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Geographical trends in the yolk carotenoid composition of the pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca).

Eeva T, Ruuskanen S, Salminen JP, Belskii E, Järvinen A, Kerimov A, Korpimäki E, Krams I, Moreno J, Morosinotto C, Mänd R, Orell M, Qvarnström A, Siitari H, Slater FM, Tilgar V, Visser ME, Winkel W, Zang H, Laaksonen T - Oecologia (2010)

Bottom Line: We found that the concentrations and proportions of lutein and some other xanthophylls in the egg yolks decreased from Central Europe northwards.Concentrations of β-carotene and zeaxanthin did not show any obvious geographical gradients.Further studies are needed to test the fitness effects of this geographical variation.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland. tapio.eeva@utu.fi

ABSTRACT
Carotenoids in the egg yolks of birds are considered to be important antioxidants and immune stimulants during the rapid growth of embryos. Yolk carotenoid composition is strongly affected by the carotenoid composition of the female's diet at the time of egg formation. Spatial and temporal differences in carotenoid availability may thus be reflected in yolk concentrations. To assess whether yolk carotenoid concentrations or carotenoid profiles show any large-scale geographical trends or differences among habitats, we collected yolk samples from 16 European populations of the pied flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca. We found that the concentrations and proportions of lutein and some other xanthophylls in the egg yolks decreased from Central Europe northwards. The most southern population (which is also the one found at the highest altitude) also showed relatively low carotenoid levels. Concentrations of β-carotene and zeaxanthin did not show any obvious geographical gradients. Egg yolks also contained proportionally more lutein and other xanthophylls in deciduous than in mixed or coniferous habitats. We suggest that latitudinal gradients in lutein and xanthophylls reflect the lower availability of lutein-rich food items in the northern F. hypoleuca populations and in montane southern populations, which start egg-laying earlier relative to tree phenology than the Central European populations. Similarly, among-habitat variation is likely to reflect the better availability of lutein-rich food in deciduous forests. Our study is the first to indicate that the concentration and profile of yolk carotenoids may show large-scale spatial variation among populations in different parts of the species' geographical range. Further studies are needed to test the fitness effects of this geographical variation.

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A map showing the 16 populations from which Ficedula hypoleuca egg samples were collected for yolk carotenoid analyses. Letters refer to populations listed in Table 1. Gray area illustrates the breeding range of F. hypoleuca in Europe (map modified from OUP 2003)
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Fig1: A map showing the 16 populations from which Ficedula hypoleuca egg samples were collected for yolk carotenoid analyses. Letters refer to populations listed in Table 1. Gray area illustrates the breeding range of F. hypoleuca in Europe (map modified from OUP 2003)

Mentions: Egg samples were collected from 16 different nest-box study populations across the breeding range of the pied flycatchers during spring and summer 2007 (Table 1; Fig. 1). The sampling area covers a large part of the breeding area of F. hypoleuca in Europe. In each population, the nest-boxes were checked regularly to monitor the progress of nesting. Since yolk carotenoid concentrations may vary systematically with laying order (Royle et al. 1999; Hõrak et al. 2002), we standardized our sampling by collecting the eggs in the middle of the laying sequence. When eggs were found in the nest, they were marked, and the nest was visited in the following days to collect the freshly laid third or fourth egg of each clutch.Table 1


Geographical trends in the yolk carotenoid composition of the pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca).

Eeva T, Ruuskanen S, Salminen JP, Belskii E, Järvinen A, Kerimov A, Korpimäki E, Krams I, Moreno J, Morosinotto C, Mänd R, Orell M, Qvarnström A, Siitari H, Slater FM, Tilgar V, Visser ME, Winkel W, Zang H, Laaksonen T - Oecologia (2010)

A map showing the 16 populations from which Ficedula hypoleuca egg samples were collected for yolk carotenoid analyses. Letters refer to populations listed in Table 1. Gray area illustrates the breeding range of F. hypoleuca in Europe (map modified from OUP 2003)
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3197936&req=5

Fig1: A map showing the 16 populations from which Ficedula hypoleuca egg samples were collected for yolk carotenoid analyses. Letters refer to populations listed in Table 1. Gray area illustrates the breeding range of F. hypoleuca in Europe (map modified from OUP 2003)
Mentions: Egg samples were collected from 16 different nest-box study populations across the breeding range of the pied flycatchers during spring and summer 2007 (Table 1; Fig. 1). The sampling area covers a large part of the breeding area of F. hypoleuca in Europe. In each population, the nest-boxes were checked regularly to monitor the progress of nesting. Since yolk carotenoid concentrations may vary systematically with laying order (Royle et al. 1999; Hõrak et al. 2002), we standardized our sampling by collecting the eggs in the middle of the laying sequence. When eggs were found in the nest, they were marked, and the nest was visited in the following days to collect the freshly laid third or fourth egg of each clutch.Table 1

Bottom Line: We found that the concentrations and proportions of lutein and some other xanthophylls in the egg yolks decreased from Central Europe northwards.Concentrations of β-carotene and zeaxanthin did not show any obvious geographical gradients.Further studies are needed to test the fitness effects of this geographical variation.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland. tapio.eeva@utu.fi

ABSTRACT
Carotenoids in the egg yolks of birds are considered to be important antioxidants and immune stimulants during the rapid growth of embryos. Yolk carotenoid composition is strongly affected by the carotenoid composition of the female's diet at the time of egg formation. Spatial and temporal differences in carotenoid availability may thus be reflected in yolk concentrations. To assess whether yolk carotenoid concentrations or carotenoid profiles show any large-scale geographical trends or differences among habitats, we collected yolk samples from 16 European populations of the pied flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca. We found that the concentrations and proportions of lutein and some other xanthophylls in the egg yolks decreased from Central Europe northwards. The most southern population (which is also the one found at the highest altitude) also showed relatively low carotenoid levels. Concentrations of β-carotene and zeaxanthin did not show any obvious geographical gradients. Egg yolks also contained proportionally more lutein and other xanthophylls in deciduous than in mixed or coniferous habitats. We suggest that latitudinal gradients in lutein and xanthophylls reflect the lower availability of lutein-rich food items in the northern F. hypoleuca populations and in montane southern populations, which start egg-laying earlier relative to tree phenology than the Central European populations. Similarly, among-habitat variation is likely to reflect the better availability of lutein-rich food in deciduous forests. Our study is the first to indicate that the concentration and profile of yolk carotenoids may show large-scale spatial variation among populations in different parts of the species' geographical range. Further studies are needed to test the fitness effects of this geographical variation.

Show MeSH