Nest microclimate predicts bill growth in the Adelaide rosella (Aves: Psittaculidae)

Larson, Eliza Rachael, Eastwood, Justin R, Micallef, Sarah, Wehbe, Jacinta, Bennett, Andrew TD and Berg, Mathew L 2018, Nest microclimate predicts bill growth in the Adelaide rosella (Aves: Psittaculidae), Biological journal of the Linnean Society, vol. 124, no. 3, pp. 339-349, doi: 10.1093/biolinnean/bly058.

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Title Nest microclimate predicts bill growth in the Adelaide rosella (Aves: Psittaculidae)
Author(s) Larson, Eliza Rachael
Eastwood, Justin R
Micallef, Sarah
Wehbe, Jacinta
Bennett, Andrew TDORCID iD for Bennett, Andrew TD
Berg, Mathew LORCID iD for Berg, Mathew L
Journal name Biological journal of the Linnean Society
Volume number 124
Issue number 3
Start page 339
End page 349
Total pages 11
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication Oxford, Eng.
Publication date 2018-06-20
ISSN 0024-4066
Keyword(s) Allen’s rule
phenotypic plasticity
Platycercus elegans adelaidae
science & technology
life sciences & biomedicine
evolutionary biology
Summary Diet and foraging have traditionally been considered key drivers of bill morphology. It is now known that bills play an important thermoregulatory role, and recent studies revealed that temperature is positively associated with the size of bills relative to body size or weight in adult birds, in accordance with Allen’s rule. Studies have attributed these patterns to local adaptation or an evolutionary response to climate change, but the contribution of ontogenetic plasticity remains unclear. We tested whether temperature experienced inside the nest predicted nestling growth in bill size and weight and in a parrot, the Adelaide rosella (Platycercus elegans adelaidae). We predicted that nest microclimate may affect bill ontogeny, leading to a positive association between relative bill size and temperatures during rearing. Growth in bill surface area was greater in nests that were warmer during the day and night, but temperature variability had no effect. Higher day and night-time mean temperatures, and less variable night-time temperatures, were positively associated with nestling weight. Our findings indicate that nest microclimate influences nestling growth, including relative bill size, and that daytime heat dissipation may be a driver of bill ontogeny. Bill plasticity in response to temperature during rearing could be an important but little studied contributor to morphology, due to the role of the bill in thermoregulation.
Language eng
DOI 10.1093/biolinnean/bly058
Field of Research 06 Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2018, The Linnean Society of London
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Centre for Integrative Ecology
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