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Effects of an Urban Diet on Glucose, Sodium, and Osmolality in the Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura

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Prior studies of Mourning Doves have observed no changed in glucose in response to either a high fat “chow” diet or a white bread diet. In the current feeding study, we fed doves an urban diet, high in carbohydrates, fat,

Prior studies of Mourning Doves have observed no changed in glucose in response to either a high fat “chow” diet or a white bread diet. In the current feeding study, we fed doves an urban diet, high in carbohydrates, fat, and sodium, which is representative of typical American nutrition accessible to the avian population in an urbanized environment. Based on studies of other avian species that examined the effects of an urban diet on physiology, I hypothesized that doves fed an urban diet would have increased plasma glucose and sodium, which would promote an increase in plasma osmolality. This hypothesis was based on preliminary data that found birds fed an urban diet developed impaired vasodilation compared to seed diet control birds. Therefore, differences in plasma glucose, sodium, and osmolality were examined as increases may contribute to the impairment. Adult doves of both sexes were captured on the Arizona State University, Tempe campus. Doves were placed in two dietary groups: an urban diet consisting of a 50/50 ratio of French fries and nutritionally-balanced bird seed (n=7) and a control group of only the seed diet (n=6). Following the four-week diets, birds were euthanized, and cardiac plasma samples were collected from birds to measure glucose, sodium, and osmolality. There were no significant differences between the two study groups in plasma glucose concentration (p=0.445), sodium concentration (p=0.731), or osmolality (p=0.692). Sodium concentrations were signficantly more variable in birds consuming a seed diet than those that were provided the mixed French fry and seed diet (p=0.014). These results suggest that glucose, sodium, and osmolality likely do not contribute to the altered vasodilation of doves fed an urban diet and that such a diet may not be as detrimental to the doves health given their phenotypic flexibility.

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2020-05