Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

An Old, Familiar Love Nest Is Conducive To Sexual Success, Cornell Researchers Find In Study Of Bird Mating

Date:
July 24, 2003
Source:
Cornell University News Service
Summary:
Billing and cooing in an old and familiar love nest doubles and even triples some birds' chances of producing progeny, researchers at Cornell University have discovered.

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Billing and cooing in an old and familiar love nest doubles and even triples some birds' chances of producing progeny, researchers at Cornell University have discovered. Their study, which focused on Japanese quail, is the first to document what farmers and researchers have long suspected: that breeding is often more successful when animals mate where they have mated before. In this study, the inseminations were more likely to fertilize eggs when they occurred in cages where the birds had previously encountered birds of the opposite sex.

Related Articles


"We now know that fertilization isn't just a matter of plumbing; there's a lot of strategic decision-making going on that is regulated by the brain in response to the social and physical environment," says Elizabeth Adkins-Regan, a professor in the departments of psychology and of neurobiology and behavior at Cornell.

"Pavlovian conditioning has long been assumed to be adaptive. This study is the strongest evidence yet that Pavlovian sexual conditioning increases the reproductive success of animals, both male and female," she says.

In Pavlovian sexual conditioning, external cues allow anticipation of mating and lead to improvements in mating behavior. This study shows that the conditioning contributes to successful fertilization and not simply successful mating.

The study, conducted with Emiko A. MacKillop, Cornell '02, a former Cornell research assistant now in graduate school at the State University of New York in Binghamton, is published online at The Royal Society Web site and will be published in print, in the society's Proceedings: Biological Sciences on Aug. 22. The Royal Society is an independent United Kingdom academy promoting the natural and applied sciences.

The Cornell researchers put 26 male Japanese quail, a species already well established in neuroendocrine research, with females in two sets of cages. In one set, the males had mated with females before, but they had not previously encountered a female in the second set of cages. The researchers were able to document how often the females were fertilized in both situations.

"We found that inseminations fertilized at least one egg twice as often in cages where the males had been placed with females previously, compared with matings in cages where the males had not previously hosted a female," says Adkins-Regan.

To test the females, the same experiment was conducted with the sexes reversed. The rate of eggs fertilized was three times greater in cages where the females had previously been exposed to males, compared with those in cages where they had not previously encountered males.

The findings could be relevant for breeding endangered species as well as farm animals. "Pavlovian conditioning is a universal property of nervous systems," says Adkins-Regan. "It is likely, therefore, also to be relevant to fertilization success for wild animals in natural mating systems."

The research was supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation.

Related Links:

o Elizabeth Adkins-Regan: http://www2.psych.cornell.edu/regan/

o The Royal Society: http://www.pubs.royalsoc.ac.uk/biol_lett/biol_lett_main.htm


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University News Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cornell University News Service. "An Old, Familiar Love Nest Is Conducive To Sexual Success, Cornell Researchers Find In Study Of Bird Mating." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030724083234.htm>.
Cornell University News Service. (2003, July 24). An Old, Familiar Love Nest Is Conducive To Sexual Success, Cornell Researchers Find In Study Of Bird Mating. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030724083234.htm
Cornell University News Service. "An Old, Familiar Love Nest Is Conducive To Sexual Success, Cornell Researchers Find In Study Of Bird Mating." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030724083234.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins