Oxidative Stress and Sexual Signaling in Penguins
|Measuring the color of a gentoo pengiun's beak (Mike Polito)|
Michael Beaulieu (IPHC-DEPE)
Oxidative stress results from the imbalance between reactive oxygen species production and the antioxidant capacity. Some penguin species appear to modulate their blood plasma oxidative status by adopting different foraging strategies and feeding on krill which are rich in antioxidants. In the Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua) beak color, which acts as a sexual signal of an individual’s fitness depends on the intake in carotenoids, the main antioxidants in krill. For this project we are comparing stable isotope (as a measure of krill consumption), plasma oxidative status and beak color in breeding and non-breeding birds to determine if penguins can actively buffer age and reproductive effort induced declines in antioxidant defense and sexual signals through the increased consumption of krill.