Embryonic oxygen enhances learning ability in hatchling lizards

Sun, Bao-Jun, Wang, Ting-Ting, Pike, David A., Liang, Liang, and Du, Wei-Guo (2014) Embryonic oxygen enhances learning ability in hatchling lizards. Frontiers in Zoology, 11. pp. 1-7.

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Abstract

Introduction: Producing smart offspring is an important fitness trait; individuals with enhanced cognitive ability should be more adept at responding to complex environmental demands. Cognitive ability can be influenced by conditions experienced during embryonic development. Although oxygen is necessary for embryonic development, availability can be limited within the nest environment because of substrate type, hydric conditions, and temperature. We do not yet understand, however, whether oxygen availability during embryonic development influences offspring fitness, especially cognitive ability. To address this question we incubated Mongolian Racerunner lizard (Eremias argus) eggs under hypoxic (12% O-2), normoxic (21% O-2), and hyperoxic conditions (30% O-2).

Results: Hypoxia not only slowed hatching time, but also resulted in constrained cognitive ability relative to hatchlings experiencing normoxic or hyperoxic incubation conditions. Oxygen did not influence hatching success, body size or sprint speed of hatchlings.

Conclusions: Oxygen availability during embryonic development has important influences on incubation duration and cognitive ability of hatchling lizards. This study provides the first evidence that oxygen availability during embryonic development can modify cognitive ability of oviparous reptiles.

Item ID: 33745
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1742-9994
Keywords: embryonic development, oxygen concentration, cognitive ability, Mongolian racerunner lizard, Eremias argus
Additional Information:

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Funders: Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)
Projects and Grants: CAS One Hundred Talents Program
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2014 09:33
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060203 Ecological Physiology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060303 Biological Adaptation @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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