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Variation in body condition indices of crimson finches by sex, breeding stage, age, time of day, and year

Milenkaya, Olga, Weinstein, Nicole, Legge, Sarah and Walters, Jeffrey R. (2013). Variation in body condition indices of crimson finches by sex, breeding stage, age, time of day, and year. Conservation Physiology,1(1):1-14.

Document type: Journal Article
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IRMA ID 82057923xPUB610
Title Variation in body condition indices of crimson finches by sex, breeding stage, age, time of day, and year
Author Milenkaya, Olga
Weinstein, Nicole
Legge, Sarah
Walters, Jeffrey R.
Journal Name Conservation Physiology
Publication Date 2013
Volume Number 1
Issue Number 1
ISSN 2051-1434   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 1
End Page 14
Total Pages 14
Place of Publication United Kingdom
Publisher Oxford University Press
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract Body condition indices are increasingly applied in conservation to assess habitat quality, identify stressed populations before they decline, determine effects of disturbances, and understand mechanisms of declines. To employ condition indices in this manner, we need first to understand their baseline variability and sources of variation. Here, we used crimson finches (Neochmia phaeton), a tropical passerine, to describe the variation in seven commonly used condition indices by sex, age, breeding stage, time of day, and year. We found that packed cell volume, haemoglobin, total plasma protein, and scaled mass were all significantly affected by an interaction between sex and breeding stage. Furcular fat varied by sex and breeding stage and also trended by year, scaled mass showed a positive trend with age and varied by time of day, and haemoglobin additionally varied by year. Pectoral muscle scores varied and heterophil to lymphocyte ratio trended only by year. Year effects might reflect a response to annual variation in environmental conditions; therefore, those indices showing year effects may be especially worthy of further investigation of their potential for conservation applications. Pectoral muscle scores and heterophil to lymphocyte ratio may be particularly useful due to the lack of influence of other variables on them. For the other indices, the large variation that can be attributed to individual covariates, such as sex and breeding stage, suggests that one should not interpret the physiological condition of an individual as measured by these indices from their absolute value. Instead, the condition of an individual should be interpreted relative to conspecifics by sex, breeding stage, and possibly age.
Keywords Body condition
Crimson finch
Habitat quality
Heterophil to lymphocyte ratio
Neochmia phaeton
DOI   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
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Additional Notes This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Description for Link Link to CC Attribution 3.0 License

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