Early-life maltreatment predicts adult stress response in a long-lived wild bird. Academic Article uri icon


  • Persistent phenotypic changes due to early-life stressors are widely acknowledged, but their relevance for wild, free-living animals is poorly understood. We evaluated effects of two natural stressors experienced when young (maltreatment by adults and nutritional stress) on stress physiology in wild Nazca boobies (Sula granti) 6-8 years later, an exceptionally long interval for such studies. Maltreatment as a nestling, but not nutritional stress, was associated years later with depressed baseline corticosterone in females and elevated stress-induced corticosterone concentration [CORT] in males. These results provide rare evidence of long-term hormonal effects of natural early-life stress, which may be adaptive mechanisms for dealing with future stressors.

published proceedings

  • Biol Lett

altmetric score

  • 15.9

author list (cited authors)

  • Grace, J. K., & Anderson, D. J

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Grace, Jacquelyn K||Anderson, David J

publication date

  • January 2018