Melissa Bateson

Melissa Bateson
Newcastle University | NCL · Institute of Neuroscience/ Centre for Behaviour and Evolution

MA, DPhil (Oxford)

About

178
Publications
52,569
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8,440
Citations
Citations since 2016
74 Research Items
4851 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220200400600
20162017201820192020202120220200400600
20162017201820192020202120220200400600
20162017201820192020202120220200400600

Publications

Publications (178)
Article
Due to the effects of global warming, there is a predicted increase in the frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves in the future. Little is known of how this could affect the welfare of broiler chickens. Sixty-four broiler chickens were subjected to either high heat stress (HHS; 32oC, 70% RH for 3 h), moderate heat stress (MHS; 30oC, 70% RH...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this study was to identify the dietary-intake correlates of food insecurity in UK adults. We recruited groups of low-income participants who were classified as food insecure (n = 196) or food secure (n = 198). Participants completed up to five 24h dietary recalls. There was no difference in total energy intake by food insecurity status (...
Article
Full-text available
Birds exposed to food insecurity—defined as temporally variable access to food—respond adaptively by storing more energy. To do this, they may reduce energy allocation to other functions such as somatic maintenance and repair. To investigate this trade-off, we exposed juvenile European starlings ( Sturnus vulgaris , n = 69) to 19 weeks of either un...
Article
Full-text available
Impulsivity, in the sense of the extent rewards are devalued as the time until their realization increases, is linked to various negative outcomes in humans, yet understanding of the cognitive mechanisms underlying it is limited. Variation in the imprecision of interval timing is a possible contributor to variation in impulsivity. We use a numerica...
Article
Full-text available
Food insecurity—defined as limited or unpredictable access to nutritionally adequate food—is associated with higher body mass in humans and birds. It is widely assumed that food insecurity-induced fattening is caused by increased food consumption, but there is little evidence supporting this in any species. We developed a novel technology for measu...
Article
With the current global warming, there is a predicted increase in frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves in future. Little is known of how this could the welfare of broiler chickens. Sixty-four broiler chickens were subjected to either high heat stress (HHS; 32 °C, 70% RH for 3 h), moderate heat stress (MHS; 30 °C, 70% RH for 6 h), or norm...
Preprint
Full-text available
How do the dietary intake patterns of people exposed to food insecurity differ from those of people who are food secure? A recent study of a US sample found that food insecurity was associated with greater reliance on carbohydrate, a lower diversity of food, and more variable time gaps between eating. We examined whether these features were also pr...
Article
Full-text available
Researchers increasingly wish to test hypotheses concerning the impact of environmental or disease exposures on telomere length (TL), and use longitudinal study designs to do so. In population studies, TL is usually measured using a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR)-based method. This method has been validated by presenting a correlatio...
Article
Sixty-four broilers of a commercial strain in a 2 × 2 factorial design with two environmental conditions: normal (N; 20°C, 50% RH) or MHS (30°C, 70% RH for 6 h/day for 3 consecutive days), and two drinker treatments; standard (B; a bell drinker/pen) or additional (A; as B + two cup drinkers). Each treatment had 16 birds with half of them implanted...
Preprint
Full-text available
Just as happy people see the proverbial glass as half-full, ‘optimistic’ or ‘pessimistic’ responses to ambiguity might also reflect affective states in animals. Judgement bias tests, designed to measure these responses, are an increasingly popular way of assessing animal affect and there is now a substantial, but heterogeneous, literature on their...
Article
Just as happy people see the proverbial glass as half-full, ‘optimistic’ or ‘pessimistic’ responses to ambiguity might also reflect affective states in animals. Judgement bias tests, designed to measure these responses, are an increasingly popular way of assessing animal affect and there is now a substantial, but heterogeneous, literature on their...
Article
Full-text available
Validated measures of animal affect are crucial to research spanning numerous disciplines. Judgement bias, which assesses decision-making under ambiguity, is a promising measure of animal affect. One way of validating this measure is to administer drugs with affect-altering properties in humans to non-human animals and determine whether the predict...
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Full-text available
Longitudinal studies have sought to establish whether environmental exposures such as smoking accelerate the attrition of individuals' telomeres over time. These studies typically control for baseline telomere length (TL) by including it as a covariate in statistical models. However, baseline TL also differs between smokers and non-smokers, and tel...
Article
Full-text available
Food insecurity is associated with high body weight amongst women, but not men, in high-income countries. Previous research using food recalls suggests that the total energy intake of food-insecure women is not elevated, though macronutrient composition may differ from that of food-secure women. There is limited evidence on temporal patterns of foo...
Article
Full-text available
Experimentally inducing low subjective socioeconomic status (SSES) increases food consumption in standardized eating opportunities. Separately, food insecurity (FI) has also been shown to be associated with increased food consumption when a free eating opportunity is provided. Here, we assigned 123 adult volunteers to a low-SSES manipulation or a c...
Article
Full-text available
Smoking is associated with shorter leucocyte telomere length (LTL), a biomarker of increased morbidity and reduced longevity. This association is widely interpreted as evidence that smoking causes accelerated LTL attrition in adulthood, but the evidence for this is inconsistent. We analysed the association between smoking and LTL dynamics in 18 lon...
Article
Full-text available
Impulsivity—the extent to which a reward is devalued by the amount of time until it is realized—can be affected by an individual’s current energetic state and long-term developmental history. In European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), a previous study found that birds that were lighter for their skeletal size, and birds that had undergone greater sh...
Article
Full-text available
The qPCR method provides an inexpensive, rapid method for estimating relative telomere length across a set of biological samples. Like all laboratory methods, it involves some degree of measurement error. The estimation of relative telomere length is done subjecting the actual measurements made (the Cq values for telomere and a control gene) to non...
Data
Appendix with analytical results and additional simulations. (PDF)
Preprint
Full-text available
Food insecurity is associated with high body weight amongst women, but not men, in high-income countries. Previous research using food recalls suggests that the total energy intake of food-insecure women is not elevated, though macronutrient composition may differ from that of food-secure women. There is limited evidence on temporal patterns of foo...
Preprint
Full-text available
Validated measures of animal affect are crucial to research spanning a number of disciplines including neuroscience, psychopharmacology, and animal welfare science. Judgement bias, which assesses decision-making under ambiguity, is a promising measure of animal affect. One way of validating this measure is to induce affective states using pharmacol...
Article
Full-text available
Judgement bias tasks are designed to provide markers of affective states. A recent study of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) demonstrated modest familial effects on judgement bias performance, and found that adverse early experience and developmental telomere attrition (an integrative marker of biological age) both affected judgement bias. Oth...
Preprint
Full-text available
The qPCR method provides an inexpensive, rapid method for estimating relative average telomere length across a set of biological samples. Like all laboratory methods, it involves some degree of measurement error. The estimation of relative telomere length is done subjecting the actual measurements made (the Cq values for telomere and a control gene...
Article
Full-text available
Judgement bias tasks are designed to provide markers of affective states. A recent study of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) demonstrated modest familial effects on judgement bias performance, and found that adverse early experience and developmental telomere attrition (an integrative marker of biological age) both affected judgement bias. Oth...
Article
Full-text available
The strength of the avian stress response declines with age. A recently published study of European starlings ( Sturnus vulgaris ) found that a marker of biological age predicted the strength of the stress response even in individuals of the same chronological age. Specifically, birds that had experienced greater developmental telomere attrition (D...
Article
Full-text available
The cyclic ratio (CR) schedule is a behavioural assay developed to study feeding in rats, in which the number of operant responses required to obtain food reward (the ratio requirement) increases and then decreases in a repeating cycle. In a recent study, we used the CR schedule with European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to investigate the effects...
Article
Full-text available
Telomeres have been proposed as a biomarker that integrates the impacts of different kinds of stress and adversity into a common currency. There has as yet been no overall comparison of how different classes of exposure associate with telomeres. We present a meta-analysis of the literature relating telomere measures to stresses and adversities in h...
Article
Full-text available
Regulation of mass in small birds is based on simultaneously minimizing starvation and predation risk, but the mechanisms birds use to assess starvation risk are still debated. While we know that birds anticipate periods of unpredictable food availability/energy expenditure (e.g. the winter and night) by increasing their fat reserves, we do not kno...
Preprint
Full-text available
The responsiveness of the avian stress system declines with age. A recently published study of European starlings ( Sturnus vulgaris ) found that a marker of biological age predicted stress responsiveness even in individuals of the same chronological age. Specifically, birds that had experienced greater developmental telomere attrition showed a low...
Preprint
The responsiveness of the avian stress system declines with age. A recently published study of European starlings ( Sturnus vulgaris ) found that a marker of biological age predicted stress responsiveness even in individuals of the same chronological age. Specifically, birds that had experienced greater developmental telomere attrition showed a low...
Article
Full-text available
Food insecurity is associated with high body weight for women but not men in affluent Western societies. However, it is not currently known what behavioural or psychological mechanisms drive this association. Moreover, it is also unknown whether only current experience of food insecurity in adulthood is important, or there are lasting effects of ch...
Preprint
Full-text available
Telomeres have been proposed as a biomarker that integrates the impacts of different kinds of stress and adversity into a common currency. There has as yet been no overall comparison of how different classes of exposure associate with telomeres. We present a meta-analysis of the literature relating telomere measures to stresses and adversities in h...
Article
Full-text available
Animals require strategies for coping with periods when food is scarce. Such strategies include storing fat as a buffer, and defending the rate of energy intake by changing foraging behaviour when food becomes difficult to obtain. Storage and behavioural defence may constitute alternative strategies for solving the same problem. We would thus expec...
Data
Supporting online materials for ‘Early-life begging effort reduces adult body mass but strengthens behavioural defence of the rate of energy intake in European starlings’
Article
Full-text available
Why are some individuals more prone to gamble than others? Animals often show preferences between 2 foraging options with the same mean reward but different degrees of variability in the reward, and such risk preferences vary between individuals. Previous attempts to explain variation in risk preference have focused on energy budgets, but with limi...
Article
Full-text available
Pessimistic judgment biases, whereby humans or non-human animals interpret ambiguous information negatively, are hypothesised to be one of the suite of adaptive changes that comprise the vertebrate stress response. To test this hypothesis, we asked whether experimentally elevating levels of the glucocorticoid stress hormone, corticosterone, in broi...
Article
Full-text available
Early-life adversity is associated with increased vulnerability to depression in humans, and depression-like phenotypes in animals. However, different types of adverse experience may leave different signatures in adulthood. We experimentally manipulated the Amount of food delivered to European starling nestlings and the begging Effort required to o...
Preprint
Full-text available
Individual differences in telomere length are associated with individual differences in behaviour in humans and birds. Within the human epidemiological literature this association is assumed to result from specific behaviour patterns causing changes in telomere dynamics. We argue that selective adoption—the hypothesis that individuals with short te...
Article
Full-text available
The acute stress response functions to prioritize behavioural and physiological processes that maximize survival in the face of immediate threat. There is variation between individuals in the strength of the adult stress response that is of interest in both evolutionary biology and medicine. Age is an established source of this variation—stress res...
Article
Full-text available
Background Low childhood socioeconomic position (cSEP) is associated with poorer adult health, even after adult socioeconomic position (aSEP) is adjusted for. However, whether cSEP and aSEP combine additively or non-additively in predicting adult health is less well studied. Some evidence suggests that the combination of low cSEP and low aSEP is as...
Article
Full-text available
Dominance in socially foraging animals may be related to sex and to variation in individual quality. Individual quality may in turn reflect conditions during early development. We studied dominance in a cohort of adult European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris, that had been subject to experimental manipulations of food supply and begging effort when th...
Article
Full-text available
Telomere shortening has emerged as an important biomarker of aging. Longitudinal studies consistently find that, although telomere length shortens over time on average, there is a subset of individuals for whom telomere length is observed to increase. This apparent lengthening could either be a genuine biological phenomenon, or simply due to measur...
Data
R script to produce the described simulations
Data
Appendix?S1. Mathematical proof of Eqn?(1) for determining the annual telomere attrition.
Data
Table?S1. Data from the empirical studies analysed by Steenstrup et?al. (2013a) and in the current paper (required by R script S2).
Data
R script S2. An R script to generate the results reported in the current paper using R script S1.
Data
Fig.?S1 Descriptive statistics for the simulated distribution of true TLs in each year. (A) Mean and (B) standard deviation of true TL at each year of follow?up for the same nine scenarios depicted in Fig.?2. Results are based on 10?000 individuals per simulation.
Data
R script S1. An R function to generate and plot true and measured TLs.
Article
Heat stress in poultry is associated with an increased core body temperature (CBT) which can be fatal. Methods of estimating CBT range from the minimally invasive method of inserting a digital thermometer into the cloaca of the bird, to the implantation of a temperature recording device (e.g. a data logger) in the peritoneal cavity, a method which...
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Full-text available
Early-life adversity is associated with accelerated cellular ageing during development and increased inflammation during adulthood. However, human studies can only establish correlation, not causation, and existing experimental animal approaches alter multiple components of early-life adversity simultaneously. We developed a novel hand-rearing para...
Article
Full-text available
We reflect on the major issues raised by a thoughtful and diverse set of commentaries on our target article. We draw attention to the need to differentiate between ultimate and proximate explanation; the insurance hypothesis (IH) needs to be understood as an ultimate-level argument, although we welcome the various suggestions made about proximate m...
Article
Full-text available
To address the adaptive value of optimism/pessimism an operational definition is required. I define a behavioural decision as relatively optimistic if it is consistent with the animal having either, a higher expectation of reward, or a lower expectation of punishment (threat), than the same animal in a different state (or a different animal). Pessi...
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Full-text available
Longitudinal studies of human leucocyte telomere length often report a percentage of individuals whose telomeres appear to lengthen. However, based on theoretical considerations and empirical data, Steenstrup et al. (Nucleic Acids Research, 2013, vol 41(13): e131) concluded that this lengthening is unlikely to be a real biological phenomenon and is...
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For young birds in a nest, body size may have implications for other aspects of development such as telomere length and immune function. However, it is possible to predict associations in either direction. On the one hand, there may be trade-offs between growth and telomere maintenance, and growth and investment in immune function, suggesting there...
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Full-text available
Integrative explanations of why obesity is more prevalent in some sectors of the human population than others are lacking. Here, we outline and evaluate one candidate explanation, the insurance hypothesis (IH). The IH is rooted in adaptive evolutionary thinking: the function of storing fat is to provide a buffer against shortfall in the food supply...