More omnivore dilemmas: Seasonal diet changes can cause reproductive stress in primates
When seasonal changes affect food availability, omnivores like blue monkeys adapt by changing their diets, but such nutritional changes may impact female reproduction, according to research published November 28 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Steffen Foerster from Barnard College, and colleagues from Columbia University and the Smithsonian Institution. The authors found that levels of fecal glucocorticoids (fGC), a stress marker, increased when female monkeys shifted their diet towards lower quality fallback foods, whereas the levels decreased when the monkeys had access to preferred foods like insects, fruits and young leaves.
They also found that lactating females and those in the later stages of pregnancy showed greater increases in the stress marker than females who were not in these stages of reproduction. According to the authors, their results suggest that these seasonal changes in food availability may affect inter-birth intervals in these primates, and also affect the timing of infant independence from mothers.
Foerster adds, ""While it was interesting to find that even subtle changes in dietary composition may have strong effects on female reproductive decisions, it is equally noteworthy that social stress was almost entirely absent from blue monkey societies. Our study makes the point that integrating behavioral, ecological, and hormonal measures can reveal adaptive behavioral and reproductive strategies that would otherwise be difficult to discern."
Source: Public Library of Science
- More omnivore dilemmas: Seasonal diet changes can cause reproductive stress in primatesfrom Science DailyWed, 28 Nov 2012, 20:00:31 EST
- More omnivore dilemmas: Seasonal diet changes can cause reproductive stress in primatesfrom PhysorgWed, 28 Nov 2012, 17:00:42 EST
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Learn more about
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- New technique takes cues from astronomy and ophthalmology to sharpen microscope images
- 'Dressed' laser aimed at clouds may be key to inducing rain, lightning
- Declining catch rates in Caribbean green turtle fishery may be result of overfishing
- Wolves at the door: Study finds recent wolf-dog hybridization in Caucasus region
- Science: There's something ancient in the icebox
- Criticism of violent video games has decreased as technology has improved, gamers age
- Hummingbirds' 22-million-year-old history of remarkable change is far from complete
- Ancient 'spider' images reveal eye-opening secrets
- New research finds 'geologic clock' that helps determine moon's age
- Research clarifies health costs of air pollution from agriculture