Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

No Trade-Offs between Lipid Stores and Structural Growth in Juvenile Zebra Finches Undergoing Nutritional Stress during Development

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



Buddhamas Kriengwatana, Scott A MacDougall-Shackleton

School/Research organisations


Nutritional conditions during development can affect both structural growth and body fat deposition. Body size and body fat each have significant consequences for fitness, yet few studies have investigated how young birds balance resource allocation between structural growth and fat reserves. We raised zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) in consistently high-or low-food conditions until posthatch day 35 (PHD 35). From this age until PHD 62, half of the birds in each condition were switched to the other treatment, while the rest were maintained on the same conditions. Body mass, lean mass, body fat, and tarsus length were measured before (PHD 25) and after (PHD 55) nutritional independence. Precise measures of body composition were obtained noninvasively at both ages using quantitative magnetic resonance analysis. At PHD 25, birds in the high treatment had more body mass and lean mass than birds in the low treatment, but nutritional treatments did not affect body fat at this age. Unexpectedly, the strategic response of birds that experienced deteriorating food availability was to maintain body mass by increasing body fat and decreasing lean mass. Birds that experienced an improvement in food availability significantly increased body mass by increasing lean mass and not body fat. Birds maintained on a low diet throughout did not significantly increase body mass, lean mass, or body fat. Tarsus length was not affected by nutritional manipulations. These findings indicate that nutritional stress did not affect the relationship between skeletal growth and body fat deposition because lean mass, body fat, and tarsus length can be independently regulated at different developmental periods depending on nutritional conditions.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-215
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiological and Biochemical Zoology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Research areas


Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by journal

  1. Adiponectin and insulin in gray seals during suckling and fasting: relationship with nutritional state and body mass during nursing in mothers and pups

    Bennett, K. A., Hughes, J., Stamatas, S., Brand, S., Foster, N. L., Moss, S. E. W. & Pomeroy, P. P., May 2015, In : Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 88, 3, p. 295-310 16 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Juvenile Nutritional Stress Affects Growth Rate, Adult Organ Mass, and Innate Immune Function in Zebra Finches (Taeniopygia guttata)

    Kriengwatana, B., Wada, H., Macmillan, A. & MacDougall-Shackleton, S. A., 1 Nov 2013, In : Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 86, 6, p. 769-781 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Selective blubber fatty acid mobilization in lactating gray seals (Halichoerus grypus)

    Arriola, A., Biuw, M., Walton, M. J., Moss, S. & Pomeroy, P., 1 Jul 2013, In : Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 86, 4, p. 441-450 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Effects of Age and Body Mass on Development of Diving Capabilities of Gray Seal Pups: Costs and Benefits of the Postweaning Fast

    Bennett, K. A., McConnell, B. J., Moss, S. E. W., Speakman, J. R., Pomeroy, P. & Fedak, M. A., Nov 2010, In : Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 83, 6, p. 911-923 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 249006308