In mammals, reproduction involves only one sperm entering the egg, and penetration of the egg by more than one sperm is lethal. However, for most bird species penetration of the ovum by multiple sperm (a process called polyspermy) is required for successful reproduction. New research published in Proceedings B demonstrates how important this process is for embryo development and survival.
I met with lead author Dr Nicola Hemmings at the University of Sheffield to find out more about this process, and how her research investigated polyspermy in birds. In the below video we discuss this research and Dr Hemmings describes real life examples where female manipulation of the number of sperm reaching the ovum can come in handy.
You can read the full article online here.