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Type: Journal article
Title: A comparison of indices and measured values of eggshell thickness of different shell regions using museum eggs of 230 European bird species
Author: Maurer, G.
Portugal, S.
Cassey, P.
Citation: Ibis, 2012; 154(4):714-724
Publisher: British Ornithologists Union
Issue Date: 2012
ISSN: 0019-1019
Statement of
Gollo Maurer, Steven J. Portugal and Phillip Cassey
Abstract: The thickness of avian eggshells is used to assess shell quality in wild and domestic species, as an indicator of environmental pollution and as an adaptive explanation for shell maculation. Both direct measurements and calculated eggshell thickness indices (ETI) are used in such research, yet this is the first study to quantify, across a large spectrum of bird families (and thus egg shapes), the correlation between measured thicknesses and ETI. Furthermore, few studies have quantified thickness variation across the entire length of the shell, although this variation may influence both gas transfer and embryonic development. We measured the thickness of 942 eggshells of 230 European bird species from the Class II material at the Natural History Museum, Tring, UK, both in the conventional manner, at the equator through the blowhole and, uniquely, after a single longitudinal, cut at its equator at the blunt and pointed ends. Over half of the samples revealed shell defects, cautioning against the indiscriminate use of museum specimens. Strong positive associations were found between species-specific means of shell thickness with each other and also with ETI, especially those derived from Schönwetter’s Handbuch der Oologie method, validating the interspecific comparative use of ETI. Thickness measurements and ETI factors are provided for all 230 species. Eggshells were usually thinner at the blunt end (the location of the air sac) than at the equator, but of equal thickness in passerine eggs. This difference was greatest in species producing elongate eggs and suggests that there is a functional significance of shell thickness variation among species that requires further investigation.
Keywords: Biomonitor; DDT; embryonic development; micrometer; Schonwetter
Rights: © 2012 The Authors Ibis © 2012 British Ornithologists' Union
RMID: 0020122166
DOI: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2012.01244.x
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications
Environment Institute Leaders publications

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