Rearing conditions determine offspring survival independent of egg quality: a cross-foster experiment with Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus

Date

2006

Authors

van de Pol, Martijn
Bakker, Trineke
Saaltink, Dirk-Jan
Verhulst, Simon

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

British Ornithologists Union

Abstract

Variation in rearing conditions, due either to parental or to environmental quality, can result in offspring of different quality (e.g. body condition, immune function). However, evidence is accumulating that egg size and composition can also affect offspring quality. In Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus, high-quality rearing conditions result in a higher quantity as well as quality of offspring. This is thought to be caused by increased parental food provisioning to the chicks in high-quality environments. However, variation in egg quality between rearing conditions could also affect the quantity and quality of offspring. Determining the mechanism and ontogeny of quality differences is important in unravelling the causes of variation in reproductive success. To disentangle the effects of egg quality, and quality of the rearing conditions, on the future survival of offspring, we cross-fostered complete clutches between nests. When reared under conditions of similar environmental quality, chicks originating from eggs laid in low-quality environments survived as well as chicks originating from eggs laid in a high-quality environment. However, chicks reared in high-quality environments survived twice as long as chicks reared in low-quality environments, independent of the environmental quality in which the eggs were laid. This suggests that variation in the future survival of offspring is primarily caused by differences in environmental and/or parental quality, with no clear effect of egg quality (size).

Description

Keywords

Keywords: biological development; egg production; genetic variation; ontogeny; rearing; reproduction; reproductive disorder; Haematopodidae; Haematopus ostralegus

Citation

Source

Ibis

Type

Journal article

Book Title

Entity type

Access Statement

License Rights

DOI

10.1111/j.1474-919X.2006.00479.x

Restricted until

2037-12-31