Measuring Stress Responses in Wild Animals
This chapter presents some of the techniques that researchers have used to study stress in wild free-living animals. The major focus is on frequently used techniques such as capture stress, negative feedback, fecal glucocorticoids, heterophil to lymphocyte ratios, and glucocorticoid implants to assess corticosteroid function, and heart rate measurements to assess sympathetic nervous system function. Also included is discussion on various emerging techniques such as hair and feather glucocorticoids, fluctuating asymmetry, and so on. One theme that should be apparent is that studying stress in field contexts is not easy. This probably should not be a surprise because the stress response is exquisitely sensitive to perceived or actual disturbances to an animal. Perhaps the biggest surprise should be that these stress responses can be studied in free-living animals at all.
Keywords: capture stress, negative feedback, fecal glucocorticoids, heart rate, heterophil to lymphocyte ratio, glucocorticoid implants, hair glucocorticoids, feather glucocorticoids, fluctuating asymetry
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