Presentation Title

Do Conditions on the Mexican Moulting Grounds Influence Carotenoid Content and Composition of Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii) Feathers?

Presenter Information

Kaitlin Sparrow

Location

House of Learning Library, 3rd floor

Start Date

18-3-2016 12:00 PM

End Date

18-3-2016 6:00 PM

Abstract

The brilliant yellow, orange, and red feathers exhibited by many songbirds results from the consumption and deposition of carotenoids in feather tissues. Variation in the brilliance of feather colouration is thus a result of the carotenoid content of those feathers, yet understanding exactly how different concentrations and compositions of carotenoids influence feather colour remains poorly understood. We developed a rapid and sensitive liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS) method to quantify carotenoids in bird feathers. This project focuses on three major carotenoids present in Bullock’s orioles: xanthophyll, canthaxanthin, and lutein. This study investigates how carotenoid-rich moulting grounds contribute to carotenoid content in feathers, using previously collected data from isotopic analysis. Using this information, we ultimately hope to understand how carotenoid content and composition reflect feather colour in feathers from the Bullock’s oriole, a species in which orange colouration is strongly linked to individual quality and reproductive success in males.

Department

Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Matt Reudink

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Mar 18th, 12:00 PM Mar 18th, 6:00 PM

Do Conditions on the Mexican Moulting Grounds Influence Carotenoid Content and Composition of Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii) Feathers?

House of Learning Library, 3rd floor

The brilliant yellow, orange, and red feathers exhibited by many songbirds results from the consumption and deposition of carotenoids in feather tissues. Variation in the brilliance of feather colouration is thus a result of the carotenoid content of those feathers, yet understanding exactly how different concentrations and compositions of carotenoids influence feather colour remains poorly understood. We developed a rapid and sensitive liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS) method to quantify carotenoids in bird feathers. This project focuses on three major carotenoids present in Bullock’s orioles: xanthophyll, canthaxanthin, and lutein. This study investigates how carotenoid-rich moulting grounds contribute to carotenoid content in feathers, using previously collected data from isotopic analysis. Using this information, we ultimately hope to understand how carotenoid content and composition reflect feather colour in feathers from the Bullock’s oriole, a species in which orange colouration is strongly linked to individual quality and reproductive success in males.