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Intra-specific interactions influence egg composition in the lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus)

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Abstract
Egg composition, which is under maternal control, can have a profound effect on offspring fitness. The presence of maternal testosterone and carotenoids in avian egg yolk, for example, is thought to enhance the development and competitive ability of the offspring and protect the hatching and growing chick against oxidative stress. Egg quality often differs between females and such variation can be due to differences in maternal social environment, e. g. breeding density. However, this is confounded by the possibility that the quality of individuals breeding in high- or low-density areas may vary. We tested if maternal social environment influences egg composition in a colonial seabird, the lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus). To control for confounding effects of female quality, we experimentally manipulated maternal social environment during egg formation. We increased the frequency of intra-specific interactions (i.e. aggressive encounters with conspecifics other than nest mates) in which the females were involved, by placing an elevated platform in their territory. Females that took part in more intra-specific interactions produced a heavier last egg, but the yolk testosterone concentration in eggs laid by control and experimental females did not differ. Differences in yolk testosterone concentration in relation to embryo sex were found neither in the control nor in the experimental group. In contrast, within the control group, eggs with a male embryo contained more carotenoids than eggs with a female embryo. Moreover, experimental females that had been involved in more intra-specific interactions produced female eggs with higher carotenoid levels compared to female eggs of control birds. An experimental increase in carotenoid levels was not observed in eggs containing a male embryo. Our results suggest that intra-specific interactions experienced by female birds during egg formation can influence conditions for embryonic development.
Keywords
egg composition, embryo sex, intra-specific interactions, yolk carotenoids, yolk testosterone, SPARROW PASSER-DOMESTICUS, JAPANESE-QUAIL EGGS, MATERNAL TESTOSTERONE, YOLK ANDROGENS, EXPERIMENTAL MANIPULATION, SEXUAL-DIFFERENTIATION, EMBRYONIC-DEVELOPMENT, AGELAIUS-PHOENICEUS, DIETARY CAROTENOIDS, GALLUS-DOMESTICUS

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Citation

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MLA
Verboven, Nanette, et al. “Intra-Specific Interactions Influence Egg Composition in the Lesser Black-Backed Gull (Larus Fuscus).” BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY AND SOCIOBIOLOGY, vol. 57, no. 4, 2005, pp. 357–65.
APA
Verboven, N., Evans, N. P., D’Alba Altamirano, L., Nager, R. G., Blount, J. D., Surai, P. F., & Monaghan, P. (2005). Intra-specific interactions influence egg composition in the lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus). BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY AND SOCIOBIOLOGY, 57(4), 357–365.
Chicago author-date
Verboven, Nanette, Neil P Evans, Liliana D’Alba Altamirano, Ruedi G Nager, Jonathan D Blount, Peter F Surai, and Pat Monaghan. 2005. “Intra-Specific Interactions Influence Egg Composition in the Lesser Black-Backed Gull (Larus Fuscus).” BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY AND SOCIOBIOLOGY 57 (4): 357–65.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Verboven, Nanette, Neil P Evans, Liliana D’Alba Altamirano, Ruedi G Nager, Jonathan D Blount, Peter F Surai, and Pat Monaghan. 2005. “Intra-Specific Interactions Influence Egg Composition in the Lesser Black-Backed Gull (Larus Fuscus).” BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY AND SOCIOBIOLOGY 57 (4): 357–365.
Vancouver
1.
Verboven N, Evans NP, D’Alba Altamirano L, Nager RG, Blount JD, Surai PF, et al. Intra-specific interactions influence egg composition in the lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus). BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY AND SOCIOBIOLOGY. 2005;57(4):357–65.
IEEE
[1]
N. Verboven et al., “Intra-specific interactions influence egg composition in the lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus),” BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY AND SOCIOBIOLOGY, vol. 57, no. 4, pp. 357–365, 2005.
@article{8622430,
  abstract     = {Egg composition, which is under maternal control, can have a profound effect on offspring fitness. The presence of maternal testosterone and carotenoids in avian egg yolk, for example, is thought to enhance the development and competitive ability of the offspring and protect the hatching and growing chick against oxidative stress. Egg quality often differs between females and such variation can be due to differences in maternal social environment, e. g. breeding density. However, this is confounded by the possibility that the quality of individuals breeding in high- or low-density areas may vary. We tested if maternal social environment influences egg composition in a colonial seabird, the lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus). To control for confounding effects of female quality, we experimentally manipulated maternal social environment during egg formation. We increased the frequency of intra-specific interactions (i.e. aggressive encounters with conspecifics other than nest mates) in which the females were involved, by placing an elevated platform in their territory. Females that took part in more intra-specific interactions produced a heavier last egg, but the yolk testosterone concentration in eggs laid by control and experimental females did not differ. Differences in yolk testosterone concentration in relation to embryo sex were found neither in the control nor in the experimental group. In contrast, within the control group, eggs with a male embryo contained more carotenoids than eggs with a female embryo. Moreover, experimental females that had been involved in more intra-specific interactions produced female eggs with higher carotenoid levels compared to female eggs of control birds. An experimental increase in carotenoid levels was not observed in eggs containing a male embryo. Our results suggest that intra-specific interactions experienced by female birds during egg formation can influence conditions for embryonic development.},
  author       = {Verboven, Nanette and Evans, Neil P and D'Alba Altamirano, Liliana and Nager, Ruedi G and Blount, Jonathan D and Surai, Peter F and Monaghan, Pat},
  issn         = {0340-5443},
  journal      = {BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY AND SOCIOBIOLOGY},
  keywords     = {egg composition,embryo sex,intra-specific interactions,yolk carotenoids,yolk testosterone,SPARROW PASSER-DOMESTICUS,JAPANESE-QUAIL EGGS,MATERNAL TESTOSTERONE,YOLK ANDROGENS,EXPERIMENTAL MANIPULATION,SEXUAL-DIFFERENTIATION,EMBRYONIC-DEVELOPMENT,AGELAIUS-PHOENICEUS,DIETARY CAROTENOIDS,GALLUS-DOMESTICUS},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {357--365},
  title        = {Intra-specific interactions influence egg composition in the lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus)},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00265-004-0862-x},
  volume       = {57},
  year         = {2005},
}

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