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

Citation

Reyna, Kelly S.; Burggren, Warren W. (2018), Data from: Altered embryonic development in northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) induced by pre-incubation oscillatory thermal stresses mimicking global warming predictions, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.mb622

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 >45°C. 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 (25-40°C, mean=28.9°C), high oscillating temperatures (30-45°C, mean=33.9°C), low constant temperatures (28.85°C), high constant temperatures (mean=33.9°C), or commercially employed pre-incubation temperatures (20°C). After treatment, eggs were then incubated at a standard 37.5°C 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 45°C), 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 5°C increase in pre-incubation temperature, which equates to the predicted long-term increases of 5°C or more, nonetheless reduced hatching rate by approximately 50%. Thus, while pre-incubation 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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Location

United States
Mexico