Document Detail

Simulation of migratory flight and stopover affects night levels of melatonin in a nocturnal migrant.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15058399     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Several species of diurnal birds are nocturnal migrants. The activation of nocturnal activity requires major physiological changes, which are essentially unknown. Previous work has shown that during migratory periods nocturnal migrants have reduced night-time levels of melatonin. Since this hormone is involved in the modulation of day-night rhythms, it is a good candidate regulator of nocturnal migratory activity. We studied whether melatonin levels change when nocturnally active blackcaps (Sylvia atricapilla) are experimentally transferred from a migratory to a non-migratory state. We simulated a long migratory flight by depriving birds of food for 2 days, and a refuelling stopover by subsequently re-administering food. Such a regimen is known to induce a reduction in migratory restlessness ('Zugunruhe') in the night following food reintroduction. The experiments were performed in both autumn and spring using blackcaps taken from their breeding grounds (Sweden) and their wintering areas (Kenya). In autumn, the food regimen induced a suppression of Zugunruhe and an increase in melatonin in the night following food reintroduction. In spring, the effects of the treatment were qualitatively similar but their extent depended on the amount of body-fat reserves. This work shows that the reduction of night-time melatonin during migratory periods is functionally related to nocturnal migration, and that fat reserves influence the response of the migratory programme to food deprivation.
Leonida Fusani; Eberhard Gwinner
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society     Volume:  271     ISSN:  0962-8452     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Biol. Sci.     Publication Date:  2004 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2004-04-02     Completed Date:  2004-04-30     Revised Date:  2010-09-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101245157     Medline TA:  Proc Biol Sci     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  205-11     Citation Subset:  IM    
Max-Planck Research Centre for Ornithology, Von-der-Tann Strasse 7, 82346 Andechs, Germany.
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MeSH Terms
Adipose Tissue / physiology
Analysis of Variance
Animal Migration / physiology*
Flight, Animal / physiology*
Food Deprivation
Melatonin / metabolism*
Songbirds / metabolism,  physiology*
Reg. No./Substance:

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