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  1. Abstract

    Combined environmental stressors that an organism experiences can have both immediate and lasting consequences. In the present study, we exposed Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes) embryos to sublethal copper sulfate (CuSO4; 0, 10, and 100 ppb) in combination with different rearing temperatures (27, 30, and 33 °C) to assess acute and latent effects on development, growth, and regenerative capacity. Embryos exposed to CuSO4and/or higher temperatures hatched significantly earlier. At 4 months post‐exposure, fish exposed to low levels of CuSO4during development had higher survival, whereas fish exposed to both 100 ppb CuSO4and 33 °C temperatures had significantly lower survival. In addition, a sex‐specific effect of embryonic CuSO4exposure was observed as female mass decreased with increasing Cu dose. We also assessed caudal fin regenerative capabilities in both embryo‐exposed fish at 4 months of age and adult medaka that were exposed to 0, 10, and 100 ppb CuSO4at room temperature during a 14‐day trial. Whereas fin regeneration was unaffected by adult exposure to Cu, fish transiently exposed during embryogenesis displayed an initial increase in fin growth rate and an increased incidence of abnormal fin morphology following regrowth. Collectively, these data suggest that developmental Cu exposure has the potential to exert long‐lasting impacts to organismal growth, survival, and function.Environ Toxicol Chem2022;41:748–757. © 2021 SETAC

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  2. Abstract

    The mechanisms connecting environmental conditions to plasticity in biological aging trajectories are fundamental to understanding individual variation in functional traits and life history. Recent findings suggest that telomere biology is especially dynamic during early life stages and has long‐term consequences for subsequent reproduction and survival. However, our current understanding is mostly derived from studies investigating ecological and anthropogenic factors separately, leaving the effects of complex environmental interactions unresolved. American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) are long‐lived apex predators that rely on incubation temperature during a discrete period during development and endocrine cues to determine sex, making them especially vulnerable to current climatic variability and exposure to anthropogenic contaminants interfering with hormone function. Here, we combine field studies with a factorial design to understand how the developmental environment, along with intrinsic biological variation contribute to persistent telomere variation. We found that exposure to a common endocrine disrupting contaminant, DDE, affects telomere length, but that the directionality is highly dependent upon incubation temperature. Variation in hatchling growth, underlies a strong clutch effect. We also assess concentrations of a panel of glucocorticoid hormones and find that contaminant exposure elicits an increase in circulating glucocorticoids. Consistent with emerging evidence linking stress and aging trajectories, GC levels also appear to trend with shorter telomere length. Thus, we add support for a mechanistic link between contaminants and glucocorticoid signalling, which interacts with ecological aspects of the developmental environment to alter telomere dynamics.

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  3. Abstract

    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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