Javascript is not activated in your browser. This website needs javascript activated to work properly.
You are here

Survival costs of reproduction in the blue tit (Parus caeruleus): a role for blood parasites?

  • Martin Stjernman
  • Lars Råberg
  • Jan-Åke Nilsson
Publishing year: 2004
Language: English
Pages: 2387-2394
Publication/Series: Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences
Volume: 271
Issue: 1555
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Royal Society

Abstract english

One of the central tenets in life-history theory is that there is a trade-off between current and future reproduction (i.e. a cost of reproduction). The mechanism for this cost of reproduction is, however, largely unknown. One hypothesis is that the high workload during reproduction compromises resistance to parasites and that the resulting increase in parasitaemia has negative effects on the prospects of future survival. Although empirical evidence for a negative relationship between reproductive effort and parasite resistance exists, the causal relationships between reproductive effort, parasite resistance and future reproduction are still unclear. We use a path analytical approach to investigate whether a change in parasite resistance (as measured by intensities of infections by the blood parasite Haemoproteus) after manipulation of reproductive effort, translates into altered survival in female blue tits. Our results show a negative relationship between reproductive effort and parasite resistance, although evident only in first-year breeders. Moreover, we found survival costs of reproduction in first-year breeders. These costs were, however, not mediated by the blood parasite studied.


  • Biological Sciences


  • Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab
  • ISSN: 1471-2954
Martin Stjernman
E-mail: martin [dot] stjernman [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se



+46 46 222 38 20



Research group

Biodiversity and Conservation Science


Predicting effects of the common agricultural policy on farmland birds

Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD students, assistant supervisor

Gabriel Norevik

Downloads & links