Measures of oxidative state are primarily driven by extrinsic factors in a long-distance migrant

Thomas W. Bodey*, Ian R. Cleasby, Jonathan D. Blount, Freydis Vigfusdottir, Kerry Mackie, Stuart Bearhop

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Oxidative stress is a likely consequence of hard physical exertion and thus a potential mediator of life-history trade-offs in migratory animals. However, little is known about the relative importance of intrinsic and extrinsic stres-sors on the oxidative state of individuals in wild populations. We quantified the relationships between air temperature, sex, body condition and three markers of oxidative state (malondialdehyde, superoxide dismutase and total antioxidant capacity) across hundreds of individuals of a long-distance migrant (the brent goose Branta bernicla hrota) during wintering and spring staging. We found that air temperature and migratory stage were the strongest predictors of oxidative state. This emphasizes the importance of extrinsic factors in regulating the oxidative state of migrating birds, with differential effects across the migration. The significance of abiotic effects demonstrates an additional mechanism by which changing climates may affect migratory costs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20180750
Number of pages4
JournalBiology Letters
Issue number1
Early online date16 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2019


  • Antioxidants
  • Avian
  • Body mass
  • Carry-over effect
  • Reproduction


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