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Flight performance in the altricial zebra finch: developmental effects and reproductive consequences

Crino, Ondi L., Klaassen van Oorschot, Brett, Crandell, Kristen E., Breuner, Creagh W. and Tobalske, Bret W. 2017, Flight performance in the altricial zebra finch: developmental effects and reproductive consequences, Ecology and evolution, vol. 7, no. 7, pp. 2316-2326, doi: 10.1002/ece3.2775.

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Title Flight performance in the altricial zebra finch: developmental effects and reproductive consequences
Author(s) Crino, Ondi L.
Klaassen van Oorschot, Brett
Crandell, Kristen E.
Breuner, Creagh W.
Tobalske, Bret W.
Journal name Ecology and evolution
Volume number 7
Issue number 7
Start page 2316
End page 2326
Total pages 11
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Place of publication Chichester, Eng.
Publication date 2017-04
ISSN 2045-7758
Keyword(s) brood size
corticosterone
developmental stress
fitness
flight velocity
locomotor performance
takeoff
Summary The environmental conditions animals experience during development can have sustained effects on morphology, physiology, and behavior. Exposure to elevated levels of stress hormones (glucocorticoids, GCs) during development is one such condition that can have long-term effects on animal phenotype. Many of the phenotypic effects of GC exposure during development (developmental stress) appear negative. However, there is increasing evidence that developmental stress can induce adaptive phenotypic changes. This hypothesis can be tested by examining the effect of developmental stress on fitness-related traits. In birds, flight performance is an ideal metric to assess the fitness consequences of developmental stress. As fledglings, mastering takeoff is crucial to avoid bodily damage and escape predation. As adults, takeoff can contribute to mating and foraging success as well as escape and, thus, can affect both reproductive success and survival. We examined the effects of developmental stress on flight performance across life-history stages in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Specifically, we examined the effects of oral administration of corticosterone (CORT, the dominant avian glucocorticoid) during development on ground-reaction forces and velocity during takeoff. Additionally, we tested for associations between flight performance and reproductive success in adult male zebra finches. Developmental stress had no effect on flight performance at all ages. In contrast, brood size (an unmanipulated variable) had sustained, negative effects on takeoff performance across life-history stages with birds from small broods performing better than birds from large broods. Flight performance at 100 days posthatching predicted future reproductive success in males; the best fliers had significantly higher reproductive success. Our results demonstrate that some environmental factors experienced during development (e.g. clutch size) have stronger, more sustained effects than others (e.g. GC exposure). Additionally, our data provide the first link between flight performance and a direct measure of reproductive success.
Language eng
DOI 10.1002/ece3.2775
Field of Research 060803 Animal Developmental and Reproductive Biology
050204 Environmental Impact Assessment
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2017, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30103836

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.