Title
Fluctuating assymetry as an indicator of stress : paradigm or conservation tool? Fluctuating assymetry as an indicator of stress : paradigm or conservation tool?
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Publication type
article
Publication
Johannesburg ,
Subject
Biology
Source (journal)
Ostrich: journal of the Southern African Ornithological Society. - Johannesburg
Volume/pages
15(2001) , p. 44-47
ISSN
0030-6525
ISI
000171793700009
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
lndividual and population levels of fluctuating asymmetry (FA) often correlate positively with estimates of environmental and genetic stress. These relationships have promoted the widely-held belief that organisms with enhanced FA levels may act as sensitive biomonitors in natural populations under threat. However, a number of recent papers have challenged this concept by revealing major inconsistencies in the reported asymmetry-stress association. By reviewing published results from our study of patterns of bilateral trait asymmetry in seven Kenyan bird species, we test three hypotheses critical to the use of FA as stress monitor. Given the highly congruent findings across species and traits, we conclude that population FA-if accurately measured and analysed-can function as a valuable tool in conservation. We further discuss three potential causes for some of the inconsistencies reported in the literature.
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