Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stress may lead to better bird parenting

Date:
June 14, 2011
Source:
Queen's University
Summary:
Birds with high levels of stress hormones have the highest mating success and offer better parental care to their brood, according to new biology research.

A tree swallow at Queen's University Biological Station (QUBS).
Credit: Image courtesy of Queen's University

Birds with high levels of stress hormones have the highest mating success and offer better parental care to their brood, according to new biology research at Queen's University.

"Having high levels of glucocorticoid or stress hormone is often thought to indicate an individual in poor condition who has a low level of mating success. However, our research indicates that tree swallows with the highest levels of stress hormone have the highest reproductive success," says Frances Bonier (Biology) who investigates the way animals cope with challenges in their environment.

The researchers measured glucocorticoid levels in female tree swallows before and after experimentally changing their brood sizes. Females whose broods were enlarged by two nestlings nearly doubled their glucocorticoid levels, while the glucocorticoid levels of females whose broods were reduced remained unchanged.

Females with greater increases in glucocorticoids also fed their nestlings at higher rates, suggesting that stress hormones facilitate parental behaviour.

In previous years, the researchers found correlations between stress hormone levels, the number of offspring in a brood, and the amount of weight nestlings gained. The next stage is manipulating levels of stress hormones in tree swallows and observing subsequent effects on parental behaviour.

For all these studies, the focal system is a nest-box breeding population of tree swallows established more than 35 years ago at the Queen's University Biological Station (QUBS).

"The QUBS population of tree swallows offers a unique opportunity to conduct large-scale field experiments, allowing us to tease apart the complex interactions between the environment, physiology, behaviour, life history and fitness effects in free-ranging animals," says Dr. Bonier.

QUBS has been a pivotal part of research and teaching at Queen's for more than six decades and hosts researchers from both Canadian and international institutions. Research at QUBS has resulted in more than 800 publications in peer-reviewed journals and more than 200 graduate and undergraduate theses.

Dr. Bonier's research will be published in an upcoming issue of Biology Letters.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen's University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. F. Bonier, I. T. Moore, R. J. Robertson. The stress of parenthood? Increased glucocorticoids in birds with experimentally enlarged broods. Biology Letters, 2011; DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0391

Cite This Page:

Queen's University. "Stress may lead to better bird parenting." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110614131952.htm>.
Queen's University. (2011, June 14). Stress may lead to better bird parenting. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110614131952.htm
Queen's University. "Stress may lead to better bird parenting." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110614131952.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins