The role of heart rate monitoring to assess workload during maintenance interval training in National Hunt racehorses

Quantitative assessment of racehorse workload and fitness levels can be achieved through heart rate monitoring (HRM), an established reliable indicator of workload. Using HRM can aid trainers in formulating evidence-based training regimes and evaluating individual horses’ progress during training. Despite this, HRM is not used consistently within racehorse training. This study aimed to evaluate how […]

Keeping an “Ear” to the Ground: Seismic Communication in Elephants

This review explores the mechanisms that elephants may use to send and receive seismic signals from a physical, anatomical, behavioral, and physiological perspective. The implications of the use of the vibration sense as a multimodal signal will be discussed in light of the elephant’s overall fitness and survival.

Individuals and populations: the role of long-term, individual-based studies of animals in ecology and evolutionary biology

Many important questions in ecology and evolutionary biology can only be answered with data that extend over several decades and answering a substantial proportion of questions requires records of the life histories of recognisable individuals. We identify six advantages that long-term, individual based studies afford in ecology and evolution: (i) analysis of age structure; (ii) […]

Do baseline glucocorticoids predict fitness?

Baseline glucocorticoid (cort) levels are increasingly employed as physiological indices of the relative condition or health of individuals and populations. Often, high cort levels are assumed to indicate an individual or population in poor condition and with low relative fitness (the Cort–Fitness Hypothesis). We review empirical support for this assumption, and find that variation in […]

In search of relationships between the acute adrenocortical response and fitness

The assumption that the acute response to stress is adaptive is pervasive in the literature, but there is little direct evidence regarding potential positive fitness consequences of an acute stress response. If acute glucocorticoid (GC) elevation increases lifetime reproductive success (fitness), in what contexts does this occur, and through what combination of effects on annual […]

Measuring Animal Welfare

Book reviews of 1. Stress and Animal Welfare by Broom and Johnson, 2. Animal Welfare: A Cool Eye Toward Eden by Webster.

Female kestrels gain reproductive success by choosing brightly ornamented males

Female choice with respect to male coloration, and its consequences for fitness, were studied in the European kestrel, Falco tinnunculus. In an aviary experiment, females preferred to approach bright males. Under natural conditions, bright males spent more of their time hunting than dull males. Females mated with bright males produced more offspring than those mated […]

From an animal’s point of view: Motivation, fitness, and animal welfare

The assessment and implementation of animal welfare: theory into practice.

This paper reviews the procedures and protocols necessary for the development of a practical programme for the assessment and implementation of animal welfare on farms and in other commercial situations. An effective programme must incorporate measures of both husbandry and welfare. Most current systems are based almost entirely on measures of husbandry provision, e.g. resources […]

Effects of inbreeding on reproductive success, performance, litter size, and survival in captive red wolves (Canis rufus)

Abstract 10.1002/zoo.20262.abs Captive-breeding programs have been widely used in the conservation of imperiled species, but the effects of inbreeding, frequently expressed in traits related to fitness, are nearly unavoidable in small populations with few founders. Following its planned extirpation in the wild, the endangered red wolf (Canis rufus) was preserved in captivity with just 14 […]