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Extramural Research

Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

The Influence of Habitat Degradation on Adult Reproductive Physiology and Nestling Quality in The Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria Citrea)

EPA Grant Number: F5F21851
Title: The Influence of Habitat Degradation on Adult Reproductive Physiology and Nestling Quality in The Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria Citrea)
Investigators: Beck, Michelle L.
Institution: Washington State University
EPA Project Officer: Just, Theodore J.
Project Period: September 1, 2005 through August 31, 2008
Project Amount: $104,237
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2005)
Research Category: Academic Fellowships

Description:

Objective:

The purpose of this study is to determine if habitat degradation causes physiological stress or reduces immunocompetence of nestling and adult Prothonotary warblers. Additionally, I will determine if adult quality differs between disturbed and undisturbed habitats by examining variation is plumage ornamentation and age of adults and settlement patterns. I will use this information to determine the relative importance of adult and habitat quality on the stress and immune responses.

Approach:

In adults, I will address these questions by monitoring basal and induced corticosterone concentrations and experimentally challenging the humoral and cell mediated immune responses. I will attempt to tease apart the effect of individual genetic quality from the effect of habitat type by examining plumage coloration and age and their relationship to the stress and immune responses. I will also examine settlement patterns to determine if more ornamented individuals are preferentially selecting territories in undisturbed sites. I will examine nestling quality by monitoring basal corticosterone concentrations and challenging the cell mediated immune response. I will cross-foster nestlings between disturbed and pristine sites to distinguish between the effects of habitat quality and parental quality.

Expected Results:

I predict that adults and nestlings in disturbed habitat will have higher corticosterone concentrations and reduced immunocompetence compared to those in relatively undisturbed areas. I predict that adult quality will relate to settlement patterns with more ornamented adults settling in undisturbed areas. Cross-fostering nestlings should allow me to determine the relative importance of adult and habitat quality in the stress and immune responses of nestlings.

Supplemental Keywords:

stress response, habitat quality, immunocompetence, Prothonotary warbler, plumage coloration, settlement patterns,, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Habitat, Environmental Monitoring, Ecology and Ecosystems, habitat dynamics, habitat use, habitat loss, avian habitat quality, habitat disturbance, Prothonotary Warbler, habitat fragmentation, avian community dynamics, environmental stress, conservation biology, nusery habitat, habitat population structure

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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