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The adrenocortical stress-response of Black-legged Kittiwake chicks in relation to dietary restrictions

Journal of Comparative Physiology B: Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology

By:
, , ,
DOI: 10.1007/s003600050225

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Abstract

In this study we examined hormonal responses of Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) chicks to experimental variations in energy content and nutritional quality (low or high lipid to protein ratio, LPR) of their food. Starting at the age of 10 days, chicks were fed either high or low LPR fish at 30, 50, 70 and 100% of ad libitum energy intake. After 20 days of treatment, chicks were exposed to a standardized acute handling and restraint stress protocol, where a baseline sample was taken immediately after taking a chick from the nest, and three additional blood samples were taken at intervals up to 50 min. Testosterone and corticosterone titres in plasma were measured via radioimmunoassay. We found that baseline testosterone levels were not significantly affected by the experimental treatments. Food-restricted chicks had elevated baseline and acute stress-induced levels of corticosterone compared to chicks fed ad libitum. An elevation of circulating levels of corticosterone in energetically stressed individuals was further magnified by low nutritional quality of food. Baseline and acute stress-induced corticosterone levels of chicks were negatively correlated with their fat reserves. We conclude that the physiological condition of Black-legged Kittiwake chicks can be assessed reliably by measuring circulating levels of corticosterone. We discuss short-and long-term effects of elevated corticosterone secretion in food-stressed nest-bound chicks.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
The adrenocortical stress-response of Black-legged Kittiwake chicks in relation to dietary restrictions
Series title:
Journal of Comparative Physiology B: Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
DOI:
10.1007/s003600050225
Volume
169
Issue:
4-5
Year Published:
1999
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
303
Last page:
310
Number of Pages:
8