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Stress response during development predicts fitness in a wild, long-lived vertebrate

AuthorsBlas, Julio ; Bortolotti, Gary R. ; Tella, José Luis ; Baos, Raquel ; Marchant, Tracy A.
KeywordsAnimal personality
Issue Date15-May-2007
PublisherNational Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
CitationProc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2007 May 22; 104(21): 8880–8884
AbstractShort-term elevation of circulating glucocorticosteroids (GCs) in vertebrates facilitates the adoption of a distinct emergency life history state, which allows individuals to cope with perturbations and recover homeostasis at the expense of temporarily suppressing nonessential activities. Although GC responses are viewed as a major evolutionary mechanism to maximize fitness through stress management, phenotypic variability exists within animal populations, and it remains unclear whether interindividual differences in stress physiology can explain variance in unequivocal components of fitness. We show that the magnitude of the adrenocortical response to a standardized perturbation during development is negatively related to survival and recruitment in a wild population of long lived birds. Our results provide empirical evidence for a link between stress response, not exposure to stressors, and fitness in a vertebrate under natural conditions. Recent studies suggest that variability in the adrenocortical response to stress may be maintained if high and low GC responders represent alternative coping strategies, with differential adaptive value depending on environmental conditions. Increased fitness among low GC responders, having a proactive personality, is predicted under elevated population density and availability of food resources, conditions that characterize our study population.
Description5 pages.-- Open-access paper at PNAS website or via NIH-PubMed Central, PMCID: PMC1660487.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0700232104
Appears in Collections:(EBD) Artículos
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