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      Use of ethanol for preserving steroid and indoleamine hormones in bird plasma.

      General and Comparative Endocrinology
      Animals, Blood Preservation, methods, veterinary, Chickens, blood, Corticosterone, Cryopreservation, Dihydrotestosterone, Estradiol, Ethanol, Hormones, Melatonin, Pilot Projects, Testosterone

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          Abstract

          Endocrinological research on wild animals inhabiting remote areas has been hampered by the need to store plasma samples at subzero temperatures. In an attempt to remedy this logistical issue, we here investigate the use of ethanol as an alternative to freezing for the preservation of steroid and indoleamine hormones in avian plasma. Known quantities of the steroids 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone (DHT), testosterone, 17beta-estradiol, corticosterone, and the indoleamine melatonin were added to a stripped pool of chicken plasma. Samples were either immediately frozen at -40 degrees C, or treated with pure ethanol. Ethanol-treated samples were either immediately frozen, or-to simulate storage conditions at various field locations-left sitting at room temperature for one to two months, or incubated at 36 degrees C for one month before all treatment groups were frozen at -40 degrees C. All samples were then analyzed by radioimmunoassay. For DHT and estradiol there were no differences among treatment groups suggesting that ethanol-treatment is as effective as immediate freezing in preserving plasma steroid concentrations. For testosterone, corticosterone and melatonin ethanol-treated samples differed significantly from immediately frozen samples suggesting that caution is needed when comparing absolute concentrations of hormones between samples preserved in different ways. However, differences among ethanol-treated samples in general were small, demonstrating the feasibility of this preservation method in the field at remote locations.

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          Exposure to ecotourism reduces survival and affects stress response in hoatzin chicks (Opisthocomus hoazin)

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            Stress, reproduction, and adrenocortical modulation in amphibians and reptiles

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              Field physiology: physiological insights from animals in nature.

              Whereas comparative physiology documents the range of physiological variation across a range of organisms, field physiology provides insight into the actual mechanisms an organism employs to maintain homeostasis in its everyday life. This requires an understanding of an organism's natural history and is prerequisite to developing hypotheses about physiological mechanisms. This review focuses on a few areas of field physiology that exemplify how the underlying physiology could not have been understood without appropriate field measurements. The examples we have chosen highlight the methods and inference afforded by an application of this physiological analysis to organismal function in nature, often in extreme environments. The specific areas examined are diving physiology, the thermal physiology of large endothermic fishes, reproductive physiology of air breathing vertebrates, and endocrine physiology of reproductive homeostasis. These areas form a bridge from physiological ecology to evolutionary ecology. All our examples revolve around the central issue of physiological limits as they apply to organismal homeostasis. We view this theme as the cornerstone of physiological analysis and supply a number of paradigms on homeostasis that have been tested in the context of field physiology.
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