A method to determine the combined effects of climate change (temperature and humidity) and eggshell thickness on water loss from bird eggs
Veldsman, L. M.
MetadataShow full item record
Differences in bird eggshell thicknesses occur due to numerous factors, including thinning due to persistent organic pollutants. Not only does thinning weaken the shell; weaker shells combined with elevated ambient temperature and changes in humidities may result in changes in water loss rates from the egg contents. Therefore, thinner eggshells raise concern of water being lost faster than normal at lower relative humidities, which may affect hatching. To investigate the combined effects, we developed and tested an effective method that measures water loss through different thickness eggshells at controlled temperatures and relative humidities to assist in ascertaining the combined effects of climate change (temperature and humidity) and changes in eggshell thickness on bird reproduction. The fastest rate of loss was at 40% RH at 40 °C (0.1 mL/cm2/day), and the slowest was at 22 °C at 80% RH (0.02 mL/cm2/day). Eggshell thickness had a significant effect on water loss at all humidity treatments, except at the highest temperature and humidity treatment (80% RH and 40 °C). Temperature explained 40% of the variance, RH explained 20%, and interactions between temperature and humidity explained 15% of the variance (repeated-measures, two-way ANOVA). Generalized linear analyses revealed that both factors temperature and humidity contributed significantly in any two-way combinations. We have laid the ground for a system to test the combined effects of temperature and humidity changes associated with climate change and eggshell thinning associated with pollutants, on water loss across eggshells