California gull chicks raised near colony edges have elevated stress levels

General and Comparative Endocrinology
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Abstract

Coloniality in nesting birds represents an important life history strategy for maximizing reproductive success. Birds nesting near the edge of colonies tend to have lower reproductive success than individuals nesting near colony centers, and offspring of edge-nesting parents may be impaired relative to those of central-nesting parents. We used fecal corticosterone metabolites in California gull chicks (Larus californicus) to examine whether colony size or location within the colony influenced a chick's physiological condition. We found that chicks being raised near colony edges had higher fecal corticosterone metabolite concentrations than chicks raised near colony centers, but that colony size (ranging from 150 to 11,554 nests) had no influence on fecal corticosterone levels. Fecal corticosterone metabolite concentrations also increased with chick age. Our results suggest that similarly aged California gull chicks raised near colony edges may be more physiologically stressed, as indicated by corticosterone metabolites, than chicks raised near colony centers.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title California gull chicks raised near colony edges have elevated stress levels
Series title General and Comparative Endocrinology
DOI 10.1016/j.ygcen.2011.04.029
Volume 173
Issue 1
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Contaminant Biology Program, Western Ecological Research Center
Description 6 p.
First page 72
Last page 77