Meeting Abstract

114.2  Saturday, Jan. 7  Developmental stress: morphological, physiological, and behavioral consequences in the zebra finch CRINO, O.L.*; KLAASSEN VAN OORSCHOT, B.; TOBALSKE, B.W.; BREUNER, C.W.; University of Montana; University of Montana; University of Montana; University of Montana

Animals exposed to stress during development experience sustained morphological, physiological, and behavioral consequences. Among other effects, developmental stress sensitizes neural circuits that direct how an animal will respond to stressors as an adult. By increasing the sensitivity of animals to stressors, developmental stress can track through an animal’s lifetime affecting it at multiple life-history stages. Although the effects of developmental stress are well studied, few experiments evaluate performance measures across multiple systems or multiple life-history stages. Using the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) as a model system, we evaluated the effects of developmental stress using morphological, physiological, and behavioral metrics. We fed nestlings corticosterone (CORT; the dominant avian glucocorticoid) dissolved in peanut oil for 16 days during the nestling period (12- 28 days post-hatch). CORT treatment during development significantly reduced juvenile body size, but enhanced learning. We are currently examining how developmental stress affects flight performance, endogenous CORT secretion, and corticosteroid binding globulin capacity. Taken together, these data will provide an integrated examination of how developmental stress tracks across multiple life-history stages and provide insight into the fitness consequences of developmental stress. NSF IOS-0923606.