|Nutritional and genetic adaptation of galliform birds: implications for hand-rearing and restocking|
Grey partridge research has a long history at the University of Oulu. Former professors in Zoology, Lauri Siivonen, Seppo Sulkava and Erkki Pulliainen published several papers on the ecology of this species (Siivonen 1957, Sulkava 1964, Pulliainen 1965, 1968a,b,c, 1984). Since 1990 the wide field of grey partridge research, directed by Professor Raimo Hissa, has included studies on thermoregulation (Hohtola et al. 1991, Marjoniemi et al. 1995, Putaala et al. 1995, Marjoniemi & Hohtola 1999), feeding of broods in the wild (Itämies et al. 1996), morphological, physiological and behavioural disparities between wild and hand-reared birds (Putaala et al. 1993, Anttila et al. 1995, Putaala & Hissa 1995, Pyörnilä et al. 1998), and the survival and breeding success of hand-reared grey partridges after release (Putaala & Hissa 1993, 1998).
The capercaillie is also a well-studied species at the University of Oulu. Professor Pulliainen conducted several studies on the ecology of the capercaillie (Pulliainen 1978, 1979, 1981, Pulliainen & Tunkkari 1991). Professor Hissa and his collaborators have widely studied the temperature regulation and hormonal cycle of the capercaillie (Hissa et al. 1983a,b, 1990, Marjakangas et al. 1984, Rintamäki et al. 1984, Saarela et al. 1990).
The poor survival of hand-reared gamebirds after release into the wild is assumed to be at least partly a result of the ”poor quality” of released birds. In the ecophysiological part of this study, wild and hand-reared birds were compared with each other to find possible morphological and physiological disparities between them (I, IV). Feeding trials were conducted to examine the effects of the animal food on chick development (II), effects of an abrupt change in diet (III), and effects of a certain plant secondary compound – tannin – (V), on the nutritional status of the grey partridge. Finally, grey partridge populations throughout Europe were examined using mitochondrial DNA as a tool to find possible genetic explanation for the poor success of introductions (VI).