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PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e49895. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049895. Epub 2012 Nov 20.

Stress-induced tradeoffs in a free-living lizard across a variable landscape: consequences for individuals and populations.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, United States of America. leilani.lucas@usu.edu

Abstract

Current life history theory suggests that the allocation of energetic resources between competing physiological needs should be dictated by an individual's longevity and pace of life. One key physiological pathway likely to contribute to the partitioning of resources is the vertebrate stress response. By increasing circulating glucocorticoids the stress response can exert a suite of physiological effects, such as altering immune function. We investigated the effects of stress physiology on individual immunity, reproduction and oxidative stress, across an urban landscape. We sampled populations in and around St. George, Utah, examining corticosterone in response to restraint stress, two innate immune measures, reproductive output, and the presence of both reactive oxygen metabolites and antioxidant binding capacity, in populations of common side-blotched lizards (Uta stansburiana) experiencing variable levels of environmental stress. Additionally, using capture-mark-recapture techniques, we examined the relationships between these physiological parameters and population-level differences. Our results reveal elevated physiological stress corresponds with suppressed immunity and increased oxidative stress. Interestingly, urban populations experiencing the most physiological stress also exhibited greater reproductive output and decreased survival relative to rural populations experiencing less physiological stress, demonstrating a tradeoff between reproduction and life maintenance processes. Our results suggest that environmental stress may augment life history strategy in this fast-paced species, and that shifts in life history strategy can in turn affect the population at large. Finally, the urban environment poses definite challenges for organisms, and while it appears that side-blotched lizards are adjusting physiologically, it is unknown what fitness costs these physiological adjustments accrue.

PMID:
23185478
PMCID:
PMC3502225
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0049895
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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