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Baseline and stress-induced levels of corticosterone in male and female Afrotropical and European temperate stonechats during breeding

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Evolutionary Biology, May 2017
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  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (66th percentile)

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7 tweeters


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Baseline and stress-induced levels of corticosterone in male and female Afrotropical and European temperate stonechats during breeding
Published in
BMC Evolutionary Biology, May 2017
DOI 10.1186/s12862-017-0960-9
Pubmed ID

Beate Apfelbeck, Barbara Helm, Juan Carlos Illera, Kim G. Mortega, Patrick Smiddy, Neil P. Evans


Latitudinal variation in avian life histories falls along a slow-fast pace of life continuum: tropical species produce small clutches, but have a high survival probability, while in temperate species the opposite pattern is found. This study investigated whether differential investment into reproduction and survival of tropical and temperate species is paralleled by differences in the secretion of the vertebrate hormone corticosterone (CORT). Depending on circulating concentrations, CORT can both act as a metabolic (low to medium levels) and a stress hormone (high levels) and, thereby, influence reproductive decisions. Baseline and stress-induced CORT was measured across sequential stages of the breeding season in males and females of closely related taxa of stonechats (Saxicola spp) from a wide distribution area. We compared stonechats from 13 sites, representing Canary Islands, European temperate and East African tropical areas. Stonechats are highly seasonal breeders at all these sites, but vary between tropical and temperate regions with regard to reproductive investment and presumably also survival. In accordance with life-history theory, during parental stages, post-capture (baseline) CORT was overall lower in tropical than in temperate stonechats. However, during mating stages, tropical males had elevated post-capture (baseline) CORT concentrations, which did not differ from those of temperate males. Female and male mates of a pair showed correlated levels of post-capture CORT when sampled after simulated territorial intrusions. In contrast to the hypothesis that species with low reproduction and high annual survival should be more risk-sensitive, tropical stonechats had lower stress-induced CORT concentrations than temperate stonechats. We also found relatively high post-capture (baseline) and stress-induced CORT concentrations, in slow-paced Canary Islands stonechats. Our data support and refine the view that baseline CORT facilitates energetically demanding activities in males and females and reflects investment into reproduction. Low parental workload was associated with lower post-capture (baseline) CORT as expected for a slow pace of life in tropical species. On a finer resolution, however, this tropical-temperate contrast did not generally hold. Post-capture (baseline) CORT was higher during mating stages in particular in tropical males, possibly to support the energetic needs of mate-guarding. Counter to predictions based on life history theory, our data do not confirm the hypothesis that long-lived tropical populations have higher stress-induced CORT concentrations than short-lived temperate populations. Instead, in the predator-rich tropical environments of African stonechats, a dampened stress response during parental stages may increase survival probabilities of young. Overall our data further support an association between life history and baseline CORT, but challenge the role of stress-induced CORT as a mediator of tropical-temperate variation in life history.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 7 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 45 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 45 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 9 20%
Student > Master 9 20%
Student > Ph. D. Student 6 13%
Student > Doctoral Student 3 7%
Professor > Associate Professor 3 7%
Other 5 11%
Unknown 10 22%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 13 29%
Environmental Science 7 16%
Veterinary Science and Veterinary Medicine 4 9%
Neuroscience 4 9%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 1 2%
Other 4 9%
Unknown 12 27%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 4. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 12 June 2017.
All research outputs
of 15,920,653 outputs
Outputs from BMC Evolutionary Biology
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from BMC Evolutionary Biology
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Altmetric has tracked 15,920,653 research outputs across all sources so far. This one has received more attention than most of these and is in the 70th percentile.
So far Altmetric has tracked 2,731 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 10.5. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 54% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 272,042 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 66% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them