Immune function as physiological mechanism of carry-over effects
In an animal’s life, different stages of a year are tightly connected. Events during one stage can influence the performance of individuals in subsequent stages. So-called ‘carry-over effects’ can strongly impact reproduction and survival, two central parameters in ecology, evolution and conservation.The physiological mechanisms underlying carry-over effects are poorly understood. Immune function, i.e. resistance to diseases or infections, is hypothesised as one important mediator. We are using current advances in the ability to measure physiological parameters of wild birds and cutting-edge tracking-technology to quantify the role of immune function as a physiological mechanism of carry-over effects. By combining experimental and correlative approaches in two different study set ups will we generate a new understanding of how immune function mediates carry-over effects.