David Gómez Blanco
I am interested in a wide range of questions related to the interplay of evolutionary and behavioural ecology. I focus my research in the role that telomeres play in life history trade-offs at evolutionary level.
Previous results suggest that disease and physiological stress acelerate senescence by telomeres shortening and both have effects on Darwinian fitness due to shorter lifespan and worse offspring quality. Therefore, my main objective is to investigate how mild disease, immune responses and aging are related with reproductive performances and life history strategies in birds.
My research is based on a wild population of great reed warblers (Acrocephalus arundinaceus), as part of an ongoing long-term study at Lake Kvismaren, Orebro, in southern central Sweden.
During my doctoral studies, I will analyse longitudinal data of early life telomere length (eTL) and telomere length dynamics to investigate whether eTL predicts malaria infection or disease recovery, as well as how infected/recovered birds differ in telomere shortening and aging. Also, I will study reproductive performance and Darwinian fitness data to test how disease recovered versus chronically infected great reed warblers differ with in reproductive and life history strategies (e.g., pace-of-life hypothesis).