Changes in the physiological health of species are an essential indicator of changing conditions and environmental challenges. Reponses to environmental challenges can often induce stress, influence physiology, and change metabolism in organisms. Here we tested blood chemistry parameters indicative of stress and metabolic activity using an i-STAT point-of-care blood analyzer in seven populations of free-ranging rock iguanas exposed to varying levels of tourism and supplemental feeding. We found significant differences in blood chemistry (glucose, oxygen, carbon dioxide, hematocrit, hemoglobin, calcium, potassium, and biliverdin levels) among populations exposed to varying levels of tourism, and also some variation between sexes and reproductive states. However, different variables are not directly related with one another, suggesting that the causal physiological pathways driving tourism-induced differences are influenced by mechanisms that are not detected by common analyses of blood chemistry. Future work should investigate upstream regulators of these factors affected by tourism. Regardless, these blood metrics are known to be both stress-sensitive and related to metabolic activity, suggesting exposure to tourism and associated supplemental feeding by tourists are generally driven by stress-related changes in blood chemistry, biliverdin, and metabolism.
Author ORCID Identifier
Susannah French https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8923-9728
NSF, Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS)
Utah State University
NSF, Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) 1752908
Collaborative Research: The interplay between host diet, immunity, reproduction, and the microbiome across an anthropogenic-disturbed landscape
Brief description of collection and processing of data: Physiological blood parameters of free-living rock iguanas
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
French, S. (2022). Blood Chemistry and Biliverdin Differ According to Reproduction and Tourism in a Free-Living Lizard [Data set]. Utah State University. https://doi.org/10.26078/7TJP-YP51
Additional FilesReadMe_Template.txt (4 kB)
Frenchetal_istat data 2019.csv (23 kB)