Eye region surface temperature reflects both energy reserves and circulating glucocorticoids in a wild bird

Jerem, P. , Jenni-Eiermann, S., Herborn, K., McKeegan, D. , McCafferty, D. J. and Nager, R. G. (2018) Eye region surface temperature reflects both energy reserves and circulating glucocorticoids in a wild bird. Scientific Reports, 8, 1907. (doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-20240-4) (PMID:29382942) (PMCID:PMC5789886)

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Body temperature of endotherms shows substantial within- and between-individual variation, but the sources of this variation are not fully understood in wild animals. Variation in body temperature can indicate how individuals cope with their environment via metabolic or stress-induced effects, both of which may relate to depletion of energy reserves. Body condition can reflect heat production through changes to metabolic rate made to protect energy reserves. Additionally, changes in metabolic processes may be mediated by stress-related glucocorticoid secretion, which is associated with altered blood-flow patterns that affect regional body temperatures. Accordingly, both body condition and glucocorticoid secretion should relate to body temperature. We used thermal imaging, a novel non-invasive method of temperature measurement, to investigate relationships between body condition, glucocorticoid secretion and body surface temperature in wild blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus). Individuals with lower body condition had lower eye-region surface temperature in both non-breeding and breeding seasons. Eye-region surface temperature was also negatively correlated with baseline circulating glucocorticoid levels in non-breeding birds. Our results demonstrate that body surface temperature can integrate multiple aspects of physiological state. Consequently, remotely-measured body surface temperature could be used to assess such aspects of physiological state non-invasively in free-living animals at multiple life history stages.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McCafferty, Dr Dominic and Jerem, Mr Paul and McKeegan, Dr Dorothy and Herborn, Dr Katherine and Nager, Dr Ruedi
Authors: Jerem, P., Jenni-Eiermann, S., Herborn, K., McKeegan, D., McCafferty, D. J., and Nager, R. G.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Scientific Reports
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):2045-2322
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Scientific Reports 8:1907
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
5887510BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership 2012George BaillieBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/J013854/1MVLS COLLEGE SENIOR MANAGEMENT