Balancing between costs and benefits of maternal hormone deposition in avian eggs

TGG Groothuis, CM Eising, C Dijkstra, Wendt Mueller

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110 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Avian eggs contain substantial amounts of maternal androgens, and several studies have indicated that these are beneficial for the chick. Nevertheless, there is a large and systematic variation in maternal hormone concentrations both within and between clutches. If maternal androgens also involve costs, this might explain why not all mothers put high levels of androgens in their clutches. However, the, simultaneous occurrence of both benefits and costs has not yet been convincingly demonstrated. We show experimentally that yolk androgens suppress immune function and simultaneously stimulate growth in black-headed gull chicks. Thus, mothers face a trade-off between these costs and benefits and may tune hormone deposition to prevailing conditions that influence chick survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-81
Number of pages4
JournalBiology Letters
Volume1
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22-Mar-2005

Keywords

  • maternal hormones
  • androgens
  • testosterone
  • maternal effects
  • immune function
  • growth
  • HEADED GULL CHICKS
  • YOLK ANDROGENS
  • TRADE-OFFS
  • ECOLOGICAL IMMUNOLOGY
  • LARUS-FUSCUS
  • TESTOSTERONE
  • IMMUNITY
  • BIRDS
  • CAROTENOIDS
  • DEPEND

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