Haematological values of three Antarctic penguins: gentoo (Pygoscelis papua), Adélie (P. adeliae) and chinstrap (P. antarcticus)
It is established that haematological and biochemical parameters provide important data to assess the physiological condition and health status of wild birds. To undertake conservation physiology or ecophysiology work, it is therefore essential to establish baseline physiological parameters and how these parameters change with age and life history events. In this work, we determined and compared baseline haematology and serum biochemistry between adults and chicks of three Antarctic penguin species of the genus Pygoscelis: gentoo (P. papua), Adélie (P. adeliae) and chinstrap (P. antarcticus). Differences in adults among species were observed in haemoglobin and biochemical parameters such as total proteins, glucose and alkaline phosphatase activity. In addition, differences between adults and chicks in haematocrit, haemoglobin, total proteins and glucose concentration were determined. Moreover, we evaluated the electrophoretic protein profiles between adults and chicks of the genus Pygoscelis, and a conserved protein pattern was observed among species and ages in the genus. Altogether, the results suggest that biochemical and haematological differences among pygoscelids may be related to the nutritional status and energetic expenditure during breeding as well as their feeding habits and development stage.
Keywords: Antarctic; haematology; physiology; Pygoscelis; penguins; serum biochemistry.
(Published: 15 June 2015)
Citation: Polar Research 2015, 34, 25718, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/polar.v34.25718
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
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Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to the Norwegian Polar Institute.