Degree Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2009

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

Major

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

First Advisor

Carol Vleck

Abstract

Altricial bird species rely on their parents to bring food, defend the nest and to help them thermoregulate. Brood size may influence how well adults are able to provision their young. A low quality diet has been shown to have long-term developmental costs and usually results in elevated corticosterone levels, which may mediate these costs. Chicks from larger broods may experience costs from poor condition and elevated corticosterone levels. My thesis addresses the questions of how natural brood size in Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) affects parental effort, chick growth and corticosterone levels, and at what age Tree Swallow chicks respond to a handling stress. Parents increase their effort, but not enough to match brood size, and chicks from larger broods are smaller in mass, but did not exhibit elevated CORT levels. Chicks respond with elevations in CORT at all ages sampled, but younger chicks have lower stress levels of CORT.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31274/etd-180810-499

Copyright Owner

Rebecca Parsons

Language

en

Date Available

2012-04-30

File Format

application/pdf

File Size

70 pages

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