Food for thought! Maternal food availability influences offspring decision making.

Huge congratulations to Kirke Munch who had the first paper from her PhD published in Biology Letters today. This paper, a collaborative venture with Dan Noble at the University of New South Wales, examined how the food available to female Liopholis whitii during pregnancy impacted her offspring’s ability to make decisions. Kirke found that offspring from mothers who experienced low food availability during pregnancy were better able to solve a predatory-based task; whereas, offspring from mothers who experienced high food availability were better able to solve a foraging-based task. Combined these findings suggest that stressors experienced in early life can evoke trade-offs in the developing offspring – potentially enhancing one cognitive domain at the expense of another. Click on the link below for the full story. Expect to hear a lot more from Kirke in the near future!!!

Munch, K.L., Noble, D.W.A., Botterill-James, T., Koolhof, I., Halliwell, B., Wapstra, E. and While, G. M. (2018) Maternal effects impact decision making in a viviparous lizard. 14: 20170556 Biology Letters.

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