In all vertebrates, mothers transfer variable amounts of hormones into eggs and embryos, which influence development and traits of offspring in later lives. In a recent study the researchers looked at the transferred hormones in different bird species eggs, and found a hundredfold difference in the thyroid hormones, which control development and growth in birds. Migratory and precocial bird species provide the highest levels of thyroid hormones to their offspring.
DNP, a weight loss agent withdrawn from the market in the late 1930s due to acute toxicity, has become increasingly popular in recent years through online illegal sales. A new study using a lifelong DNP treatment in an avian model found that while no obvious toxic effects were detected on the short to medium-term, DNP reduces lifespan by 20% on the long run.
Climate change pushes species distribution areas northward. However, the expansion of species ranges is not self-evident due to e.g. habitat degradation and unsustainable harvesting caused by human activities. A new study led from the University of Turku suggests that protected areas can facilitate wintering waterbird adaptation to climate warming by advancing their range shifts towards north.