Reduced populations of emperor geese (Chen canagica), a Bering Sea endemic, provided the need to assess plasma biochemistry values as indicators of population health. A precursory step to such an investigation was to evaluate patterns of variability in plasma biochemistry values among age, sex, and reproductive period. Plasma from 63 emperor geese was collected on their breeding grounds on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in western Alaska, USA. The geese sampled included 18 incubating adult females captured, in mid June, on their nests by using bow nets, and 30 adults and 15 goslings captured in corral traps in late July and early August, when the adults were molting their wing feathers and the goslings were 5–6 weeks old. Plasma was evaluated for 15 biochemical parameters, by comparing results among age, sex, and sampling period (incubation versus wing-feather molt). Ten of the 15 biochemical parameters assayed differed among adults during incubation, the adults during molt, and the goslings at molt, whereas sex differences were noted in few parameters.
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Vol. 40 • No. 2