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Effects of paternal deprivation on nestling zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata)

Giddens, Emily

Early interactions between parents and offspring have been shown to influence behavior development in avian offspring, which links to their fitness as adults. In bi-parental species, previous research has looked at what developmental alterations have occurred when the mother is removed from the nest during the developmental stage. By looking at the behaviors of the offspring when the father is removed during the nestling stage, we can better understand where the developmental alterations are stemming from. In this study, zebra finches were assigned to control and paternal removal groups, and from post-hatch day 1 through 18, we quantified important parent-offspring interactions that occurred during 1-hour long video recordings inside nests. We are still in the process of quantifying behaviors from all 19 nests, but we expect that the mother will attempt to compensate for the lack of paternal care in the paternal removal group, but not be fully successful. As a result, offspring will have fewer interactions with a parent in the paternal removal group. Determining the effects of paternal deprivation during the nestling stage will allow us to further understand the importance of bi-parental care during development.