Meeting Abstract

102-4  Saturday, Jan. 6 14:15 - 14:30  Country Life May Not Be Stress-Free: Fecal Glucocorticoids in Yellow-Bellied Marmots along a Rural-Urban Continuum ADDIS, EA*; PRICE, K; KITTRIDGE, C; DAMBY, Z; Gonzaga University; Gonzaga University; Gonzaga University; Gonzaga University addis@gonzaga.edu

With increasing urban development, animals are being challenged by new environments to acclimate, adapt, or move in order to survive. Ecological examinations have been extensive on animal patterns associated with urbanization, but physiological studies are rarer, particularly in mammals. This study attempts to increase our understanding of how a mammal physiologically interprets its environment by measuring a proxy of allostatic load, glucocorticoids. We examined levels of fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGMs) in a species that lives in both rural and urban environments, the yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota flaviventris), along a rural-urban continuum. We hypothesized that if marmot’s allostatic load is higher in urban environments, their FGMs will be higher. However, if their allostatic load is higher in rural environments, we predicted FGMs would be higher in rural populations of marmots that urban ones. After constructing a rural-urban continuum, we found that FGMs levels were higher in adult marmots living in more rural sites and that there was no effect of the environment on FGM levels in young marmots. We discuss these results and possible future studies here.