Meeting Abstract

114.3  Saturday, Jan. 7  Long-term consequences of incubation temperature on offspring physiology and survival in zebra finches WADA, H*; ALLEN, N.R.; KRIENGWATANA, B; SCHMIDT, K.L.; SOMA, K.K.; MACDOUGALL-SHACKLETON, S.A.; Univ. Western Ontario; Univ. Western Ontario; Univ. Western Ontario; Univ. Western Ontario; Univ. British Columbia; Univ. Western Ontario hwada@uwo.ca

The developmental environment plays an important role in shaping offspring phenotype. In birds, the developmental environment is strongly influenced by parental behavior. Because virtually all birds incubate their eggs, differences in incubation behavior affects incubation temperature, which may give rise to variation in offspring phenotype. Recent studies in songbirds and waterfowl showed that prenatal temperature manipulations influence corticosterone response and immune function in the hatchling/nestling stage. However, little is known about whether such temperature manipulations have long term effects into adulthood. Here we tested the effects of incubation temperature on survival, growth, body composition, immune function, and corticosterone response from nestling to adulthood in captive zebra finches. We artificially incubated eggs at control (37.4°C), low (36.2°C), or high (38.4°C) temperatures, and returned nestlings to the nest just after hatching. While the high temperature group had the lowest hatching success, the low temperature group had the lowest post-hatch survival. In addition, hatch weight was similar among treatment groups, but individuals in the high temperature group had delayed growth compared to individuals of other groups. Body fat content and lean mass were not affected by the temperature treatment. Finally, adrenocortical response to handling stress in females incubated at low temperatures tended to be higher than the rest, however this difference disappeared when they reached adulthood. These data suggest that small variations in incubation temperature not only affect offspring physiology but could also affect fitness of songbirds.