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What’s going on inside may explain what’s happening outside

Cara J

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Wildlife biologists often look outward at habitat and ecology to understand impacts on the species they study. A growing number of biologists are looking inward, though, to try to understand what an individual animal’s hormones can tell them about environmental factors affecting wildlife populations. In a review published in the journal BioScience, scientists looked at how the emerging field of conservation endocrinology can be used to conserve species. The field has been growing over the last 20 years, said Stephen McCormick, a senior scientist and research physiologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and the lead author of the review, and in that time, scientists have made some key advances in their understanding and in their techniques. Scientists can now measure hormones not just in blood but in scales, feathers, nails, hair, feces and urine, he said. “The real crux of the thing is, we need to more and more take examples of individuals and make predictions for populations,” McCormick said. “A lot of work at zoos or universities is interested in individual welfare of an animal, but after we learned a great deal about what hormones mean to the animal itself, I think we can start moving away from the [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/whats-going-on-inside-may-explain-whats-happening-outside/

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