Overall good health and reproductive success can be impaired by the effects of excessive secretion of glucocorticoids, or "stress hormones", on the body. In this study, SEZARC is measuring fecal glucocorticoid metabolite (FGM) and progestin concentrations across the year in two Montana bison herds, one of which cohabitates with wolves. Data to date indicate that the time of year, especially the months during which female bison are nursing their calves, has a profound effect on FGM concentrations whereas the presence of wolves has a relatively minor effect. There has been no apparent negative effect of the current FGM levels on progestin concentrations. These data illustrate the importance of context in these types of "stress" studies where multiple factors can be at play. In the next phase of the study, we will continue to investigate bison managed with and without the presence of wolves, and we will investigate how different bison management strategies might affect FGM concentrations.
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