News Release

Conservation endocrinology in a changing world

Peer-Reviewed Publication

American Institute of Biological Sciences

Black Rhino

image: This photograph was created in the South African bush, by a public health field investigator, and depicts a young grazing black rhinoceros, a species studied using conservation endocrinology, with its two-horned snout, and leathery, wrinkled skin. Overall, the black rhino, <em>Diceros bicornis</em>, is classified as critically endangered, with three of the subspecies having been declared extinct in 2011, by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). view more 

Credit: CDC/ Jessie Blount

The BioScience Talks podcast features discussions of topical issues related to the biological sciences.

As species rapidly adapt to altered landscapes and a warming climate, scientists and stakeholders need new techniques to monitor ecological responses and plan future conservation efforts. Writing in BioScience, Stephen McCormick of the US Geological Survey and Michael Romero of Tufts University describe the emerging field of conservation endocrinology and its growing role in addressing the effects of environmental change. The authors argue that, bolstered by the development of new field-sampling techniques, researchers working in this area are poised to make substantial contributions to the wider field of conservation biology. For this episode of BioScience Talks, Dr. McCormick describes the range of applications spawned by new research involving the endocrine system, which refers to the set of glands that deliver hormones directly to the circulatory system. These new applications span the measurement of birds' altered stress hormones in response to ecotourism to drone-collected blowhole spray from whales, which may contain hormonal clues about the species' broader health. Other applications include the monitoring of human-introduced endocrine disruptors in aquatic systems and various hormonal changes induced by urbanization, hunting, invasive species, habitat disruption, marine noise, and many other potential stressors.

To hear the whole discussion, visit this link for this latest episode of the BioScience Talks podcast.


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