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Reference number: 27
Maternal effects in birds
|Date: 27th August AM|
|Maternal effects are currently a highly debated topic in behavioral biology and evolutionary biology. Maternal effects occur when the phenotype of an individual is determined not only by its own genotype and the environmental conditions it experiences during development, but also by the phenotype and/or the environment of its mother. Maternal effects have received increasing attention as they represent an important pathway how the offspring's phenotype is shaped by the mother's phenotype. It is known that female birds differentially allocate resources in relation to environmental conditions. The amount of these resources can have important consequences for offspring development which may last into adulthood.
Theoretical models show that this can have important evolutionary consequences such as rapid adaptation to local conditions but adaptation to changing conditions may also be delayed.
Because of the increasing interest and a number of recent publications on maternal effects in birds we believe that is important to discuss the theoretical implications, mechanistic pathways or constraints and the possible functional consequences of maternal effects.
|Keywords: behaviour biology, birds, parental investment, development, maternal effect|
| K Witte || Dep. of Animal Behaviour, Univ. of Bielefeld, Germany |
| N von Engelhardt || Research Group Animal Behaviour, Univ. of Groningen, Netherlands |