3 years ago

The stress response is attenuated during inclement weather in parental, but not in pre-parental, Lapland longspurs (Calcarius lapponicus) breeding in the Low Arctic

Birds breeding at high latitudes can be faced with extreme weather events throughout the breeding season. In response to environmental perturbations, vertebrates activate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and synthesize corticosterone, which promotes changes in behavior and physiology to help the animal survive. The parental care hypothesis suggests that the HPA axis activity should be downregulated during the parental stage of breeding to prevent nest abandonment. However, it is unknown what happens to HPA axis activity in response to severe weather at the transition from the pre-parental to parental stages of breeding. We sampled baseline corticosterone levels and the time course of corticosterone elevation over 60min of restraint stress and assessed body condition and fat stores in Lapland longspurs (Calcarius lapponicus) breeding in the Low Arctic in the presence and absence of snowstorms. The results showed that during the pre-parental stage, HPA axis activity was up-regulated in response to snowstorms, with corticosterone levels continuing to increase through 60min of restraint. However, once birds were parental, HPA axis activity was unaffected by snowstorms and levels peaked at 10min. Fat levels and body condition did not change in response to snowstorms but fat levels declined in males during the pre-parental stage. These data suggest that the parental care hypothesis can be applied to severe storm events; parental birds restrained the activity of the HPA axis, likely to focus on the reproductive effort that is already underway, while pre-parental birds greatly upregulated HPA axis activity in response to snowstorms to maximize self-preservation.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0018506X16300666

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.