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Study points to role of antioxidant balance in bird health and reproduction
Date:2/25/2010

oids from the bodies of insects they eat, which get the antioxidants from feeding on plants, McGraw said.

"The biggest contribution of this study is the fresh perspective on assessing each animal's dynamic changes in antioxidant status over time, as opposed to just before or after a given task in life," McGraw explained. "So many variables like diet, genetics and exercise contribute to how good or healthy an individual is at any snapshot in time, and we believe we took a more holistic view of a swallow's condition by longitudinally tracking their own performance over the season."

Interestingly, McGraw equated this to how humans are coming to view personal wellness programs.

"Humans also are incredibly variable in their diet, genetics and health, so rather than focus on a universal goal and set-point to achieve for all people, a more reasonable assessment might be to focus on the fluxes and improvements of individuals," McGraw explained.

He added that these findings dovetail nicely with previous work on barn swallows. Safran and McGraw have shown that barn swallows with more intensely colored feathers circulate more carotenoids through their bodies and reproduce the most in a year.


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Contact: Skip Derra
skip.derra@asu.edu
480-965-4823
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert

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