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Experimental facilitation of heat loss affects work rate and innate immune function in a breeding passerine bird

Author:
  • Fredrik Andreasson
  • Arne Hegemann
  • Andreas Nord
  • Jan-Åke Nilsson
Publishing year: 2020
Language: English
Pages:
Publication/Series: Journal of Experimental Biology
Volume: 223
Issue: 8
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: The Company of Biologists Ltd

Abstract english

The capacity to get rid of excess heat produced during hard work is a possible constraint on parental effort during reproduction [heat dissipation limit (HDL) theory]. We released hard-working blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) from this constraint by experimentally removing ventral plumage. We then assessed whether this changed their reproductive effort (feeding rate and nestling size) and levels of self-maintenance (change in body mass and innate immune function). Feather-clipped females reduced the number of feeding visits and increased levels of constitutive innate immunity compared with unclipped females but did not fledge smaller nestlings. Thus, they increased self-maintenance without compromising current reproductive output. In contrast, feather clipping did not affect the number of feeding visits or innate immune function in males, despite increased heat loss rate. Our results show that analyses of physiological parameters, such as constitutive innate immune function, can be important when trying to understand sources of variation in investment in self-maintenance versus reproductive effort and that risk of overheating can influence innate immune function during reproduction.
The capacity to get rid of excess heat produced during hard work is a possible constraint on parental effort during reproduction [heat dissipation limit (HDL) theory]. We released hard-working blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) from this constraint by experimentally removing ventral plumage. We then assessed whether this changed their reproductive effort (feeding rate and nestling size) and levels of self-maintenance (change in body mass and innate immune function). Feather-clipped females reduced the number of feeding visits and increased levels of constitutive innate immunity compared with unclipped females but did not fledge smaller nestlings. Thus, they increased self-maintenance without compromising current reproductive output. In contrast, feather clipping did not affect the number of feeding visits or innate immune function in males, despite increased heat loss rate. Our results show that analyses of physiological parameters, such as constitutive innate immune function, can be important when trying to understand sources of variation in investment in self-maintenance versus reproductive effort and that risk of overheating can influence innate immune function during reproduction.

Keywords

  • Ecology
  • Zoology
  • bird
  • overheating
  • thermoregulation
  • heat dissipation
  • immune function
  • disease
  • bird
  • immune response
  • immune defense
  • overheating§
  • heat loss
  • thermoregulation
  • climate change

Other

Published
  • ISSN: 1477-9145
Fredrik-Andreasson
E-mail: fredrik [dot] andreasson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Doctoral student

Evolutionary ecology

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