Nest cover and faecal glucocorticoid metabolites are linked to hatching success and telomere length in breeding Common Eiders (Somateria mollissima)

K Noreikiene, Markus Öst, MW Seltmann, W Boner, P Monaghan, K Jaatinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Habitat-associated crypsis may affect perceived predation vulnerability, selecting for different predator avoidance strategies. Glucocorticoids could mediate the adjustment of escape responses to the extent of crypsis, introducing an overlooked source of variation in glucocorticoid-fitness relationships. However, prolonged exposure to elevated glucocorticoids may be costly, leading to accelerated telomere loss and, consequently, senescence. Here, we examined how nest cover and immunoreactive faecal glucocorticoid metabolite (fGCM) levels are linked to hatching success and telomere length in breeding female Common Eiders (Somateria mollissima (L., 1758)). We hypothesized that the degree of nest crypsis, reflecting differences in perceived predation risk, would moderate the relationship between reproductive success and fGCM levels. We also expected that telomere length would be shorter in birds with higher glucocorticoid concentration. Results showed that individuals with high fGCM levels had higher hatching success in nests with low cover, while low fGCM levels were more successful in well-concealed nests. We found that shorter telomeres were associated with high fGCM in nesting sites offering little cover and with low fGCM in well-concealed ones. This study provides the first evidence of habitat-dependent moderation of the relationships between stress physiology, telomere length and hatching success.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)695–703
Number of pages9
JournalCanadian Journal of Zoology
Volume95
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • glucocorticoids
  • nesting habitat
  • cost of reproduction
  • Somateria mollissima
  • Common eider

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