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Behavioral Response of the O’ahu ‘amakihi to Experimental Infection with Avian Malaria

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Title:Behavioral Response of the O’ahu ‘amakihi to Experimental Infection with Avian Malaria
Authors:Fisher, Danielle
Contributors:Freed, Leonard (instructor)
Date Issued:11 May 2010
Publisher:University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract:Avian malaria (Plasmodium relictum), like other introduced diseases, is considered one of the greatest threats to the recovery of Hawaiian forest birds. Most bird species survive only at high elevations. The O’ahu ‘amakihi (Hemignathus flavus) is one of few species that has stable and widespread populations in low elevation forest habitat. This study is part of a larger project that experimentally infected O’ahu ‘amakihi with avian malaria to determine how they deal with this disease at low elevation. My objective is to determine if behavioral changes during the course of infection could be used to document tolerance to the disease. The study used four experimentally infected birds as the treatment group, and four uninfected birds as a control group. All bird activity was recorded and processed using the data analysis program BEAST (Student Version 1.0) and analyzed with respect to changes in parasitemia (percentage of infected erythrocytes). Behavioral variation was tested using a mixed model analysis of variance (ANOVA), which could identify differences between infected and control groups as well as between time periods. Focused contrasts could test effects of different time periods. Percent of observation time spent sitting was the only behavior that differed significantly between infected and control birds. Sitting varied with degree of infection, climaxing during the crisis phase and returning to pre-infection levels, indicating recovery. There was no loss of mass or signficant decline in nectar consumption. The O’ahu ‘amakihi thus shows low morbidity, which may account for their continued survival in low elevation forest habitats where avian malaria is prevalent.
Pages/Duration:23 pages
Rights:All UHM Honors Projects are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Honors Projects for Zoology

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