Adrenocortical function of Arctic-breeding glaucous gulls in relation to persistent organic pollutants

Verboven, N., Verreault, J., Letcher, R.J., Gabrielsen, G.W. and Evans, N.P. (2010) Adrenocortical function of Arctic-breeding glaucous gulls in relation to persistent organic pollutants. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 166(1), pp. 25-32. (doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2009.11.013)

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Unpredictable changes in the environment stimulate the avian hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis to produce corticosterone, which induces behavioural and metabolic changes that enhance survival in the face of adverse environmental conditions. In addition to profound environmental perturbations, such as severe weather conditions and unpredictable food shortages, many Arctic-breeding birds are also confronted with chronic exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs), some of which are known to disrupt endocrine processes. This study investigated the adrenocortical function of a top predator in the Arctic marine environment, the glaucous gull (Larus hyperboreus). High concentrations of organochlorines, brominated flame retardants and metabolically-derived products in blood plasma of incubating glaucous gulls were associated with high baseline corticosterone concentrations in both sexes and a reduced stress response in males. Contaminant-related changes in corticosterone concentration occurred over and above differences in body condition and seasonal variation. Chronically high corticosterone concentrations and/or a compromised adrenocortical response to stress can have negative effects on the health of an individual. The results of the present study suggest that exposure to POPs may increase the vulnerability of glaucous gulls to environmental stressors and thus could potentially compromise their ability to adapt to the rapidly changing environmental conditions associated with climate change that are currently seen in the Arctic.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Evans, Professor Neil
Authors: Verboven, N., Verreault, J., Letcher, R.J., Gabrielsen, G.W., and Evans, N.P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:General and Comparative Endocrinology
Publisher:Elsevier BV

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