Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Lynn B Martin, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Earl McCoy, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jason Rohr, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Toru Shimizu, Ph.D.


immunoredistribution, corticosterone, glucocorticoids, stress, immunocompetence


Implantation of dental sponges under the skin of lab rodents has been used to evaluate whether acute stress enhances leukocyte infiltration to a surgical site. First, I replicated this technique in house sparrows to test whether transient stressors cause similar immunoredistribution (i.e., movement of immune cells out of circulation and to the periphery) in a wild animal. As placement into captivity alone may serve as a stressor to wild animals, I compared sponge infiltration over different periods of captivity. Second, I compared how domestication affects immunoredistribution by comparing results of wild sparrows to domesticated zebra finches. Zebra finches were chosen because they are widely used for evolutionary ecology research, and they share a similar diet and comparable body size and lifestyle to house sparrows. Birds were randomly assigned to treatment groups of either a restraint stressor or no restraint stressor treatment prior to implantation. In the first chapter birds were also divided into one of three groups: sponge implantation at capture, after short duration captivity (1 or 2 days), or long duration captivity (1 month). Total leukocyte infiltration into the sponge varied among captive groups. Birds implanted at capture had greater leukocyte infiltration to the sponge compared to birds kept in captivity 1 or 2 days before implantation. Birds placed into captivity for 1 month before implantation showed similar sponge infiltration relative to the immediate implant group. However, time in captivity altered the dominant type of leukocytes present in the sponge at explant with lymphocytes decreasing with time in captivity and granulocytes increasing. Domestication affected cell infiltrates with domesticated species exhibiting more infiltration of heterophils and monocytes while wild house sparrows exhibited more infiltration of lymphocytes and basophils. My data indicates that in house sparrows, time in captivity affects the magnitude and character of immune responses to surgery and more importantly data are suggestive of immunoredistribution. My data also indicate that domestication has an impact on infiltrating cell types.