Stress as an adaptation II: Does experimental cortisol supplementation affect predation risk assessment in foraging gerbils? Academic Article uri icon


  • Background: Animals are well known for trading off food and safety, and we have previously shown for Allenby's gerbil (Gerbillus andersoni allenbyi) that the intensity of this trade-off changes with energetic state. Furthermore, we have shown that concentrations of corticosteroid metabolites in desert rodents' faeces change in response to changing levels of food availability, competitor density, and moonlight. This suggests that stress hormones play an important role in mediating the trade-off of food and safety and in managing foraging. Hypotheses: Higher concentrations of the exogenous stress hormone cortisol will increase gerbils' marginal valuation of energy (MVE) and their vigilance. In general, cortisol will mediate responses to slowly changing factors associated with food and safety, but not to rapidly changing ones. Methods: In order to test these hypotheses, we manipulated …

publication date

  • January 1, 2017