ’16

Here are the papers for volume 5, all the ‘lazy’ academics are back from their summer holidays (i.e. exotic field work or hanging out with cool zoo animals) and the new academic year has begun. All papers are from September 2016 and are directly relevant to zoo keepers and aquarists.


North American Journal of Aquaculture- August 2016 Volume 78 issue 4 – requires subscription

Patterson J.T, Flint M., Than J., Watson C.A. (2016) Evaluation of Substrate Properties for Settlement of Caribbean Staghorn Coral Acropora cervicornis Larvae in a Land-Based System, North American Journal Of Aquaculture,  78:4

Rough tiles that have been conditioned in a sump tank (algae scrubbed off) for 45 days and positioned horizontally were the preferred settlement site for the planula larvae.


Aquaculture International – October 2016 Volume 24, Issue 5– requires subscription

Nass, D.H., Gonalves E.L.T., Tsuzuki M. Y (2016) Effect of live food tranistion time on survival growth and metamorpphosis of yellow tail clownfish, Amphiprion clarkii, larvae Aquaculture international, 24: 1255


The best time to move A. clarkii from rotifers to Artemia is two days post hatching due to their ability to handle large food items at an early age.


Aquaculture Nutrition – August 2016 Volume 22, Issue 4– requires subscription

Hawkyard M., Stuart K., Langdon C. and Drawbridge M. (2016), The enrichment of rotifers (Brachionus plicatilis) and Artemia franciscana with taurine liposomes and their subsequent effects on the larval development of California yellowtail (Seriola lalandi). Aquacult Nutr, 22: 911–922.

Enriching rotifers and Artemia with taurine liposomes results in similar levels to copepods.  Feeding taurine liposomes to rotifers increased the growth and final weight of the larval fish.  Feeding enriched Artemia did not significantly alter growth, suggesting unenriched Artemia contained enough taurine for that growth phase of the larvae.


Aquaculture Research – September 2016 Volume 47, Issue 9– requires subscription

Tew K. S., Chang Y.-C., Meng P.-J., Leu M.Y. and Glover D. C. (2016), Towards sustainable exhibits – application of an inorganic fertilization method in coral reef fish larviculture in an aquarium. Aquaculture Research, 47: 2748–2756

Using inorganic fertiliser to maintain high inorganic phosphorus and inorganic nitrogen levels allowed an increase in algae leading to an increase in micro fauna.  Larval fish raised in these systems had a higher survival rate at 21 days than those kept in unfertilised tanks and fed with rotifers.  Although not significantly higher due to high variation between trials, the method is much less intensive than standard larval care.


Fish and Fisheries – September 2016 Volume 17, Issue 3– requires subscription

Maceda-Veiga A., Domínguez-Domínguez O., Escribano-Alacid J. and Lyons J. (2016), The aquarium hobby: can sinners become saints in freshwater fish conservation? Fish and Fisheries, 17: 860–874.


An interesting discussion article on the roles hobbyists and conservationists take on the aquarium trade.  Examples of where friction has occurred and where advances have been made.  Worth a read.


Animal Behaviour – Volume 120 October

*no relevant articles this month*

Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research

*no new issue at time of collation*

Zoo Biology – In Press

Why do captive pied tamarins give birth during the day? Price E.C., Payne C. and Wormell D.

Diurnal primates typically give birth at night, however at Durrell Wildlife Park more than half of pied tamarin births occurred during the day. Despite investigation, no explanation was found for this trend.
Aggressive behavior and hair cortisol levels in captive Dorcas gazelles (Gazella dorcas) as animal-based welfare indicators. Salas M., Temple D., Abáigar T., Cuadrado M., Delclaux M., Enseñat C., Almagro V., Martínez-Nevado E., Quevedo M.A., Carbajal A., Tallo-Parra O., Sabés-Alsina M., Amat M., Lopez-Bejar M., Fernández-Bellon H. and Manteca X.

Measuring cortisol in hair is a useful non-invasive indicator of long-lasting stress. This study compared positive and negative social behaviour with hair cortisol concentration in four groups of Dorcas gazelles. Despite a small sample size, there was a significant correlation between frequency of negative social behaviour and hair cortisol concentration.
Characterization of multiple pathways modulating aggression in the male clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa). Heather B. DeCaluwe, Nadja C. Wielebnowski, JoGayle Howard, Katharine M. Pelican and Mary Ann Ottinger.

  • Breeding clouded leopards ex situ has been a challenge, primarily due to extreme and often fatal male aggression toward females.
  • Male clouded leopard behavioral and hormonal data were collected during a series of behavior tests administered before and after treatment with either an anxiety-reducing tricyclic antidepressant (clomipramine) or a GnRH agonist (deslorelin).
  • Both drug treatments provide evidence that multiple mechanisms modulate aggressive behavior in the male clouded leopard, suggesting that serotonergic modulation coupled with circulating androgens may aid in the formation of successful breeding pairs.

Changes in the dominance hierarchy of captive female Japanese macaques as a consequence of merging two previously established groups. Emily J. Anderson, Robert B. Weladji and Patrick Paré.

  • In zoos, changes in group composition are often required due to management protocols, but these changes may have long lasting effects on dominance hierarchies, and, consequently, the wellbeing of the animals.
  • There was no significant correlation between individual ranks in the old groups and their ranks in the new group, indicating a significant change in the hierarchy.
  • Alliances between kin appeared to be important in determining rank.
  • Ranks in the new group did correlate with age of individual at the beginning of the field season, but not at the end, after the shift in hierarchy occurred.
  • Zoo management must be aware of the consequences small changes in a social group can have when removing and transferring individuals in both primates and in other social species.

Applied Animal Behaviour Science – In press

Is interactive technology a relevant and effective enrichment for captive great apes? Nicky N.E. Kim-McCormack, Carolynn L. Smith, Alison M. Behie.

DOI: Publication stage: In Press Accepted Manuscript

  • Digital technology increasingly relevant for captive/sanctuary primate enrichment
  • There is a need for non-habituating, non-food reward, long-term enrichment solution
  • Digital enrichment overcomes these disadvantages of traditional non-digital stimuli
  • Changes in methodology alleviated negative behaviours found in previous studies
  • Digital devices offer free-choice, in turn known to reduce stress-related symptoms
  • Potential anthropomorphic views on digital interactive enrichment


Effect of housing density on growth, agonistic behaviour, and activity in hatchling saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus). Matthew L. Brien, Grahame J. Webb, Keith A. McGuinness, Keith A. Christian.

DOI: Publication stage: In Press Corrected Proof

  • Agonistic interactions highest among hatchling  porosusat lowest densities
  • Activity highest among hatchling  porosusat highest densities
  • Growth highest among hatchling  porosusat a density of 10–15/m2
  • Based on these results, it appears that the high and low densities tested may have an adverse effect on hatchling porosus growth rate and behaviour in captivity


A comparison of nocturnal primate behvaiour in exhibits illuminated with red and blue light. Grace Fuller, Mary Ann Raghanti, Patricia M. Dennis, Christopher W. Kuhar, Mark A. Willis, Mandi Wilder Schook, Kristen E. Lukas.

DOI: Publication stage: In Press Corrected Proof

  • Previous research suggests that exposure to light all 24 h of the day and exposure to blue light during the dark phase can be harmful to human and animal health
  • We experimentally changed the light color used to exhibit nocturnal primates at two zoos
  • All study animals performed fewer active behaviors in exhibits with blue light compared to red
  • Under blue light, concentrations of salivary melatonin (timekeeping hormone) decreased significantly in an aye-aye
  • These results offer a compelling reason to reconsider the practice of exhibiting nocturnal animals under blue light, as wavelength-dependent suppression of behavior and hormones may have important implications for animal health and welfare

Impact of tank background on the welfare of the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis (Daudin). Andrew M. Holmes, Christopher J. Emmans, Niall Jones, Robert Coleman, Tessa E. Smith, Charlotte A. Hosie.

DOI: Publication stage: In Press Accepted Manuscript

*Common laboratory species but may be relevant to other aquatic frogs kept in zoos*

  • Study compared tank background colours for laboratory housed Xenopus laevis
  • Water-borne corticosterone lower when housed with ecologically relevant background
  • Fewer atypical active behaviours when housed with ecologically relevant background
  • Non-ecologically relevant background led to greater loss of body mass
  • Tank background refinement may improve captive welfare



Training Reduces Stress in Human-Socialised Wolves to the Same Degree as in Dogs. Angélica da Silva Vasconcellos, Zsófia Virányi, Friederike Range, Csar Ades, Jördis Kristin Scheidegger, Erich Möstl and Kurt Kotrschal

Here, we investigated the behavioural (behaviours indicative of cooperation or stress) and physiological (variations in salivary cortisol concentrations) effects of the increasingly used practice of training wild animals as a way to facilitate handling and/or as behavioural enrichment. We evaluated the effects of indoor training sessions with familiar caretakers on nine human-socialised individuals of a wild species, the wolf (Canis lupus), in comparison to nine individuals of its domesticated form, the dog (Canis lupus familiaris). All animals were raised and kept in intraspecific packs under identical conditions-in accordance with the social structure of the species-in order to control for socialisation with human beings and familiarity with training. Similarly to dogs, the salivary cortisol level of wolves-used as an index of stress-dropped during these sessions, pointing to a similar stress-reducing effect of the training interaction in both subspecies. The responses to the requested behaviours and the reduction in salivary cortisol level of wolves and dogs varied across trainers, which indicates that the relaxing effect of training has a social component. This points to another factor affecting the welfare of animals during the sessions, beside the rewarding effect of getting food and control over the situation by successfully completing a task. As all responses performed by the animals corresponded to cues already familiar to them, the reported effects were likely due to the above cited factors rather than to a learning process. Our results support previous findings suggesting that training is a potentially powerful tool for improving welfare in some wild social canids by creating structured and positive interactions between these animals and their human caretakers.

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