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Selected Publication:

Corlatti, L; Palme, R; Frey-Roos, F; Hacklander, K.
(2011): Climatic cues and glucocorticoids in a free-ranging riparian population of red deer (Cervus elaphus)
FOLIA ZOOL. 2011; 60(2): 176-180.

We measured faecal cortisol metabolites of a free-ranging riparian population of red deer to investigate potential effects of season, ambient temperature, precipitations and water level on the annual secretion pattern. Individuals may cope with environmental challenges through the secretion of stress hormones (glucocorticoids) which allows the integration of environmental change and life history traits by means of an adaptive feedback mechanism. Adaptations regard cyclic day-to-day activities, short-term environmental stressors or long-term ecological pressures. We detected a clear seasonal pattern of glucocorticoid metabolites secretion, with higher levels in winter and lower levels in summer. The model relating glucocorticoids secretion to minimum ambient temperature was the best fit to our dataset, although the observed pattern might as well be due to declining nutritional intake and reduction of metabolic rate in the cold season. We observed an improvement of the fit when stochastic events (flash flood) were included in the model, and discussed their role as potential contingent environmental stressors.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Corlatti Luca
Frey-Roos Alfred
Hackländer Klaus
BOKU Gendermonitor:

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faecal cortisol metabolites

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