Examining Carry-Over Effects in Resident and Migratory Sparrows Using Feather Corticosterone
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. School of Environment and Natural Resources Undergraduate Research Theses; 2018
Many factors influence a bird's likelihood of survival, including access to food, quality of habitat, and protection from depredation. This study is aimed to assess winter survival rates in relation to corticosterone, a hormone that regulates stress responses. For many birds, both winter and molt (annual replacement of feathers) can be stressful seasons with potentially high mortality rates. An acute or chronic stress response during molt might have a carry-over effect onto winter survival rates, known as a seasonal interaction. We examined overwinter survival rates in populations of migratory White-throated Sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis) and resident Song Sparrows (Melospiza melodia) in an urban wetland. We related survival rates to corticosterone levels during molt. These results will allow us to determine if survival rates vary among individuals in accordance with corticosterone hormone levels, providing further insight on potential carry-over effects from molting to winter seasons. In both species, survival rates varied with time, and there was not a direct relationship between CORT during molt and overwinter survival.
Academic Major: Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife
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