Abstracts (first author)
Matching or mismatching: effects of maternal heat stress are modified by postnatal heat stress in Japanese quailsPDF
The environment can influence an animal phenotype during various stages of an animal’s life but during embryonic development animals are especially susceptible to changes in their environment due to the speed and complexity of development at this time in life. Changes in the prenatal environment often reflect and are due to changes in the parent’s environment. Phenotypic alterations induced during this early period in life are therefore particularly intriguing because they demonstrate that environmental changes in one generation can influence the development and phenotypic expression in the next generation. Currently researchers are exploring the role of maternal stress during egg formation in oviparous species as an inducer of phenotypic plasticity in offspring. Maternal stress is often reported to reduce the phenotypic quality of the offspring, but it has also been suggested that these maternal effects might prepare offspring for a stressful environment. However, in most studies the environmental conditions in the postnatal environment in which the offspring are raised and tested are ignored. In this study Japanese quail females and their offspring were either heat stressed (35 °C) or housed at control temperature (22 °C) in a split-brood design. Offspring matched to their mother’s hot environment had a significantly faster corticosterone response to 10 min. intense heat stress (40 °C) and a significantly faster recovery than offspring of control mothers. Offspring matched to their mother’s environment had significantly lower but similar corticosterone response to a single ACTH injection and significantly higher but similar respiratory quotient compared to offspring mismatched to their mother’s environment. These results demonstrate that some effects of maternal heat stress are not express if offspring are raised in the same stressful environment and that maternal heat stress might prepare offspring for high temperatures in their postnatal environment.