Deakin University
Browse

File(s) not publicly available

Are yolk androgens adjusted to environmental conditions? A test in two seabirds that lay single-egg clutches

journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-07, 00:52 authored by Brianne AddisonBrianne Addison, ZM Benowitz-Fredericks, JM Hipfner, AS Kitaysky
It is widely believed that female birds strategically allocate androgens to yolk in the manner that best equips offspring for feeding conditions during their development. Because most avian studies have focused on multi-egg clutch species, and interpreted results within the framework of sibling competition, we still know little about how yolk androgens might be allocated in direct response to environmental conditions. Most oceanic birds are long-lived and lay single-egg clutches, and their breeding success is tightly linked to highly variable marine production. That combination: a variable breeding environment, long lives, and single-egg clutches, makes oceanic birds good subjects to test hypotheses about yolk androgen allocation strategies. We measured concentrations of two yolk androgens, androstenedione (A4) and testosterone (T), in the single-egg clutches laid by early-laying Cassin's (Ptychoramphus aleuticus) and rhinoceros (Cerorhinca monocerata) auklets at Triangle Island, British Columbia, Canada, in 2002-2004. Environmental conditions including sea-surface temperatures and the timing and intensity of marine primary production varied over the 3 years, and in response, both the timing and success of seabird breeding varied. As in other avian species, concentrations of A4 and T varied markedly among individual eggs in both species (by factors of 3-8), yet contrary to expectation, little of the variation could be attributed to year effects. The high interindividual variation and the lack of interannual variation suggest a non-adaptive explanation for yolk androgen deposition relative to environmental conditions in these species. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

History

Journal

General and Comparative Endocrinology

Volume

158

Pagination

5-9

Location

United States

ISSN

0016-6480

eISSN

1095-6840

Language

en

Issue

1

Publisher

Elsevier BV