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Haematological Traits Co-Vary With Migratory Status, Altitude and Energy Expenditure: A Phylogenetic, Comparative

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Graduate student (PhD)
Final version published as: 

Cosco, Theodore & Kok, Almar & Wister, Andrew & Howse, Kenneth. (2019). Conceptualising and operationalising resilience in older adults. Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine. 7. 90-104. 10.1080/21642850.2019.1593845. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-42921-4

Date created: 
Animal physiology

Aerobic capacity is assumed to be a main predictor of workload ability and haematocrit (Hct) and haemoglobin (Hb) have been suggested as key determinants of aerobic performance. Intraspecific studies have reported increases in Hct and Hb in response to increased workload. Furthermore, Hct and Hb vary markedly among individuals and throughout the annual cycle in free-living birds and it has been suggested that this variation reflects adaptive modulation of these traits to meet seasonal changes in energy demands. We used a comparative dataset of haematological traits, measures of metabolic rate (57 species), and life-history traits (160 species) to test several hypotheses for adaptive variation in haematology in relation to migration and altitude. We then extended these general ideas to test relationships between Hct and basal metabolic rate, daily energy expenditure and activity energy expenditure, using the 57 species that we have metabolic rate information for. We found that at the interspecific level, full migrants have higher Hct and Hb than partial migrants and non-migrants, and that altitude is positively correlated with Hb but not Hct. Hct is positively associated with activity energy expenditure (energy spent specifically on costly activities), suggesting that haematological traits could be adaptively modulated based on life-history traits and that Hct is a potential physiological mediator of energetic constraint.

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