Publication
Title
Physiological stress response to urbanisation differs between native and invasive squirrel species
Author
Abstract
Novel pressures derived from urbanisation can alter native habitats and ultimately impact wildlife. Coping with such human-driven changes might induce shifts in species phenotypic traits, such as physiological responses to anthropogenic stressors. Preadaptation to face those challenges has been suggested to favour settlement and spread of invasive alien species in urbanised areas which, consequently, might respond differently than ecologically similar native species to stressors posed by urbanisation. The activation of the hypothalamicpituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the subsequent release of glucocorticoids (GCs) has been suggested to mediate responses to anthropogenic disturbance in vertebrates. Furthermore, intraspecific competition, in conjunction with stressors related to urbanisation, might affect invasive and native species physiological stress responses differently. Using a parallel pseudo-experimental study system we measured faecal glucocorticoid metabolite (FGM) concentrations of the native Eurasian red squirrel and the invasive alien Eastern grey squirrel along a rural-urban gradient and in relation to conspecific density. The two species responded differently to challenges posed by the synergic effect of urbanisation and intraspecific competition. Association of FGMs and conspecific density in native red squirrels varied between rural and suburban sites, potentially depending on differential HPA axis responses. In urban sites, this relationship did not differ significantly from that in rural and suburban ones. Conversely, invasive grey squirrels' FGMs did not vary in relation to conspecific density, nor differed along the rural-urban gradient. Improving knowledge about native and competing invasive species' physiological responses to anthropogenic stressors can support conservation strategies in habitats altered by man. Our findings suggested that the invasive squirrels might be preadapted to cope with these challenges in urbanised areas, potentially increasing their success under the future global change scenario.
Language
English
Source (journal)
The science of the total environment. - Amsterdam, 1972, currens
Publication
Amsterdam : 2024
ISSN
0048-9697 [print]
1879-1026 [online]
DOI
10.1016/J.SCITOTENV.2024.171336
Volume/pages
922 (2024) , p. 1-9
Article Reference
171336
ISI
001207368000001
Pubmed ID
38423339
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (open access)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Publication type
Subject
Affiliation
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Record
Identifier
Creation 02.05.2024
Last edited 09.05.2024
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