Jacqueline Lee Rose Hills
Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) and Gonadotropin Inhibitory Hormone (GnIH) Interactions Over Time In Birds That Exhibit Delayed Puberty
Delayed puberty is a reproductive strategy seen only in a few species of seasonally breeding birds. These birds go through puberty several years after reaching adult size unlike most birds that experience puberty right as adult size is reached. Little is known about the mechanism behind puberty, and even less is known about delayed puberty. To investigate why some species of bird experience delayed puberty, my project involves observing neuronal cell populations of two important reproductive hormones in the brains of California Gulls and Western Gulls, two species that display delayed puberty. These hormones are gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) and gonadotropin inhibitory hormone (GnIH) that regulate the reproductive status of an individual. I am attempting to understand the relationship between GnRH and GnIH as birds age, which will help uncover parts of the mystery behind delayed puberty.