This study is an exploration of the nutritional physiology of Gambel's quail, Callipepla gambelii, in terms of the comparison of rural and urban area populations of this gallinaceous species, and the employment of in situ study by design. The health of quail populations is of interest as a resource to recreational enthusiasts, hunters, stakeholders, as well as agencies charged with their management. Quail are the only resident small avian game species known to be native to the southwest that is depended upon by management agencies for recreational opportunities. The condition of the Gambel's quail populations determine regulatory actions with respect to recreational quailing opportunities and these quail represent a species which shows adjustment to human expansion. The combination of morphologic, physical, and plasma nutrient data gathered from samples during this study are hypothesized to show a difference between rural and urban populations of C. gambelii. The hypothesis is that urban quail will display morphological differences, and nutrient differences that are crucial to quail fitness, therefore, potential selective differences. Ground and ambient air temperatures are hypothesized to be higher in urban areas andthus these measurements were taken for site comparison. Plasma nutrient concentrations between rural and urban populations of adult male Gambel's quail were compared for potential existing variations in nutrition. The blood nutrient assays are expected to display increased plasma concentrations of constituents such as glucose, lipids, and proteins, which are known to be involved in growth, reproductive success, and general fitness in the urban quail populations. Morphological data was collected to examine the potential differences in the physical attributes of the sampled quail. A fitness advantage in male Gambel's quail living within urban areas is hypothesized to be associated with differences in plasma nutrients and morphology. The potentially differing plasma nutrients in samples of the C. gambelii in urban versus rural environments is believed to be affected by, and to indicate, differing nutrient availability. Body mass and length, chest circumference as well as skin temperatures were measured to assess potential differences in these outward physical attributes. The urban quail are hypothesized to have reproductive and/or natural selective advantages where their measured morphology may show physical size differences. Differences in the physical attributes of the male Gambel's quail that live in urban areas may be supported through measured morphologic attributes.
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