Title
Multiple pathways of maternal effects in black-headed gull eggs : constraint and mutual adjustment Multiple pathways of maternal effects in black-headed gull eggs : constraint and mutual adjustment
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Publication type
article
Publication
Basel ,
Subject
Biology
Source (journal)
Journal of evolutionary biology. - Basel
Volume/pages
19(2006) , p. 1304-1313
ISSN
1010-061X
ISI
000239154100029
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
We investigated in the black-headed gull whether female deposition of antioxidants and immunoglobulins (enhancing early immune function), and testosterone (suppressing immune function and increasing early competitive skills) correlate suggesting that evolution has favoured the mutual adjustment of different pathways for maternal effects. We also took egg mass, the position of the egg in the laying sequence and offspring sex into account, as these affect offspring survival. Yolk antioxidant and immunoglobulin concentrations decreased across the laying order, while yolk testosterone concentrations increased. This may substantially handicap the immune defence of lasthatched chicks. The decrease in antioxidant levels was greater when mothers had a low body mass and when the increase in testosterone concentrations was relatively large. This suggests that female black-headed gulls are constrained in the deposition of antioxidants in last-laid eggs and compensate for this by enhanced testosterone deposition. The latter may be adaptive since it re-allocates the chicks investment from costly immune function to growth and competitive skills, necessary to overcome the consequences of hatching late from an egg of reduced quality.
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