Presentation Title

Linking Physiology to Population Cycles in Norwegian Voles: Preliminary Data for a New Look at the Charnov-Finerty Hypothesis

Advisor Information

James Wilson

Location

Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library

Presentation Type

Poster

Start Date

7-3-2014 1:00 PM

End Date

7-3-2014 4:00 PM

Abstract

This project measures the levels of stress hormones (corticosterone and testosterone) in unstressed wild rodents. The aim of this project was to gather preliminary data for use in a future NSF grant proposal and validate a potentially new way of trapping to obtain fecal and urine samples from wild rodents. Voles were specifically targeted but any rodent species captured was sampled. The new trapping method used a modified plastic metabolic chamber that had a trap door installed to allow rodents entry into the chamber. Once trapped, the rodent would stand on the wire floor placed in the bottom half of the chamber, which allows urine and feces to fall below and collect in sample tubes. The chamber was placed, with the bottom half buried, in a natural tall grass prairie to allow easy access to the chamber. Along with the modified metabolic, chamber, thirty Sherman live-traps were set and fecal samples were taken from them. Levels of the two hormones will be measured in the feces samples using immune-assay kits. We expect differences in hormone levels between rodent species, and because the method of collection does not involve direct handling, we expect stress hormone levels in feces to reflect natural stress levels. Once validated, this methodology can be used to measure innate stress levels in rodent populations experiencing various levels of overcrowding.

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Mar 7th, 1:00 PM Mar 7th, 4:00 PM

Linking Physiology to Population Cycles in Norwegian Voles: Preliminary Data for a New Look at the Charnov-Finerty Hypothesis

Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library

This project measures the levels of stress hormones (corticosterone and testosterone) in unstressed wild rodents. The aim of this project was to gather preliminary data for use in a future NSF grant proposal and validate a potentially new way of trapping to obtain fecal and urine samples from wild rodents. Voles were specifically targeted but any rodent species captured was sampled. The new trapping method used a modified plastic metabolic chamber that had a trap door installed to allow rodents entry into the chamber. Once trapped, the rodent would stand on the wire floor placed in the bottom half of the chamber, which allows urine and feces to fall below and collect in sample tubes. The chamber was placed, with the bottom half buried, in a natural tall grass prairie to allow easy access to the chamber. Along with the modified metabolic, chamber, thirty Sherman live-traps were set and fecal samples were taken from them. Levels of the two hormones will be measured in the feces samples using immune-assay kits. We expect differences in hormone levels between rodent species, and because the method of collection does not involve direct handling, we expect stress hormone levels in feces to reflect natural stress levels. Once validated, this methodology can be used to measure innate stress levels in rodent populations experiencing various levels of overcrowding.