Prenatal Breathing: Regional Differences in Porosity and Thickness

Author(s): 

Selene Ayala, Undergraduate

Advisor(s):

Francisco Magdaleno, Psychology

Discipline:

Psychology

Abstract:

In this study, we examined porosity and thickness differences across various regions of an avian eggshell to better understand environmental impacts on prenatal development. Recent research has highlighted the importance of pores in prenatal development as they can affect the rate that gases are transferred between the developing embryo and the outside environment. The more pores an eggshell has, the shorter the incubation period becomes due to there being more gaseous exchange. Furthermore, the thickness of an eggshell may influence thermal properties, which can also affect the development of the embryo. We directly studied the egg characteristics of the American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) by analyzing eggshell differences among the apical, equatorial, and basal regions. Our analysis showed statistically significant differences among the three regions. These findings suggest that simple environmental conditions, such as egg positioning in the nest, could have life-changing impacts on the early prenatal development of an embryo.

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