Dehydration during egg production alters egg composition and yolk immune function

George A. Brusch, Benoit Heulin, Dale Denardo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Parent-offspring conflicts occur when resources are limited for allocation, and, historically, energy has been the primary currency of focus when examining these trade-offs. Water is a fundamental resource that has received far less consideration for parent-offspring conflicts. Previous research suggests that, when water is limited, reproductive females are compromised in favor of developing embryos. However, these studies limited their assessments to standard metrics such as clutch size and mass. We tested the hypothesis that the mother-offspring conflict over limited water resources leads to finer scale morphological and physiological impacts on the eggs in Children's pythons (Antaresia childreni). We predicted that water deprivation during gravidity alters female investment into her eggs, impacting egg water content and shell development. Additionally, we predicted that the yolk in these dehydrated eggs would have enhanced immune performance metrics, as has been documented in dehydrated adults. We found that eggs from water-deprived females were dehydrated as indicated by reduced percent water and greater yolk osmolality compared to eggs from females that received ad libitum water. We also found that eggs from dehydrated mothers had thinner shells and higher water loss rates. The impacts were not entirely negative as dehydrated eggs had higher antimicrobial capabilities. Also, thinner and more permeability eggshells might allow for elevated rates of rehydration from nest substrate. Overall, by examining an array of egg traits, we demonstrated that dehydration of gravid females impacts the eggs, not just the females as previously reported. As a result, the mother-offspring conflicts are indeed two-sided.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)68-74
    Number of pages7
    JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology -Part A : Molecular and Integrative Physiology
    Volume227
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

    Fingerprint

    Egg Yolk
    Dehydration
    Eggs
    Ovum
    Water
    Chemical analysis
    Mothers
    Clutch Size
    Boidae
    Egg Shell
    Gravidity
    Water Deprivation
    Water Resources
    Clutches
    Resource Allocation
    Water resources
    Fluid Therapy
    Water content
    Osmolar Concentration
    Permeability

    Keywords

    • Hydration
    • Immunocompetence
    • Innate immunity
    • Maternal-offspring conflict
    • Osmotic challenge

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry
    • Physiology
    • Molecular Biology

    Cite this

    Dehydration during egg production alters egg composition and yolk immune function. / Brusch, George A.; Heulin, Benoit; Denardo, Dale.

    In: Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology -Part A : Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Vol. 227, 01.01.2019, p. 68-74.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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