Interannual variability of Black-legged Kittiwake productivity is reflected in baseline plasma corticosterone.

Abstract:

:Seabird productivity is shaped by marine resource availability. We examined the link between seabird productivity and an indirect measure of food availability: baseline plasma corticosterone. We predicted low productivity would coincide with elevated baseline corticosterone levels in Black-legged Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla). During a 5-year period of declining Kittiwake productivity in Chiniak Bay, Kodiak Island, Alaska, we found increasing baseline corticosterone levels during both incubation and chick-rearing. Significantly lower baseline corticosterone levels were observed in the years with the highest Kittiwake productivity and the least productive years exhibited the greatest baseline corticosterone levels in Kittiwakes. Although we did not measure food availability, declining Kittiwake productivity was consistent with warming ocean temperatures and decreased availability of forage fishes to apex predators. Baseline corticosterone measurements may help researchers assess how Kittiwakes are responding to variations in the marine environment.

journal_name

Gen Comp Endocrinol

authors

Buck CL,O'Reilly KM,Kildaw SD

doi

10.1016/j.ygcen.2006.10.011

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2007-02-01 00:00:00

pages

430-6

issue

3

eissn

0016-6480

issn

1095-6840

pii

S0016-6480(06)00335-2

journal_volume

150

pub_type

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