Altered embryonic development in northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) induced by pre-incubation oscillatory thermal stresses mimicking global warming predictions

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This article describes the exposure of freshly laid bobwhite quail eggs to one of five thermal regimes during a 12 day pre-incubation period.

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17 p.

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Reyna, Kelly S. & Burggren, Warren W. September 19, 2017.

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This article is part of the collection entitled: UNT Scholarly Works and was provided by UNT College of Arts and Sciences to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 34 times , with 6 in the last month . More information about this article can be viewed below.

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This article describes the exposure of freshly laid bobwhite quail eggs to one of five thermal regimes during a 12 day pre-incubation period.

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17 p.

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Abstract: Global warming is likely to alter reproductive success of ground-nesting birds that lay eggs normally left unattended for days or even weeks before actual parental incubation, especially in already warm climates. The native North American bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) is such a species, and pre-incubation quail eggs may experience temperatures ≥45ºC. Yet, almost nothing is known about embryonic survival after such high pre-incubation temperatures. Freshly laid bobwhite quail eggs were exposed during a 12 day pre-incubation period to one of five thermal regimes: low oscillating temperatures (25±40ºC, mean = 28.9ºC), high oscillating temperatures (30±45ºC, mean = 33.9ºC), low constant temperatures (28.85ºC), high constant temperatures (mean = 33.9ºC), or commercially employed pre-incubation temperatures (20ºC). After treatment, eggs were then incubated at a standard 37.5ºC to determine subsequent effects on embryonic development rate, survival, water loss, hatching, and embryonic oxygen consumption. Both quantity of heating degree hours during pre-incubation and specific thermal regime (oscillating vs. non-oscillating) profoundly affected important aspects of embryo survival and indices of development and growth Pre-incubation quail eggs showed a remarkable tolerance to constant high temperatures (up to 45ºC), surviving for 4.5±0.3 days of subsequent incubation, but high oscillating pre-incubation temperature increased embryo survival (mean survival 12.2±1.8 days) and led to more rapid development than high constant temperature (maximum 38.5ºC), even though both groups experienced the same total heating degree-hours. Oxygen consumption was ~200±300 μl O₂ egg min⁻¹ at hatching in all groups, and was not affected by pre-incubation conditions. Oscillating temperatures, which are the norm for pre-incubation quail eggs in their natural habitat, thus enhanced survival at higher temperatures. However, a 5ºC increase in pre-incubation temperature, which equates to the predicted long-term increases of 5ÊC or more, nonetheless reduced hatching rate by approximately 50%. Thus, while preincubation bobwhite eggs may be resiliant to moderate oscillating temperature increases, global warming will likely severely impact wild bobwhite quail populations, especially in their strongholds in southern latitudes.

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  • PLOS ONE, 2017. San Francisco, CA: Public Library of Science

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  • Publication Title: PLOS ONE
  • Volume: 12
  • Issue: 9
  • Pages: 1-17
  • Peer Reviewed: Yes

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  • March 31, 2017

Accepted Date

  • August 28, 2017

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  • September 19, 2017

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  • Sept. 29, 2017, 9:53 a.m.

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Reyna, Kelly S. & Burggren, Warren W. Altered embryonic development in northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) induced by pre-incubation oscillatory thermal stresses mimicking global warming predictions, article, September 19, 2017; San Francisco, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc993946/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Arts and Sciences.