Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Metal In Feathers Could Provide Bird Flu Clues

Date:
March 18, 2007
Source:
Royal Society Of Chemistry
Summary:
Measurements of different forms of the metal strontium found in bird feathers could unravel mysteries of their migration patterns and help predict the arrival of avian carried diseases such as bird flu. Concerns about the spread of bird flu means there is an urgent need to find better ways of monitoring the movements of migrating birds.

Measurements of different forms of the metal strontium found in bird feathers could unravel mysteries of their migration patterns and help predict the arrival of avian carried diseases such as bird flu.

Concerns about the spread of bird flu means there is an urgent need to find better ways of monitoring the movements of migrating birds.

Dr Laura Font and a team at the University of Durham have developed a technique based on thermal ionisation mass spectrometry (TIMS) that can measure very low concentrations of strontium isotopes in bird feathers. (Isotopes of an element have the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons in their nucleus)

The team measured strontium isotope levels in the feathers of the sedge warbler, and mapped how this changed with geographic location.

Dr Font said: “The routes of migrant birds have previously been studied using a variety of techniques, such as marking individuals with metal leg rings, radio or satellite tags, or simply counting bird numbers at migratory stop over points.

“But these labour intensive methods generate relatively little date and often do not reveal the origin of individual birds.”

Migratory birds regularly renew their feathers, often prior to migration – and the feathers tend to reflect the unique “isotopic signature” of the region in which they were grown.

Although analysis of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen isotopes can give a rough idea of the birds’ origin, strontium isotope ratios in the bones, claws and egg shells of birds tend to provide a much more precise location.

Unfortunately, bone analysis is too invasive for routine use. But Dr Font’s technique has finally made accurate analysis of strontium in feathers a viable option for tracking birds.

Dr Font said: “By determining migration pathways, the arrival of potential vectors of diseases from infected areas can be anticipated.

“Knowledge of migratory routes also helps evaluate the likelihood that individual avian influenza outbreaks could be related to migratory movements rather than anthropogenic activities, such as poultry movements, which are believed to be the main vector of avian influenza in most outbreaks.”

The news is reported in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Royal Society Of Chemistry. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Royal Society Of Chemistry. "Metal In Feathers Could Provide Bird Flu Clues." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070315131058.htm>.
Royal Society Of Chemistry. (2007, March 18). Metal In Feathers Could Provide Bird Flu Clues. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070315131058.htm
Royal Society Of Chemistry. "Metal In Feathers Could Provide Bird Flu Clues." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070315131058.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) — A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 20, 2014) — Forget rolling on rubber, could car drivers soon be traveling on tires made from dandelions? Teams of scientists are racing to breed a type of the yellow flower whose taproot has a milky fluid with tire-grade rubber particles in it. As Joanna Partridge reports, global tire makers are investing millions in research into a new tire source. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — Poachers have killed 100,000 elephants between 2010 and 2012, as the booming ivory trade takes its toll on the animals in Africa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins