Professor, Organismal Biology and Ecology and Wildlife Biology
Bachelors of Science: University of Washington, 1991
PhD: University of Washington, 1998
Animals live in rapidly changing and unpredictable environments. My research focuses on the behavioral and physiological changes that occur in response to unpredictable events (stressors), the hormonal and cellular mechanisms that underlie these changes, and the ecological repercussions of these changes for animals in their natural environment. I focus my studies on the adrenocortical response to stress, and the behavioral and cellular actions of glucocorticoids.
Field of Study
Berk, SA, JR McGettrick, WK Hansen, and CW Breuner (2016) Methodological considerations for measuring glucocorticoid metabolites in feathers. Conservation Physiology 4(1): cow020; doi:10.1093/conphys/cow020.
Hansen, WH, Bate, LJ, Landry, D., Chastel, O, Parenteau, C, Breuner, CW (2016) Feather and faecal corticosterone concentrations predict future reproductive decision in harlequin ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus) Conservation Physiology 4(1): cow015 doi: 10.1093/conphys/cow015
Lattin, CR, CW Breuner, and LM Romero (2016) Do corticosteroids delay breeding onset in free-living vertebrates?: Evidence from hormone titers, negative feedback, plasma binding proteins, enzymes and receptors. Hormones and Behavior 78:107-120
Crino, OL and CW Breuner (2015) Developmental stress: evidence for positive phenotypic and fitness effects in birds. Journal of Ornithology DOI: 10.1007/s10336-015-1236-z
Zylberberg, M, EP Derryberry, CW Breuner, EA Macdougall-Shackleton, JM Cornelius, and TP Hahn (2015) Haemoproteus infected birds have increased lifetime reproductive success Parasitology 142:1033-1043
Crino, OL, CT Prather, SC Driscoll, JM Good, and CW Breuner (2014) Developmental stress increases reproductive success in male zebra finches Proceedings of the Royal Society, B 281:20141266; http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.1266; this paper was highlighted at ScienceNews.org: https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/scicurious/stressful-youth-makes-devoted-finch-dad
Crino, OL, SC Driscoll, R Ton, and CW Breuner (2014) Corticosterone exposure during development improves performance on a novel foraging task in zebra finches. Animal Behavior 91:27-32
Cornelius, JM, M Zylberberg, CW Breuner, and TP Hahn (2014) Assessing the role of reproduction and stress in the spring emergence of Haematozoan parasites in birds. Journal of Experimental Biology 217:841-849
Crino, OL, SC Driscoll, and CW Breuner (2014) Developmental stress has sustained but not lifelong effects on body size and total and free corticosterone responses in the zebra finch. General and Comparative Endocrinology 196:123-129
Patterson, SH, TP Hahn, JM Cornelius, and CW Breuner (2014) Natural selection and glucocorticoid physiology. Journal of Evolutionary Biology doi: 10.1111/jeb.12286
Cornelius, JM, T Boswell, S. Jenni-Eiermann, CW Breuner, M Ramenofsky (2013) Contributions of endocrinology to the migration life history of birds General and Comparative Endocrinology190; 47-60
Crino, O, EE Johnson, JL Blickley, GL Patricelli*, and CW Breuner* (2013) The effects of experimentally elevated traffic noise on nestling white-crowned sparrow physiology, immune function and life-history Journal of Experimental Biology 216; 2055-2062 *co-principal investigators
Breuner, CW, RS Sprague, SH Patterson, and HA Woods (2013) Environment, Physiology and Behavior: can birds use barometric pressure to predict storms? Journal of Experimental Biology 216:1982-1990; doi:10.1242/jeb.081067; Inside JEB column concerning this research: doi: 10.1242/jeb.088740
Breuner, CW, B Delehanty and R Boonstra (2013). Current problems in quantifying stress in natural populations of vertebrates: total CORT is not good enough. Functional Ecology 27: 24-36; DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.12016
Cornelius, J., C Breuner and T Hahn (2012). Coping with the extremes: Stress physiology varies among winter and summer in breeding opportunists. Biology Letters 8:312-315 doi:10.1098/rsbl.2011.0865
Lattin, CR, K Waldron-Francis, JW Richardson, R de Bruijn, CM Bauer, CW Breuner and LM Romero (2012). Pharmacological characterization of intracellular glucocorticoid receptors in nine house sparrow tissues. General and Comparative Endocrinology 179: 214-220
Crino, OL, B Klaassen Van Oorschot, Johnson, EE, JL Malisch and CW Breuner (2011) Proximity to a high traffic road: Glucocorticoid and life history consequences for nestling white-crowned sparrows. General and Comparative Endocrinology 173; 323-332
Cornelius, JM, N Perfito, R Zaun, CW Breuner, and TP Hahn (2011) Physiological trade-offs in self-maintenance: plumage molt and stress physiology in birds. Journal of Experimental Biology214: 2768-2777
Patterson, SH, DW Winkler, and CW Breuner (2011) Glucocorticoids, individual quality and reproductive investment in a passerine bird. Animal Behavior 81:1239-1247
Whitman, BA, CW Breuner, and AM Dufty, Jr. (2011) The effects of neonatal handling on adrenocortical responsiveness, morphological development and corticosteroid binding globulin in nestling American kestrels (Falco sparverius) General and Comparative Endocrinology 172: 260-267
Wada, H and CW Breuner (2010) Developmental changes in neural corticosteroid receptor binding capacity in altricial nestlings Developmental Neurobiology 277: 2399-2404
Breuner, CW (2010) Stress and Reproduction in Birds. In: DO Norris (Ed.) Hormones and Reproduction in Vertebrates. Vol 4, chapter 5; Elsevier, Oxford
Cornelius, JM, CW Breuner and TP Hahn (2010) Under a neighbour’s influence: public information affects stress hormones and behavior of a songbird. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 277: 2399-2404
Schmidt, KS, JL Malisch, CW Breuner* and KK Soma* (2010) Corticosterone and cortisol binding sites in plasma, immune organs and brain of developing zebra finches: intracellular and membrane-associated receptors Brain, Behavior and Immunity 24:908-918 *co-principal investigators
Sprague, RS and CW Breuner (2010) Timing of fledging is influenced by glucocorticoid physiology in Laysan albatross chicks Hormones and Behavior 58: 297-305
Malisch, JL and CW Breuner (2010) Steroid binding proteins and free steroids in birds Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 316: 42-52
Malisch, JL, DG Satterlee, JF Cockrem, H Wada, H, and CW Breuner (2010) How acute is the acute stress response? Baseline corticosterone and corticosteroid-binding globulin levels change 24 hours after an acute stressor in Japanese quail. General and Comparative Endocrinology 165:345-350
Almasi, B, A Roulin, S Jenni-Eierrmann, CW Breuner, and L Jenni (2009) Regulation of free corticosterone and CBG capacity under different environmental conditions in altricial nestlings. General and Comparative Endocrinology 164: 117-124
Swett, MB and CW Breuner (2009) Plasma Testosterone correlates with morph-type across breeding sub-stages in male white-throated sparrows Physiological and Biochemical Zoology Vol 82(5): 572-579
Breuner, C.W., Orchinik, M., (2009) Pharmacological characterization of intracellular, membrane, and plasma binding sites for corticosterone in house sparrows. General and Comparative Endocrinology. 163: 214-224
Malisch, J. L., Breuner, C. W., Kolb, E. M., Wada, H., Hannon, R. M., Chappell, M. A., Middleton, K. M., Garland, T., (2009) Behavioral Despair and Home-Cage Activity in Mice with Chronically Elevated Baseline Corticosterone Concentrations. Behavior Genetics. 39: 192-201.
Muller, C., Almasi, B., Roulin, A., Breuner, C. W., Jenni-Eiermann, S., Jenni, L., (2009) Effects of corticosterone pellets on baseline and stress-induced corticosterone and corticosteroid-binding-globulin. General and Comparative Endocrinology. 160: 59-66.
Wada, H., Salvante, K. G., Wagner, E., Williams, T. D., Breuner, C. W., (2009) Ontogeny and individual variation in the adrenocortical response of zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) Nestlings. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 82: 325-331.
Swett, M.B., and C.W. Breuner (2008) Interactions of testosterone, corticosterone, and corticosteroid binding globulin in the White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology PT A Vol 151 (2): 226-231
Breuner, CW, SH Patterson, and TP Hahn (2008) In search of relationships between the acute adrenocortical response and fitness. General and Comparative Endocrinology Vol 157: 288-295
Breuner, CW (2008) Maternal stress, glucocorticoids and the maternal match hypothesis Hormones and Behavior Vol 54: 4875-4876
Breuner, CW (2008) Stressed tissue in a calm organism: focus on 'cortisol and corticosterone in the songbird immune and neural systems' by Schmidt and Soma. American Journal of Physiology: Regulative, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology Vol 295: R101-102
Wada, H. and Breuner, C.W. (2008) Transient elevation of corticosterone alters begging behavior and growth of white-crowned sparrow nestlings. Journal of Experimental Biology Vol 211: 1696-1703
Malisch, J.L., Breuner, C.W., Gomes, F.R., Chappell, M.A., and T. Garland Jr. (2008) Circadian pattern of total and free corticosterone concentrations, corticosteroid-binding globulin, and physical activity in mice selectively bred for high voluntary wheel-running behavior. General and Comparative Endocrinology Vol 156: 210-217
Wada, H., Salvante, K.G., Stables, C., Wagner, E., Williams, T.D., and Breuner, C.W. (2008). Adrenocortical responses in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata): individual variation, repeatability and relationship to phenotypic quality. Hormones and Behavior Vol 53: 472-480
Wada, H., Hahn, T.P., and Breuner, C.W. (2007) Development of stress reactivity in white-crowned sparrow nestlings: total corticosterone response increases with age, while free corticosterone response remains low. General and Comparative Endocrinology 150(3): 405-413
Lynn, S.E., Hahn, T.P., and Breuner, C.W. (2007) Free-living male mountain white-crowned sparrows exhibit territorial aggression without modulating total or free plasma testosterone. Condor 109(1): 173-180
Ward, C., Fontes, C., Breuner, C., and Mendonca, M. (2007) Characterization and quantification of corticosteroid binding globulin in a southern toad, Bufo terrestris, exposed to coal combustion waste General and Comparative Endocrinology 152 (1): 82-88
Zysling, D.A., Greives, T.J., Breuner, C.W., Casto, J.M., Demas, G.E., and Ketterson, E.D. (2006) Behavioral and physiological responses to experimentally elevated testosterone in female dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis carolinensis). Hormones and Behavior 50(2): 200-207
Breuner, C.W., Lynn, S.E., Julian, G.E., Cornelius, J.M., Heidinger, B.J., Love, O.P., Sprague, R.S., Wada, H., and Whitman, B.A. (2006) Plasma binding globulins and the acute stress response. Hormone and Metabolic Research 38(4): 260-268
Wada, H., Moore, I.T., Breuner, C.W., and Wingfield, J.C., (2006). Stress responses in equatorial sparrows: comparing tropical and temperate Zonotrichia. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 79(4): 784-792
Hahn, T. P., Sockman, K. W., Breuner, C. W., and Morton, M. L. (2004). Storm-induced facultative altitudinal migration prior to breeding by mountain white-crowned sparrows, Zonotrichia leucophrys oriantha. Auk. 121(4): 1269-1281
Love, O.P., Breuner, C.W., Vezina, F., and Williams, T.D. (2004). Modulation of corticosterone-mediated reproductive conflicts. Hormones and Behavior. 46: 59-65
Wingfield, J.C., Owen-Ashley, N., Benowitz-Fredericks, Z M., Lynn, S.E., Hahn, T. P., Wada, H., Breuner, C., Meddle, S., and Romero, M. (2004). Arctic Spring: The arrival biology of migrant birds. Proceedings of the 23rd International Ornithological Congress 50(6): 948-960
Breuner, C. W., Orchinik, M., Hahn, T. P., Meddle, S.L., Moore, I.T., Owen-Ashley, N. T., Sperry, T.S., and Wingfield, J. C. (2003). Differential mechanisms for plasticity of the stress response across latitudinal gradients American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology 285: R594-R600
Breuner, C. W., and Hahn, T. P. (2003). Integrating stress physiology, environmental change, and behavior in free-living sparrows. Hormones and Behavior. 43: 115-123
Lynn, S. E., Breuner, C. W., and Wingfield, J. C. (2003). The effects of short-term fasting on activity, corticosterone, and corticosterone binding globulin in a migratory songbird, Gambel’s white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii). Hormones and Behavior. 43: 150-157
Breuner, C. W., and Orchinik, M. (2002). Plasma binding proteins as mediators of corticosteroid action in vertebrates. Journal of Endocrinology 175: 99-112
Breuner, C.W. and Orchinik, M. (2002) Downstream from corticosterone: seasonality of binding globulins, receptors, and behavior in the avian stress response. In Avian Endocrinology, pp 385-399. A. Dawson (Ed.), Narosa Publishing, New Delhi and London
Orchinik, M., Gasser, P., and Breuner, C. (2002) Rapid Corticosteroid Action and Behavior: Mechanisms and Functional Consequences. In Steroids, Brain, and Behavior, D. Pfaff et al. (Eds.), Academic Press
Breuner CW and Orchinik M (2001) Seasonal Regulation of Membrane and intracellular corticosteroid receptors in the house sparrow brain. Journal of Neuroendocrinology 13: 412-420
Deviche P, Breuner C and Orchinik M (2001) Testosterone, corticosterone, and photoperiod interact to regulate free steroid hormone levels in dark-eyed juncos, Junco hyemalis. General and Comparative Endocrinology 122: 67-77.
Breuner, C.W., Jennings, D., and Orchinik, M. (2000) Pharmacological Adrenalectomy with Mitotane. General and Comparative Endocrinology 120: 27-34.
Breuner, C. W., and Wingfield, J. C. (2000) Rapid Behavioral Response to Corticosterone Varies With Photoperiod and Dose. Hormones and Behavior 37: 23-30.
Breuner, C. W., Wingfield, J.C., and Romero, L. M. (1999). Diel Rhythms of Basal and Stress-Induced Corticosterone in a Wild, Seasonal Vertebrate, Gambel’s White-Crowned Sparrow. Journal of Experimental Zoology 284: 334-342.
Wikelski, M., Lynn, S., Breuner, C., Wingfield, J.C., and Kenagy, G.J. (1999). Energy metabolism, testosterone and corticosterone in white-crowned sparrows. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 185: 463-470
Breuner, C. W., Greenberg, A. L., and Wingfield, J. C. (1998). Non-Invasive Corticosterone Treatment Rapidly Increases Activity in Gambel's White-Crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii). General and Comparative Endocrinology 111: 386-394.
Wingfield, J. C., Breuner, C. W., Honey, P., Jacobs, J., Lynn, S., Maney, D., Ramenofsky, M., and Richardson, R. (1998). Ecological bases of hormone-behavior interactions: the "emergency life history stage". American Zoologist 38(1): 191-206.
Tramontin, A. D., Smith, G. T., Breuner, C. W., and Brenowitz, E. A. (1998). Seasonal plasticity and sexual dimorphism in the avian song control system: Stereological measurement of neuron density and number. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 396(2): 186-192.
Wingfield, J. C., Breuner, C. W., and Jacobs, J. (1997). Corticosterone and behavioral responses to unpredictable events. In S. Harvey and R. J. Etches (Eds.), Perspectives in Avian Endocrinology, pp. 267-278. Journal Endocrinology Ltd., Bristol.
Wingfield, J. C., Hunt, K., Breuner, C., Dunlap, K., Fowler, G. S., Freed, L., and Lepson, J. (1997). Environmental Stress, Field Endocrinology and Conservation Biology. In J. R. C. a. R. Buckholtz (Ed.), Behavioral Approaches to Conservation in the Wild, pp. 95-131. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Chair Director Departments
Division of Biological Sciences