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Sexual selection theory posits that ornaments can signal the genetic quality of an individual. Eumelanin-based coloration is such an ornament and can signal the ability to cope with a physiological stress response because the melanocortin system regulates eumelanogenesis as well as physiological stress responses. In the present article, we experimentally(More)
Migration is a key life cycle stage in nearly 2000 species of birds and is a greatly appreciated phenomenon in both cultural and academic arenas. Despite a long research tradition concerning many aspects of migration, investigations of hormonal contributions to migratory physiology and behavior are more limited and represent a comparatively young research(More)
This study examines fuel use and metabolism in a group of long-distance migrating birds, red knots Calidris canutus (Scolopacidae), flying under controlled conditions in a wind tunnel for up to 10 h. Data are compared with values for resting birds fasting for the same time. Plasma levels of free fatty acids, glycerol and uric acid were elevated during(More)
This study investigated the postexercise metabolism of six species of free-living, night-migrating passerine birds (European robin, pied flycatcher, wheatear, redstart, blackcap, and garden warbler). The birds were caught during autumn migration out of their nocturnal flight, and their metabolism changed from a fasting, highly active state to a fasting,(More)
Behavioral and physiological responses to unpredictable changes in environmental conditions are, in part, mediated by glucocorticoids (corticosterone in birds). In polymorphic species, individuals of the same sex and age display different heritable melanin-based color morphs, associated with physiological and reproductive parameters and possibly alternative(More)
During long-term fasting at rest, protein utilization is maintained at low levels until it increases at a threshold adiposity. This study examines 1) whether such a shift in energy substrate use also occurs during endurance exercise while fasting, 2) the role of corticosterone, and 3) the adrenocortical response to an acute stressor. Ten species of(More)
The concentration of circulating glucocorticoids is regulated in response to environmental and endogenous conditions. Total circulating corticosterone, the main glucocorticoid in birds, consists of a fraction which is bound to corticosterone-binding globulins (CBG) and a free fraction. There is increasing evidence that the environment modulates free(More)
Stress generated by humans on wildlife by continuous development of outdoor recreational activities is of increasing concern for biodiversity conservation. Human disturbance often adds to other negative impact factors affecting the dynamics of vulnerable populations. It is not known to which extent the rapidly spreading free-riding snow sports actually(More)
Little is known about whether adaptations to an insular life also involve adaptations in basal corticosterone levels or in the adrenocortical stress response, thus being part of a genetically based island syndrome. However, differences in corticosterone between island and mainland may also be a direct phenotypic response to differences in environmental(More)
Long-distance migrants regularly pass ecological barriers, like the Sahara desert, where extensive fuel loads are necessary for a successful crossing. A central question is how inexperienced migrants know when to put on extensive fuel loads. Beside the endogenous rhythm, external cues have been suggested to be important. Geomagnetic information has been(More)