Hair cortisol concentration in Siberian flying squirrels is unrelated to landscape and social factors

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/302818

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Santangeli , A , Wistbacka , R , Morosinotto , C & Raulo , A 2019 , ' Hair cortisol concentration in Siberian flying squirrels is unrelated to landscape and social factors ' , The science of nature - Naturwissenschaften , vol. 106 , no. 5-6 , 29 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s00114-019-1624-y

Title: Hair cortisol concentration in Siberian flying squirrels is unrelated to landscape and social factors
Author: Santangeli, Andrea; Wistbacka, Ralf; Morosinotto, Chiara; Raulo, Aura
Other contributor: University of Helsinki, Zoology

Date: 2019-06
Language: eng
Number of pages: 10
Belongs to series: The science of nature - Naturwissenschaften
ISSN: 0028-1042
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00114-019-1624-y
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/302818
Abstract: Intact ecosystems are being lost or modified worldwide, and many animal species are now forced to live in altered landscapes. A large amount of scientific studies have focused on understanding direct effects of habitat alterations on species occurrence, abundance, breeding success, and other life history aspects. Much less attention has been placed on understanding how habitat alterations impact on the physiology of species, e.g., via elevated chronic stress when living in an altered landscape. Here, we quantify the effects of individual age and sex, as well as effects of landscape and social factors on chronic stress of an endangered forest specialist species, the Siberian flying squirrel Pteromys volans. We collected hair samples over 2years from across 192 flying squirrels and quantified their chronic stress response via cortisol concentrations. We then ran statistical models to relate cortisol concentrations with landscape and social factors. We show that cortisol concentrations in flying squirrels are neither affected by habitat amount and connectivity, nor by the density of conspecifics in the area. We however found that cortisol concentration was higher in adults than in pups, and in males compared with females. Lack of an effect of environmental factors on cortisol concentrations may indicate low physiological sensitivity to alterations in the surrounding environment, possibly due to low densities of predators that could induce stress in the study area. Further research should focus on possible effects of varying predator densities, alone and in interaction with landscape features, in shaping chronic stress of this and other species.
Subject: Animal physiology
Stress hormones
Land-use change
Conservation physiology
Habitat fragmentation
Boreal forest
STRESS RESPONSES
PTEROMYS-VOLANS
MATING SYSTEM
SEX
POPULATION
MOVEMENTS
REPRODUCTION
LEGISLATION
PATTERNS
HORMONES
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
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