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The effects of variable foraging conditions on common murre (Uria aalge) corticosterone concentrations and parental provisioning
Doody, L.M., Wilhelm, S.I., McKay, D.W., Walsh, C.J. & Storey, A.E. (2008) Hormones and Behavior 53 (1):140148
Abstract
This study investigated how total corticosterone concentrations, chick-feeding rates, and adult body mass changed with food availability from 1998 to 2000 in the same individually marked common murres (Uria aalge). Capelin, the main prey species, arrived inshore by the onset of murre chick hatching in 1998 and 1999 (prey match years); whereas in 2000, hatching began approximately 1 week before the capelin arrived inshore to spawn (prey mismatch year). Serum corticosterone concentrations were higher in the same individuals in the prey mismatch year than they were in either of the match years. Birds sampled before peak capelin spawning in the mismatch year had higher corticosterone levels than murres sampled after peak spawning. Murres with higher corticosterone levels had higher chick-feeding rates and less mass loss in the mismatch year (compared to the match year 1999) than birds with lower levels. Corticosterone levels did not differ between birds that had not foraged for at least 12 h (brooded chick overnight) and those that had, suggesting that short-term food deprivation did not affect corticosterone concentrations. Taken together, these findings suggest that the difference between years reflects a baseline shift in corticosterone levels, particularly in the high-quality birds that were able to increase both corticosterone concentrations and foraging effort.

Keywords: Common murres; Parental behavior; Corticosterone

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yhbeh.2007.09.009


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