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Migratory carryover effects and endocrinological correlates of reproductive decisions and reproductive success in female albatrosses

Crossin, Glenn; Phillips, Richard A.; Trathan, Phil N.; Fox, Derren S.; Dawson, Alistair; Wynne-Edwards, Katherine E.; Williams, Tony D.. 2012 Migratory carryover effects and endocrinological correlates of reproductive decisions and reproductive success in female albatrosses. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 176 (2). 151-157. 10.1016/j.ygcen.2012.01.006

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Text (This article has been accepted for publication and will appear in a revised form in General and Comparative Endocrinology, published by Elsevier. Copyright Elsevier.)
Crossin et al Black-browed albatross study in GCE 2012.pdf - Accepted Version

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Abstract/Summary

Physiological mechanisms mediating carryover effects, wherein events or activities occurring in one season, habitat, or life-history stage affect important processes in subsequent life-history stages, are largely unknown. The mechanism most commonly invoked to explain carryover effects from migration centres on the acquisition and utilization of resources (e.g. body mass, or individual ‘condition’). However, other mechanisms are plausible, e.g. trade-offs reflecting conflict or incompatibility between physiological regulatory systems required for different activities or life-history stages (migration vs. reproduction). Here we show that in female black-browed albatrosses (Thalassarche melanophris) the decision to reproduce or to defer reproduction, made prior to their arrival at breeding colonies after long-distance migration, is associated with condition-related (body mass, hematocrit, hemoglobin concentrations) and hormonal (progesterone, testosterone, estrogen-dependent yolk precursors) traits. In contrast, reproductive success showed little association with condition but showed significant associations with the steroidogenic processes underlying follicle development. Specifically, success was determined by reproductive readiness via differences in steroid hormones and hormone-dependent traits. Successful albatrosses were characterized by high progesterone and high estradiol-dependent yolk precursor levels, whereas failed albatrosses had high testosterone and low yolk precursor levels. Results are discussed with reference to migratory carryover effects and how these can differentially affect the physiologies influencing reproductive decisions and reproductive success.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.ygcen.2012.01.006
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 onwards > Biodiversity
BAS Programmes > Polar Science for Planet Earth (2009 - ) > Ecosystems
CEH Sections: CEH fellows
ISSN: 0016-6480
Additional Keywords: Vitellogenin, physiological conflict, yolk precursors, Thalassarche melanophris, reproductive hormones, seabirds
NORA Subject Terms: Zoology
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 30 Apr 2012 15:08
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/17912

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