Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) as a measure of condition in birds

Bearhop, S., Griffiths, R., Orr, K. and Furness, R.W. (1999) Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) as a measure of condition in birds. Ecology Letters, 2(6), pp. 352-356. (doi: 10.1046/j.1461-0248.1999.00088.x)

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Haematological parameters, particularly haematocrit, are frequently used in assessing condition in birds. Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) overcomes some of the drawbacks associated with measuring haematocrits and therefore should be a better condition index. We investigated the relationship between these blood parameters and the breeding performances of great skuas Catharacta skua. As predicted from activity budgets of the sexes, male MCVs were significantly positively correlated with hatch date and the MCVs of both sexes were negatively correlated with the number of chicks fledged. No correlations existed between these breeding parameters and haematocrit. Since males provision females and chicks, they probably influence breeding performance via foraging abilities, whereas in females nutritional investment may be more important. This is the first study of a free-living/nondomesticated vertebrate population in which these kinds of relationship have been demonstrated and we conclude that MCV is a useful measure of condition.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Griffiths, Mrs Kate and Griffiths, Dr Richard and Furness, Professor Robert
Authors: Bearhop, S., Griffiths, R., Orr, K., and Furness, R.W.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Life Sciences
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Ecology Letters
ISSN (Online):1461-0248
Published Online:25 December 2001

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