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Title: Onset of Daily Activity in a Female Songbird Is Related to Peak-Induced Estradiol Levels

Research in captive birds and mammals has demonstrated that circadian (i.e., daily) behavioral rhythms are altered in response to increases in sex-steroid hormones. Recently, we and others have demonstrated a high degree of individual repeatability in peak (gonadotropin-releasing hormone [GnRH]-induced sex) steroid levels, and we have found that these GnRH-induced levels are highly correlated with their daily (night-time) endogenous peak. Whether or not individual variation in organization and activity of the reproductive endocrine axis is related to daily timing in wild animals is not well known. To begin to explore these possible links, we tested the hypothesis that maximal levels of the sex steroid hormone estradiol (E2) and onset of daily activity are related in a female songbird, the dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis). We found that females with higher levels of GnRH-induced E2 departed from their nest in the morning significantly earlier than females with lower stimulated levels. We did not observe a relationship between testosterone and this measure of onset of activity. Our findings suggest an interaction between an individual’s reproductive endocrine axis and the circadian system and variation observed in an individuals’ daily activity onset. We suggest future studies examine the relationship between maximal sex-steroid hormones and timing of daily activity onset.

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Award ID(s):
1833590 1257527 1755128
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Integrative and Comparative Biology
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 1059-1067
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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