Manuela Barry

Doctor of Philosophy, (Ecology)
Study Completed: 2011
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Shelter aggregations, social behaviour, and seasonal plasma corticosterone levels in captive and wild Duvaucel's geckos, Hoplodactylus duvaucelii

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Ms Barry explored the social behaviour of Duvaucel’s geckos using a series of experimental studies and field observations. She also documented and compared seasonal steroid hormone patterns of a wild population and a captive breeding-for-release colony to assess whether captive individuals experienced chronic stress i.e. showed a long-term elevation of stress hormone levels. Results suggest that Duvaucel’s geckos may possess a social system of high complexity: young and adults showed a year-round tendency to share shelter-sites and were able to discriminate between body scents of conspecifics in several social contexts. The hormone study provided valuable baseline data on seasonal dynamics of hormone patters and confirmed that the captive colony did not suffer from chronic stress. Ms Barry’s research delivers the first insight into the social behaviour and basic endocrinology of Duvaucel’s geckos, which is not only relevant for their conservation management but also provides a solid foundation for future research.

Professor Dianne Brunton
Dr Uri Shanas
Associate Professor Weihong Ji

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