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Cortisol but not testosterone is repeatable and varies with reproductive effort in wild red deer stags

Pavitt, Alyson T.; Walling, Craig A.; Mostl, Erich; Pemberton, Josephine M; Kruuk, Loeske

Description

Although it is known that hormone concentrations vary considerably between individuals within a population, how they change across time and how they relate to an individual's reproductive effort remains poorly quantified in wild animals. Using faecal samples collected from wild red deer stags, we examined sources of variation in faecal cortisol and androgen metabolites, and the potential relationship that these might have with an index of reproductive effort. We also biologically validated an...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorPavitt, Alyson T.
dc.contributor.authorWalling, Craig A.
dc.contributor.authorMostl, Erich
dc.contributor.authorPemberton, Josephine M
dc.contributor.authorKruuk, Loeske
dc.date.accessioned2016-06-14T23:19:51Z
dc.identifier.issn0016-6480
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/103082
dc.description.abstractAlthough it is known that hormone concentrations vary considerably between individuals within a population, how they change across time and how they relate to an individual's reproductive effort remains poorly quantified in wild animals. Using faecal samples collected from wild red deer stags, we examined sources of variation in faecal cortisol and androgen metabolites, and the potential relationship that these might have with an index of reproductive effort. We also biologically validated an assay for measuring androgen metabolites in red deer faeces. We show that variation in hormone concentrations between samples can be accounted for by the age of the individual and the season when the sample was collected. Faecal cortisol (but not androgen) metabolites also showed significant among-individual variation across the 10-year sampling time period, which accounted for 20% of the trait's phenotypic variance after correcting for the age and season effects. Finally, we show that an index of male reproductive effort (cumulative harem size) during the mating season (rut) was positively correlated with male cortisol concentrations, both among and within individuals. We suggest that the highest ranking males have the largest cumulative harem sizes (i.e. invest the greatest reproductive effort), and that this social dominance may have associated behaviours such as increased frequency of agonistic interactions which are associated with corresponding high levels of faecal cortisol metabolites (FCM).
dc.publisherAcademic Press
dc.sourceGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology: an international journal
dc.titleCortisol but not testosterone is repeatable and varies with reproductive effort in wild red deer stags
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume222
dc.date.issued2015
local.identifier.absfor060201 - Behavioural Ecology
local.identifier.ariespublicationU3488905xPUB14203
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationPavitt, Alyson T., University of Edinburgh
local.contributor.affiliationWalling, Craig A., University of Edinburgh
local.contributor.affiliationMostl, Erich, University of Veterinary Medicine
local.contributor.affiliationPemberton, Josephine M, University of Edinburgh
local.contributor.affiliationKruuk, Loeske, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage62
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage68
local.identifier.doi10.1016/j.ygcen.2015.07.009
local.identifier.absseo970106 - Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
dc.date.updated2016-06-14T08:43:38Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-84958882757
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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