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November 18, 2004

Journal: Auklet odor repels ectoparasites

Fairbanks, Alaska—Ph.D. student Hector D. Douglas III is the lead author of a scientific article published in a recent issue of the Journal of Chemical Ecology. The article clarifies the aldehyde chemical composition of volatile citrus-like odorants present in crested and whiskered auklets, two planktivorous seabird species abundant in the Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean.

The article shows that whiskered and crested auklets produce slightly different citrus-like odors. Crested auklets emit even-numbered aldehydes while whiskered auklets emit odd-numbered aldehydes. The article also cites evidence that the crested auklet odorant functions as a chemical defense against ectoparasites.

The research was supported with grants from the Eppley Foundation for Research, Inc., and the Angus Gavin Memorial Bird Research Fund, University of Alaska Foundation. Logistical support was also provided in part by a grant from the Center for Global Change and Arctic System Research sponsored by the Alaska Sea Grant College Program.

Interspecific differences in Aethia Spp. Auklet Odorants and Evidence for Chemical Defense Against Ectoparasites
Journal of Chemical Ecology, Vol. 30, No. 10, October 2004
Hector D. Douglas III, Jason E. Co, Tappey H. Jones, and William E. Conner

For more information contact Hector Douglas at

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