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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS - Vol. 466 - Feature article
A thick-billed murre with a geolocator (red band) weighing 0.5% of body weight. Photo: Laura McFarlane Tranquilla

Elliott KH, McFarlane-Tranquilla L, Burke CM, Hedd A, Montevecchi WA, Anderson WG


Year-long deployments of small geolocators increase corticosterone levels in murres


The uncertainty principle of wildlife biology states that it is difficult to observe the behaviour of a wild animal without affecting the behaviour one is trying to observe. While light-based geolocation has revolutionized what scientists know about animal movement, little is known about the long-term effect of the geolocation devices on the study animals. Elliott and co-workers attached geolocators weighing 0.5% of body weight to the legs of murres nesting across their latitudinal range. Birds with geolocators had higher levels of the anti-stress hormone corticosterone and lower body mass than birds without geolocators. Scientists need to be aware of the impact of equipping animals for a full year even with small devices.


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