Presentation Title

Effect of Proximity to Wind Turbines on Excreted Corticosterone and Testosterone in Lekking Male Greater Prairie Chickens

Advisor Information

LaReesa Wolfenbarger

Location

UNO Criss Library, Room 112

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

7-3-2014 9:45 AM

End Date

7-3-2014 10:00 AM

Abstract

Human disturbances such as wind farms potentially stimulate stress responses in wildlife. Our objective was to assess stress levels in wildlife in relation to proximity to wind turbines. We hypothesized that if wind farms induce physiological stress in prairie grouse, then levels of the stress response hormone, corticosterone (CORT), would decrease in birds as distance from turbines increased. Hormones in birds can be measured noninvasively by analyzing droppings, eliminating capture stress required for taking blood samples. We analytically and biologically validated and used a radio- and enzymo- immunoassay to measure CORT, as well as testosterone (T), in droppings of breeding male Greater Prairie Chickens (Tympanuchus cupido). We collected droppings at 15 breeding display grounds along a 25 km gradient from an established wind farm in the Nebraska Sandhills. Our analysis indicates that wind turbines do not affect stress levels or T in breeding male Greater Prairie Chickens. Further research is warranted to investigate the physiological impacts of wind farms in other landscapes, reproductive periods, and species. The results of this study provide insight for management and energy-development guidelines to protect species of conservation concern.

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Mar 7th, 9:45 AM Mar 7th, 10:00 AM

Effect of Proximity to Wind Turbines on Excreted Corticosterone and Testosterone in Lekking Male Greater Prairie Chickens

UNO Criss Library, Room 112

Human disturbances such as wind farms potentially stimulate stress responses in wildlife. Our objective was to assess stress levels in wildlife in relation to proximity to wind turbines. We hypothesized that if wind farms induce physiological stress in prairie grouse, then levels of the stress response hormone, corticosterone (CORT), would decrease in birds as distance from turbines increased. Hormones in birds can be measured noninvasively by analyzing droppings, eliminating capture stress required for taking blood samples. We analytically and biologically validated and used a radio- and enzymo- immunoassay to measure CORT, as well as testosterone (T), in droppings of breeding male Greater Prairie Chickens (Tympanuchus cupido). We collected droppings at 15 breeding display grounds along a 25 km gradient from an established wind farm in the Nebraska Sandhills. Our analysis indicates that wind turbines do not affect stress levels or T in breeding male Greater Prairie Chickens. Further research is warranted to investigate the physiological impacts of wind farms in other landscapes, reproductive periods, and species. The results of this study provide insight for management and energy-development guidelines to protect species of conservation concern.