Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




Liana Zanette

Second Advisor

Fred Longstaffe

Third Advisor

Scott MacDougall-Shackleton


Offspring condition may predict a population’s future success. We studied the effects of nutritional stress on Δ N and Δ C in juvenile Song Sparrows (Melospiza melodia) handreared under ad libitum or food-stressed conditions, and compared them to conventional measures of condition. The degree of food stress significantly altered development, causing poor condition and increased corticosterone, glucose, and anemia. Despite this, we could not detect nutritional stress as measured by Δ N or Δ C and the birds did not display increased developmental instability. 15N enrichment may require greater levels of nutritional stress than used in this experiment. Δ C analysis may be complicated by differences in endogenous amino acid formation or by differential digestion of C3 and C# dietary components. We determined Δ N and Δ C tissue-diet fractionations for blood, feathers, liver, muscle, and excreta. Liver and muscle from which lipids had been removed were significantly enriched in both N and C.



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