Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mother Birds 'Engineer' Their Offspring

Date:
May 25, 2007
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Bird species that have relatively long incubation periods and short nestling periods for their body size have higher concentration of androstenedione than those species whose developmental time is shifted towards relatively longer stays in the nest than in the egg. This is an advantage depending on the predators. There is a relationship between egg levels of androstenedione and colony size, suggesting that mothers prepare their offspring for the social conditions.

Current research emphasizes the role of maternal effects in fostering the adaptation of organisms to a changing environment. In birds, mothers pass androgens to their eggs, and these hormones have been shown to influence the development and behavior of nestlings. Since these effects may persist in adulthood, it has been suggested that avian mothers may engineer, so to speak, the adult phenotype of their offspring.

Related Articles


Although abundant research in a variety of species has examined these questions, little is known on whether differences between species in levels of egg androgens are related to differences in the ecology of species. Diego Gil, from the Spanish Museum of Natural History, and coauthors (Clotilde Biard, André Lacroix, Claire Spottiswoode, Nicola Saino, Marisa Puerta, and Anders P. Mřller) from several universities in Europe, show in a paper in the June issue of The American Naturalist that several differences in avian life history have coevolved with differences in yolk androgens.

Thus, the relative amount of time that a developing bird spends in the egg and in the nest is positively related to androstenedione, one of the main egg androgens. That is to say, bird species that have relatively long incubation periods and short nestling periods for their body size have higher concentration of androstenedione than those species whose developmental time is shifted towards relatively longer stays in the nest than in the egg. Another pattern that emerges is a positive relationship between egg levels of androstenedione and colony size, suggesting that mothers prepare their offspring for the social conditions that they will experience as adults.

These data provide evidence that facultative maternal effects at the individual level are linked to evolutionary transitions between species, suggesting a role of phenotypic plasticity in supporting adaptative patterns.

Article: Diego Gil (Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC), Clotilde Biard (Université Pierre et Marie Curie), André Lacroix (Centre d'Etudes Biologiques de Chizé, CNRS), Claire Spottiswoode (University of Cambridge), Nicola Saino (Universitŕ degli Studi di Milano), Marisa Puerta (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), and Anders P. Mřller (Université Pierre et Marie Curie), "Evolution of yolk androgens in birds: development, coloniality and sexual dichromatism" American Naturalist (2007), 169:802--819 DOI: 10.1086/516652


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Mother Birds 'Engineer' Their Offspring." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070523103805.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2007, May 25). Mother Birds 'Engineer' Their Offspring. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070523103805.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Mother Birds 'Engineer' Their Offspring." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070523103805.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) — A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. 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