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Experimental increase in temperature affects eggshell thickness, and not egg mass, eggshell spottiness or egg composition in the great tit (Parus major).

07:00 EST 5th February 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Experimental increase in temperature affects eggshell thickness, and not egg mass, eggshell spottiness or egg composition in the great tit (Parus major)."

Phenotypic effects of global warming have been documented in many different taxa. However, the importance of transgenerational phenotypic plasticity in these adaptations are seldom studied. In birds, temperature could affect egg characteristics. Higher temperatures during egg-laying may reduce maintenance costs for females and allow a higher investment in reproduction. Yet, females may also use temperatures as a cue for the risk of mismatch latter in the season. Thus, higher temperatures may be correlated to an acceleration of embryonic development (e.g. via hormonal manipulation). We performed an experiment in which night-time temperature was increased in the nestbox by approximately 1°C throughout the entire laying period in great tits (Parus major). We collected one pre-treatment egg (beginning of the laying sequence) and one post-treatment egg (end of the laying sequence). Egg content (yolk androgens and lysozymes in the albumen), eggshell coloration, eggshell mass, egg mass, and shape were not affected by the treatment. However, last-laid eggs in clutches from control nestboxes had a thicker eggshell than last-laid eggs from heated nestboxes, suggesting a putative slight decrease of maternal investment with the experimental increase of temperature. We also observed effects of the laying sequence on egg characteristics. Eggs that were laid late in the laying sequence were heavier, larger, had larger spots and higher yolk androgens than eggs laid earlier. Lysozyme concentration decrease with the laying sequence in late clutches only. Thus, effects of temperature may also change with the laying sequence and it would be interesting in the future to tests the effects on first-laid eggs.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: General and comparative endocrinology
ISSN: 1095-6840
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