starlings are common passerines in agricultural areas, and they nest readily
in nest boxes. We established a nest box population of these birds in 1995
at Agassiz (one hour's drive east of Vancouver) and have been using this
species to extend and validate our zebra finch studies to a free-living
population. A main focus of all our projects involving starlings has been
the physiological basis of egg and clutch size variation, the trade-off
between these, and the 'cost of reproduction'. Previous studies have involved
characterizing individual variation in reproductive traits (including physiology)
andmanipulation of hormone status
and immune system function in egg-laying birds. Presently we are assessing
the energetic costs of egg production by comparing resting metabolic rates
(RMR) of egg producing females with non-reproductive and chick-rearing
individuals. To understand the basis of energy consumption during a reproductive
event we are looking for possible links between RMR at all reproductive
stages and the size and physiological activity of the main body constituents.
We are also in the process of developing a technique to physiologically
manipulate reproductive effort using tamoxifen implants to manipulate egg
and clutch size, which will allow direct experimental tests of trade-offs
and the functional significance of variation in egg size.
here for a list of publications on Starlings by CWE researchers.
Graduate Students studying European