Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Inter-island differences in the corticosterone responses of North Island Saddlebacks (Philesturnus rufusater) in New Zealand do not suggest selective effects of translocation

Nigel J. Adams A D , Kevin A. Parker B , John F. Cockrem C , Dianne H. Brunton B and E. Jane Candy C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Natural Sciences, Unitec, Private Bag 92025, Auckland, New Zealand.

B Institute of Natural Sciences, Massey University, Private Bag 102904, North Shore Mail Centre, Auckland, New Zealand.

C Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

D Corresponding author. Email: nadams@unitec.ac.nz

Emu 113(1) 45-51 https://doi.org/10.1071/MU12043
Submitted: 29 May 2012  Accepted: 8 October 2012   Published: 10 January 2013

Abstract

North Island Saddlebacks (Philesturnus rufusater) have been the subject of a well-documented sequence of translocations to isolated islands around New Zealand. We measured corticosterone stress responses in North Island Saddlebacks derived from the ancestral population and from a series of three sequential translocations. Each translocation might impose a selective pressure on the founder populations of North Island Saddleback. This selective filter might favour a particular corticosterone response linked through an associated coping ability. Evidence of selection would be reflected in a progressive shift in the mean corticosterone response related to the number of sequential translocations. Mean corticosterone responses to a standardised stressor were highest in birds descended from a population subject to two sequential translocations. However, responses measured at localities representing the original source population and populations derived from one and three sequential translocations were not significantly different from each other. Accordingly, our data suggest that translocations do not necessarily cause directional selection on the stress responses of these vulnerable populations of birds.


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