Metabolic Responses of Embryonic Sea Birds to Temperature

  • William R. Dawson


Surprisingly little information is available concerning metabolic responses of embryonic sea birds to temperature, despite the challenging thermal conditions under which many species nest. Knowledge of such responses should be useful in tracing fully the ontogeny of thermoregulation in these animals and in defining the thermal limits for development. It should also allow identification of acute effects of variations in egg temperature and any compensatory mechanisms that serve to damp these effects. Development of a comprehensive understanding of these topics for sea birds is a challenging task, for these animals comprise a group defined by habitat preference rather than taxonomic affinity. It easily includes more than half a dozen orders if it is broadly defined to include littoral as well as near-shore and pelagic birds, and transients as well as species that are resident in marine situations. This diverse group includes altricial, semi-altricial, semi-precocial, and precocial species, with all the physiological diversity that this implies. Despite these difficulties it seems worthwhile, within the framework of this symposium on the energetics of sea birds, to assemble information on embryonic responses to temperature so that we may begin to formulate meaningful questions for further investigation.


Domestic Fowl Avian Embryo Herring Gull Storm Petrel South Polar Skua 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • William R. Dawson
    • 1
  1. 1.Museum of Zoology and Division of Biological SciencesThe University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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