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Impacts of Tourism on the Ecophysiology of the Endangered Northern Bahamian Rock Iguana (Cyclura Cychlura)

By Alison C. Webb

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Increased interest in ecotourism over recent years has led to more direct human-animal interactions and a striking concomitant increase in the provisioning of non-natural food, that may have unintended consequences for the wildlife involved. The critically endangered Northern Bahamian Rock Iguana provides a valuable model to address the potential impact of food provisioning on health as there are populations that represent a graded variation in human presence, with sites experiencing high, low, or no tourism. To assess the potential impacts of tourism on iguana physiology I first reviewed the relevant literature on iguana physiology and then performed three investigations focusing on different facets of the relationships between human presence and iguana health. First, because physiological changes related to reproduction can mask changes caused by human disturbance, I examined the endocrine profiles of steroid hormones involved in reproduction to better define this natural variation and a “post reproduction” period. Next, I examined how specific reproductive stages were related to physiological measures and found that increased reproductive investment significantly altered both energetics metabolites and measures of oxidative stress. Finally, in my third investigation, I examined the impact of tourism on iguana physiology during the post reproductive season and found that tourism and food supplementation significantly affected all measures of iguana physiology and body condition assessed.

Date 2020
Pages 159
ISBN/ISSN 9798678112170
Publisher Utah State University
Department Biology
Degree Ph.D.
Language English
University Utah State University
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal science
  2. Biology
  3. Conservation
  4. Ecology
  5. Hormones
  6. Immunity
  7. open access
  8. physiology
  9. Stress
  1. open access