We continue our series of reports from the various European Working Groups which our UK Branch Representatives attend:
Report on Working Group 6 - The Incubation and Fertility Research Group (IFRG).
The recent meeting of the IFRG was the biggest to date, with 67 delegates representing 11 different countries, 37% from Europe and 57% from the UK, gathering at St Edmunds College, Oxford in September 2001. This was despite cancellations from some of the US delegates who were unable to obtain flights following the horrific events in New York and Washington the week before.
During the two-day meeting a total of 31 papers were presented either as posters or oral presentations covering a wide range of topics from basic embryology to practical aspects of artificial incubation. The cornerstone of the meeting was a workshop on Fertilisation and Embryonic Development where six leading experts in their fields described the process from conception to hatch. The session started with Murray Baksts paper on Oviductal Sperm and Fertilisation in Poultry and the story was then taken up by Gaylene Fasenko who described The First 48 Hours of Embryonic Life: Development Before and After Oviposition. The next stages in development were described in the papers Some Critical Events in the Differentiation of the Avian Embryo from Ruth Bellairs and Development of Extra-embryonic Membranes and Fluid Compartments from Glenn Baggott. The final two papers were given by Matthius Starck on Developmental Plasticity in Embryonic and Post-hatching Growth in Birds and Vern Christensen (gamely presented by Dr Fasenko in his absence) on Development During the First 7 Days Post-hatching. To complement the workshop, a 60-page book entitled Perspectives in Fertilisation and Embryonic Development in Poultry was produced containing all six papers. The book is available, price £10 + p&p, from Dr Charles Deeming at the address below.
The other invited speaker at the conference was Mike Hansell who gave the keynote address Functional Aspects of Bird Nests. The paper described the range of nests structures built by birds and how they could be classified. Mike Hansell then showed how different types of nest architecture could be related to nest function such as predator avoidance, providing the correct incubation environment and reducing nest parasites.
In addition to the workshop and keynote address, there were 13 submitted oral presentations and 11 submitted posters from researchers in fields as varied as semen physiology, embryology, embryo physiology, natural incubation and artificial incubation management. Abstracts of the submitted papers will be published in International Hatchery Practice and Poultry and Avian Biology Reviews. The IFRG will meet again in Oxford in 2002. Further details can be obtained from Dr D. C. Deeming, 9 Eagle Drive, Welton, Lincoln, LN2 3LP, UK, email email@example.com or by visiting the IFRG website http://18.104.22.168/ifrg/ifrg.htm