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Disentangling egg and parental effects on chick quality

Borger, M.J. (2017) Disentangling egg and parental effects on chick quality. Master's Thesis / Essay, Ecology and Evolution.

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Variation in rearing conditions is known to affect fitness later in life, but the underlying mechanisms of this relationship remain elusive. Egg size impacts offspring quality and is therefore a candidate mechanism, but exactly how egg size causes effects on offspring performance remains unclear. This research aims to unravel the correlation between egg size and offspring mass (a quality marker), by testing if (i) egg size itself or (ii) the shared parental or environmental quality, explained the observed correlation. We performed a cross-foster experiment using a natural population of Jackdaws, Corvus monedula, where we swapped whole clutches. We found that the correlation between egg size and day 5 mass was explained by egg size itself, but not by parental or environmental quality. Intra-clutch variation in egg size also partially explained the correlation between egg size and day 5 mass. Intriguingly, the slope of the correlation between egg size and day 5 mass is higher (1.7 g/cm3) than the slope between egg size and day 1 mass (0.7 g/cm3) indicating that the egg quality has carry-over effects on the growth rate of the chicks. We conclude that the correlation in egg size and chick quality is, at least in early development, only caused by egg effects and that this is not only caused by nutrients in the egg, but that the egg also influences the growth rate of chicks in an unknown way.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Degree programme: Ecology and Evolution
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 08:34
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 08:34

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