Osmoregulatory capacity and the ability to use marine food sources in two coastal songbirds (Cinclodes: Furnariidae) along a latitudinal gradient
Cinclodes nigrofumosus and C. oustaleti are two closely related songbirds that inhabit the northern Chilean coast during the austral fall and winter.This stretch spans a dramatic north to south latitudinal gradient in rainfall and temperature. Whereas C. nigrofumosus lives exclusively on coastal environments, C. oustaleti shifts seasonally from coastal environments to inland freshwater ones. We used the δ13C of these two species’ tissues to investigate whether the reliance on marine versus terrestrial sources varied from the hyper-arid north to the wet south. We also investigated latitudinal variation in the renal traits that mediate how these birds cope with dehydration and a salty marine diet. Both species increased the incorporation of terrestrial carbon, as measured by δ13C, as terrestrial productivity increased southwards. However, C. nigrofumosus had consistently more positive (i.e. more marine) and less variable δ13C values than C. oustaleti. The osmoregulatory traits of both species varied with latitude as well. Urine osmolality decreased from extremely high values in the north to moderate values in the south, while C. nigrofumosus produced more concentrated urine than C. oustaleti. In both species, the proportion of kidney devoted to medullary tissue decreased from north to south, and kidney size increased significantly with latitude. Cinclodes nigrofumosus had larger kidneys with larger proportions of medullary tissue than C. oustaleti. C. nigrofumosus and C. oustaleti are terrestrial organisms subsidized by a rich marine environment where it is adjacent to an unproductive terrestrial. Variation in the reliance on marine food sources seems to be accompanied by adjustments in the osmoregulatory mechanisms used by these birds to cope with salt and dehydration.
Artículo de publicación SCOPUS
Quote ItemOecologia, Volumen 148, Issue 2, 2006, Pages 250-257