Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Science (BS)
Paul D. Heideman
Randolph A. Coleman
Eric L. Bradley
Variation in reproduction is a characteristic of many different species. Reproductive variation can be caused by genetic variation, phenotypic plasticity, or a combination of both factors. The genes of an animal set up reaction norms, which include phenotypically plastic responses to different environmental cues. One environmental cue that has a powerful effect on reproductive variation in many mammalian species is photoperiod. Animals that are reproductively responsive to photoperiod demonstrate suppressed reproductive capacity in short, winter-like photoperiods. A second environmental cue that has a powerful effect on reproduction is food availability. The importance of food availability in reproductive variability is unsurprising, because increased energy is required for reproductive activity. Previous studies have shown that reduced food availability can result in suppressed reproduction. This study tests whether an abundance of high quality food can also effect reproductive variation. In this study, we tested reproductively photoresponsive male white-footed mice, Peromyscus leucopus, to determine if a high fat diet could overcome the reproductive suppression usually seen in short day photoperiods. This study also tested whether P. leucopus provided with a high fat diet consumed more kilocalories than mice provided with a defined control diet. Our results indicated increased caloric intake and gonad mass in mice provided with a high fat diet, but not to statistically significant levels.
Gibbons, Connie, "The Effect of Diet on Reproductive Inhibition in Photoresponsive White-Footed Mice (Peromyscus leucopus)" (2008). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 817.
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