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Leukocyte counts in different populations of Antarctic Pygoscelid penguins along the Antarctic Peninsula

AuthorsD’Amico, Verónica L.; Bertelloti, Marcelo; Benzal, Jesús ; Coria, Néstor; Vidal Burgos, Virginia ; Diaz, Julia I.; Barbosa, Andrés
KeywordsGeographical context
Leukocyte counts
Pygoscelid penguins
Issue DateFeb-2016
CitationPolar Biology 39(2): 199-206 (2016)
AbstractThe Antarctic Peninsula is one of the areas where the climate is changing at the fastest pace, having several effects on the populations of pygoscelid penguins. Few studies have analysed the variation in immune parameters of antarctic birds in a geographical context; thus, analyses of geographical differences in the immune components of wild pygoscelid penguins are still scarce. Leukocyte counts in birds provide information on their immunity and physiological stress. The objective of this study was to analyse the leukocyte counts in penguins of the genus Pygoscelis (gentoo, Adélie and chinstrap penguins), covering sites along the South Shetland Islands and some islands on the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Our results revealed differences in the number of heterophils and eosinophils and in the heterophil/lymphocyte ratio in the northeastern populations of gentoo and Adélie penguins as compared to the rest of the colonies studied. The results contribute to better understanding of the variations in physiological parameters of penguins related to a geographical context.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s00300-015-1771-3
issn: 0722-4060
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