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Interactions between prenatal maternal effects and posthatching conditions in a wild bird population


Giordano, Marta; Groothuis, Ton G G; Tschirren, Barbara (2014). Interactions between prenatal maternal effects and posthatching conditions in a wild bird population. Behavioural Ecology, 25(6):1459-1466.

Abstract

Resources and cues provided by the mother before birth are important mediators of developmental plasticity. It has been suggested that the adaptive value of such prenatal maternal effects may depend on the environment encountered by the offspring after birth, and that offspring may perform better when environmental conditions encountered by the mother and the offspring match, than when a mismatch occurs. Here, we test how prenatal maternal effects and postnatal conditions interact in influencing offspring growth and development in wild-living great tits (Parus major) by manipulating food availability experienced by the mother before egg laying, partially cross-fostering nestlings between nests, and manipulating food availability after hatching. We observed significant interaction effects between pre- and postnatal food conditions. Nonsupplemented nestlings reached a similar fledging mass, a trait closely linked to postfledging survival, as food-supplemented nestlings when their biological mother had received extra food during egg laying. It shows that prenatal maternal investment can compensate for growth-limiting conditions after hatching. This effect was sex specific, with daughters benefiting more than sons. Furthermore, food-supplemented nestlings grew largest when their biological mother had not received extra food during egg laying, suggesting that offspring were primed prenatally, possibly through differential egg composition, to use resources more efficiently. However, we found no evidence that offspring performed generally better when pre- and postnatal food conditions matched than when a mismatch occurred. Our results demonstrate the importance of considering the postnatal environment when testing for the ecological and evolutionary consequences of prenatal maternal effects in natural populations.

Abstract

Resources and cues provided by the mother before birth are important mediators of developmental plasticity. It has been suggested that the adaptive value of such prenatal maternal effects may depend on the environment encountered by the offspring after birth, and that offspring may perform better when environmental conditions encountered by the mother and the offspring match, than when a mismatch occurs. Here, we test how prenatal maternal effects and postnatal conditions interact in influencing offspring growth and development in wild-living great tits (Parus major) by manipulating food availability experienced by the mother before egg laying, partially cross-fostering nestlings between nests, and manipulating food availability after hatching. We observed significant interaction effects between pre- and postnatal food conditions. Nonsupplemented nestlings reached a similar fledging mass, a trait closely linked to postfledging survival, as food-supplemented nestlings when their biological mother had received extra food during egg laying. It shows that prenatal maternal investment can compensate for growth-limiting conditions after hatching. This effect was sex specific, with daughters benefiting more than sons. Furthermore, food-supplemented nestlings grew largest when their biological mother had not received extra food during egg laying, suggesting that offspring were primed prenatally, possibly through differential egg composition, to use resources more efficiently. However, we found no evidence that offspring performed generally better when pre- and postnatal food conditions matched than when a mismatch occurred. Our results demonstrate the importance of considering the postnatal environment when testing for the ecological and evolutionary consequences of prenatal maternal effects in natural populations.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:anticipatory maternal effects, mismatch hypothesis, prenatal maternal effects, yolk androgens, environmental change, environmental predictability, silver spoon
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:30 Dec 2014 12:34
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:20
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1045-2249
Funders:Swiss National Science Foundation
Additional Information:This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Behavioral Ecology following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Marta Giordano, Ton G. G. Groothuis, and Barbara Tschirren: Interactions between prenatal maternal effects and posthatching conditions in a wild bird population Behavioral Ecology (2014) 25 (6): 1459-1466 first published online August 26, 2014 doi:10.1093/beheco/aru149 is available online at: http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/content/25/6/1459
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/aru149

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