BioSpace Collaborative

Academic/Biomedical Research
News & Jobs
Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Channel Medical Device and Diagnostics Channel Clinical Research Channel BioSpace Collaborative    Job Seekers:  Register | Login          Employers:  Register | Login  

NEWSLETTERS
Free Newsletters
Archive
My Subscriptions

NEWS
News by Subject
News by Disease
News by Date
PLoS
Search News
Post Your News
JoVE

CAREER NETWORK
Job Seeker Login
Most Recent Jobs
Search Jobs
Post Resume
Career Fairs
Career Resources
For Employers

HOTBEDS
Regional News
US & Canada
  Biotech Bay
  Biotech Beach
  Genetown
  Pharm Country
  BioCapital
  BioMidwest
  Bio NC
  BioForest
  Southern Pharm
  BioCanada East
  C2C Services & Suppliers™
Europe
Asia

DIVERSITY

PROFILES
Company Profiles

INTELLIGENCE
Research Store

INDUSTRY EVENTS
Research Events
Post an Event
RESOURCES
Real Estate
Business Opportunities

PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Nutrition

The Effects of Dietary Carotenoid Supplementation and Retinal Carotenoid Accumulation on Vision-Mediated Foraging in the House Finch
Published: Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Author: Matthew B. Toomey et al.

by Matthew B. Toomey, Kevin J. McGraw

Background

For many bird species, vision is the primary sensory modality used to locate and assess food items. The health and spectral sensitivities of the avian visual system are influenced by diet-derived carotenoid pigments that accumulate in the retina. Among wild House Finches (Carpodacus mexicanus), we have found that retinal carotenoid accumulation varies significantly among individuals and is related to dietary carotenoid intake. If diet-induced changes in retinal carotenoid accumulation alter spectral sensitivity, then they have the potential to affect visually mediated foraging performance.

Methodology/Principal Findings

In two experiments, we measured foraging performance of house finches with dietarily manipulated retinal carotenoid levels. We tested each bird's ability to extract visually contrasting food items from a matrix of inedible distracters under high-contrast (full) and dimmer low-contrast (red-filtered) lighting conditions. In experiment one, zeaxanthin-supplemented birds had significantly increased retinal carotenoid levels, but declined in foraging performance in the high-contrast condition relative to astaxanthin-supplemented birds that showed no change in retinal carotenoid accumulation. In experiments one and two combined, we found that retinal carotenoid concentrations predicted relative foraging performance in the low- vs. high-contrast light conditions in a curvilinear pattern. Performance was positively correlated with retinal carotenoid accumulation among birds with low to medium levels of accumulation (~0.5–1.5 µg/retina), but declined among birds with very high levels (>2.0 µg/retina).

Conclusion/Significance

Our results suggest that carotenoid-mediated spectral filtering enhances color discrimination, but that this improvement is traded off against a reduction in sensitivity that can compromise visual discrimination. Thus, retinal carotenoid levels may be optimized to meet the visual demands of specific behavioral tasks and light environments.

  More...