Spatio-temporal variation in oxidative status regulation in a small mammal.PeerJ 2019; 7:e7801P
Life-history allocation trade-offs are dynamic over time and space according to the ecological and demographical context. Fluctuations in food availability can affect physiological trade-offs like oxidative status regulation, reflecting the balance between pro-oxidant production and antioxidant capacity. Monitoring the spatio-temporal stability of oxidative status in natural settings may help understanding its importance in ecological and evolutionary processes. However, few studies have yet conducted such procedures in wild populations. Here, we monitored individual oxidative status in a wild eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus) population across the 2017 summer active period and over three study sites. Oxidative damage (MDA: Malondialdehyde levels) and non-enzymatic antioxidant levels (FRAP: Ferric reducing antioxidant power and HASC: Hypochlorous acid shock capacity) were quantified across time and space using assays optimized for small blood volumes. Our results showed an increase in oxidative damage mirrored by a decrease in FRAP throughout the season. We also found different antioxidant levels among our three study sites for both markers. Our results also revealed the effects of sex and body mass on oxidative status. Early in the active season, females and individuals with a greater body mass had higher oxidative damage. Males had higher HASC levels than females throughout the summer. This study shows that oxidative status regulation is a dynamic process that requires a detailed spatial and temporal monitoring to yield a complete picture of possible trade-offs between pro-oxidant production and antioxidant capacity.