Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


W.M. Keck Science Department

Second Department


Reader 1

Jessica L. Malisch

Reader 2

Elise Ferree

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Rights Information

© 2014 Sarah C. Osborne


Free-living vertebrates likely encounter many stressors throughout their lifetime, from fighting off a predator to coping with unpredictable weather. As a result, vertebrates will mount an acute response to the stressors. Here, we outline previous research conducted in behavioral endocrinology and stress physiology as it relates to our research. We then discuss our study with white-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys) in Tioga Pass Meadow, in which we examined how the acute stress response affects foraging behavior 24 hours after a stressor. In birds that underwent a stress series, we found there to be a significant 57% decrease in foraging behavior 24 hours following the stressor. Additionally, we found no significant difference in foraging of unstressed birds during this same time frame. Our findings suggest that the acute stress response in this species causes a reduction in foraging activity 24 hours following a stressful event.