Female body condition affects foetal growth in a capital breeding mysticete

Christiansen, Fredrik, Vikingsson, Gisli A., Rasmussen, Marianne H. and Lusseau, David 2014, Female body condition affects foetal growth in a capital breeding mysticete, Functional ecology, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 579-588, doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12200.

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Title Female body condition affects foetal growth in a capital breeding mysticete
Author(s) Christiansen, Fredrik
Vikingsson, Gisli A.
Rasmussen, Marianne H.
Lusseau, David
Journal name Functional ecology
Volume number 28
Issue number 3
Start page 579
End page 588
Total pages 10
Publisher Wiley
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2014-06
ISSN 0269-8463
1365-2435
Keyword(s) corticosterone
glucocorticoids
Gouldian finch
maternal effects
sex ratios
Summary 1.Sex allocation theory has received considerable attention, yet the mechanism(s) by which mothers skew offspring sex ratios remain unknown. In birds, females are the heterogametic sex, which potentially gives them control of whether gametes will be male or female. How females might control the sex of the gamete is unclear, but one possibility is that variation in steroid hormones may mediate this process. 2.We experimentally altered circulating levels of corticosterone in female Gouldian finches (Erythrura gouldiae), a species that demonstrates both extreme stress responses and extreme offspring sex ratio biases when breeding with a low-quality (genetically incompatible) partner. 3.During egg production, individual females received both corticosterone and metyrapone (a corticosterone-synthesis inhibitor) implants, in random order, to induce both high and low levels of circulating stress hormones (within physiological limits). 4.We found that females with elevated corticosterone levels produced male-biased sex ratios, but when the same females were treated with metyrapone they produced female-biased offspring sex ratios. 5.These stress responses are adaptive because females constrained to breeding with low-quality males can substantially increase their fitness by overproducing sons. Changes in maternal corticosterone levels during stressful situations, such as the quality of a breeding partner, may provide an endocrine mechanism that can be exploited for strategic sex allocation.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/1365-2435.12200
Field of Research 060203 Ecological Physiology
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2013, Wiley
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30060952

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