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Supplementary feeding increases nestling feather corticosterone early in the breeding season in house sparrows

(2017) ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION. 7(16). p.6163-6171
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Abstract
Several studies on birds have proposed that a lack of invertebrate prey in urbanized areas could be the main cause for generally lower levels of breeding success compared to rural habitats. Previous work on house sparrows Passer domesticus found that supplemental feeding in urbanized areas increased breeding success but did not contribute to population growth. Here, we hypothesize that supplementary feeding allows house sparrows to achieve higher breeding success but at the cost of lower nestling quality. As abundant food supplies may permit both high-and low-quality nestlings to survive, we also predict that within-brood variation in proxies of nestling quality would be larger for supplemental food broods than for unfed broods. As proxies of nestling quality, we considered feather corticosterone (CORTf), body condition (scaled mass index, SMI), and tarsus-based fluctuating asymmetry (FA). Our hypothesis was only partially supported as we did not find an overall effect of food supplementation on FA or SMI. Rather, food supplementation affected nestling phenotype only early in the breeding season in terms of elevated CORTf levels and a tendency for more variable within-brood CORTf and FA. Early food supplemented nests therefore seemed to include at least some nestlings that faced increased stressors during development, possibly due to harsher environmental (e.g., related to food and temperature) conditions early in the breeding season that would increase sibling competition, especially in larger broods. The fact that CORTf was positively, rather than inversely, related to nestling SMI further suggests that factors influencing CORTf and SMI are likely operating over different periods or, alternatively, that nestlings in good nutritional condition also invest in high-quality feathers.
Keywords
REPRODUCTIVE SUCCESS, PASSER-DOMESTICUS, FLUCTUATING ASYMMETRY, BODY, CONDITION, ADRENOCORTICAL-RESPONSE, FOOD SUPPLEMENTATION, PHYSIOLOGICAL, STRESS, DEVELOPMENTAL STRESS, EGG CORTICOSTERONE, LEGGED KITTIWAKE, altricial bird, body condition, chronic stress, fluctuating asymmetry, food supplementation, laying date

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Citation

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Chicago
Salleh Hudin, Noraine, Liesbeth De Neve, Diederik Strubbe, Graham D Fairhurst, Carl Vangestel, Will J Peach, and Luc Lens. 2017. “Supplementary Feeding Increases Nestling Feather Corticosterone Early in the Breeding Season in House Sparrows.” Ecology and Evolution 7 (16): 6163–6171.
APA
Salleh Hudin, N., De Neve, L., Strubbe, D., Fairhurst, G. D., Vangestel, C., Peach, W. J., & Lens, L. (2017). Supplementary feeding increases nestling feather corticosterone early in the breeding season in house sparrows. ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION, 7(16), 6163–6171.
Vancouver
1.
Salleh Hudin N, De Neve L, Strubbe D, Fairhurst GD, Vangestel C, Peach WJ, et al. Supplementary feeding increases nestling feather corticosterone early in the breeding season in house sparrows. ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION. 2017;7(16):6163–71.
MLA
Salleh Hudin, Noraine, Liesbeth De Neve, Diederik Strubbe, et al. “Supplementary Feeding Increases Nestling Feather Corticosterone Early in the Breeding Season in House Sparrows.” ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION 7.16 (2017): 6163–6171. Print.
@article{8558466,
  abstract     = {Several studies on birds have proposed that a lack of invertebrate prey in urbanized areas could be the main cause for generally lower levels of breeding success compared to rural habitats. Previous work on house sparrows Passer domesticus found that supplemental feeding in urbanized areas increased breeding success but did not contribute to population growth. Here, we hypothesize that supplementary feeding allows house sparrows to achieve higher breeding success but at the cost of lower nestling quality. As abundant food supplies may permit both high-and low-quality nestlings to survive, we also predict that within-brood variation in proxies of nestling quality would be larger for supplemental food broods than for unfed broods. As proxies of nestling quality, we considered feather corticosterone (CORTf), body condition (scaled mass index, SMI), and tarsus-based fluctuating asymmetry (FA). Our hypothesis was only partially supported as we did not find an overall effect of food supplementation on FA or SMI. Rather, food supplementation affected nestling phenotype only early in the breeding season in terms of elevated CORTf levels and a tendency for more variable within-brood CORTf and FA. Early food supplemented nests therefore seemed to include at least some nestlings that faced increased stressors during development, possibly due to harsher environmental (e.g., related to food and temperature) conditions early in the breeding season that would increase sibling competition, especially in larger broods. The fact that CORTf was positively, rather than inversely, related to nestling SMI further suggests that factors influencing CORTf and SMI are likely operating over different periods or, alternatively, that nestlings in good nutritional condition also invest in high-quality feathers.},
  author       = {Salleh Hudin, Noraine and De Neve, Liesbeth and Strubbe, Diederik and Fairhurst, Graham D and Vangestel, Carl and Peach, Will J and Lens, Luc},
  issn         = {2045-7758},
  journal      = {ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION},
  keyword      = {REPRODUCTIVE SUCCESS,PASSER-DOMESTICUS,FLUCTUATING ASYMMETRY,BODY,CONDITION,ADRENOCORTICAL-RESPONSE,FOOD SUPPLEMENTATION,PHYSIOLOGICAL,STRESS,DEVELOPMENTAL STRESS,EGG CORTICOSTERONE,LEGGED KITTIWAKE,altricial bird,body condition,chronic stress,fluctuating asymmetry,food supplementation,laying date},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {16},
  pages        = {6163--6171},
  title        = {Supplementary feeding increases nestling feather corticosterone early in the breeding season in house sparrows},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3114},
  volume       = {7},
  year         = {2017},
}

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