Seasonal patterns of prolactin and corticosterone secretion in an Antarctic seabird that moults during reproduction

Crossin, Glenn; Dawson, Alistair; Phillips, Richard; Trathan, Phil ORCID:; Gorman, Kristen B.; Adlard, Stacey; Williams, Tony D.. 2012 Seasonal patterns of prolactin and corticosterone secretion in an Antarctic seabird that moults during reproduction. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 175 (1). 74-81.

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In avian species that have evolved life-history strategies wherein molt and breeding overlap, there are potential conflicts between the regulatory roles of baseline prolactin and corticosterone in parental care (positive) and moult (negative). We describe seasonal patterns of hormonal secretion, moult, and parental behaviour in sibling species of giant petrels (Macronectes spp.) which begin moult during the incubation/ early chick-rearing stage of reproduction. With the exception of male Southern giant petrels (Macronectes giganteus), prolactin secretion and moult in Northern (Macronectes halli) and female Southern giant petrels conformed to those observed in all other avian species, with the initiation of moult coincident with decreases from peak prolactin levels. However, male Southern giant petrels began moulting early in incubation when prolactin was increasing and had not yet peaked, which suggests a requirement of prolactin for incubation behaviour and a dissociation of prolactin from moult. Corticosterone showed little seasonal variation and no relationship with moult. When comparing prolactin, corticosterone, and moult in failed vs. active breeders, we found that failed breeding enabled a more rapid down-regulation of prolactin, thus facilitating a more rapid moult. We present specific examples of the behavioural ecology of giant petrels which we conclude help mediate any potential hormonal conflicts between parental care and moult.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 2 - Ecological Processes in the Environment > BD - 2.4 - Estimate the impact of the main drivers and pressures on biodiversity ...
BAS Programmes > Polar Science for Planet Earth (2009 - ) > Ecosystems
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Watt
ISSN: 0016-6480
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in General and Comparative Endocrinology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in General and Comparative Endocrinology, 175 (1). 74-81. 10.1016/j.ygcen.2011.10.003
Additional Keywords: Physiological conflict, Incubation, Chick rearing, Giant petrel, Macronectes, Foraging behaviour, Parental care
NORA Subject Terms: Zoology
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 24 Feb 2012 14:21 +0 (UTC)

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