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Stephanie Marie Dloniak

University of California - Berkeley

Sponsor: Kay E. Holekamp, Ph.D. in collaboration with Dr. Steve Glickman

"Evaluation of Hormonal Status, Parasite Load, and Behavioral Correlates in Free-ranging Spotted Hyenas (Crocuta crocuta)."

This proposal describes a three-year graduate project concerned with behavioral endocrinology of free-ranging spotted hyenas, Crocuta crocuta. The project has three main goals, which are to 1) validate various steroid hormone assays for use with spotted hyenas, 2) use these assays to evaluate hormonal status in free-ranging spotted hyenas using over 7 years of archived fecal samples, and 3) examine the relationships between hormonal status, fecal parasite loads, and agonistic behavior. The proposed non-invasive research will yield rare and valuable comparative data revealing how physiological factors interact to shape mammalian behavior, and will enhance understanding of carnivore behavior and endocrinology to facilitate decision making by wildlife conservation managers.