Hatching order influences birds' behaviour
Story supplied by LU Press Office
The hatching order of birds influences how they behave in adult life according to research from the Lancaster Environment Centre.
Dr Ian Hartley and Dr Mark Mainwaring (LEC) are the authors of the study in Animal Behaviour, which looked at how the birds' behaviour was affected by the way their parents cared for them as hatchlings.
They found that the youngest members of zebra finch broods are more adventurous than their older siblings in adult life.
Dr Hartley said that the study showed for the first time that hatching order influences birds' "behavioural repertoires" in adulthood.
Hatching eggs over a period of time, rather than all at once, is known as "hatching asynchrony" and occurs when eggs are incubated as soon as they are laid. For a zebra finch, this means that birds born up to four days apart can share the same nest and must compete for food.
The researchers experimentally controlled hatching synchrony within clutches, so that some clutches hatched simultaneously, while others hatched over a period of days. They then tested the behaviour of over one hundred offspring as adults. They found the youngest birds from asynchronously hatched clutches explored their environment more widely.
They measured how explorative the zebra finches were by recording how many times they visited bird feeders within an unfamiliar test aviary. They found that the youngest offspring in a brood approached the feeders significantly more often than their peers within a 30 minute period.
Researchers wanted to know how the method of rearing affected the behaviour of offspring beyond the nest, once they were living as independent adult birds. The results have implications for understanding how environmental stability might influence behaviours, and how flexible animals might be at coping with environmental change.
Thu 06 December 2012
Lancaster Physics graduates have produced an excellent description of the use of scientific method in the search for the Higgs Boson.
Fri 27 February 2015
Congratulations to fourth year Physics student, Jorden Senior, for winning first prize for his blog entry into The Ogden Trust’s annual ‘Blogden’ competition.
Fri 20 February 2015
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mark E Smith, recently visited CERN, to see the important research being conducted by Lancaster staff. Joined by Professor Peter Ratoff, Professor Roger Jones and Dr Graeme Burt who are leading CERN based projects, Professor Smith was given a VIP tour of CERN including the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) and the ATLAS Collaboration visitor centre.
Fri 20 February 2015
Lancaster University is enhancing its position as a global leader in cyber security research by agreeing links with Japan’s national ICT institute.
Wed 11 February 2015