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Malaria infection and feather growth rate predict reproductive success in house martins

Author:
  • Alfonso Marzal
  • Maribel Reviriego
  • Ignacio G. Hermosell
  • Javier Balbontin
  • Staffan Bensch
  • Carmen Relinque
  • Laura Rodriguez
  • Luz Garcia-Longoria
  • Florentino de Lope
Publishing year: 2013
Language: English
Pages: 853-861
Publication/Series: Oecologia
Volume: 171
Issue: 4
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Springer

Abstract english

Carry-over effects take place when events occurring in one season influence individual performance in a subsequent season. Blood parasites (e.g. Plasmodium and Haemoproteus) have strong negative effects on the body condition of their hosts and could slow the rate of feather growth on the wintering grounds. In turn, these winter moult costs could reduce reproductive success in the following breeding season. In house martins Delichon urbica captured and studied at a breeding site in Europe, we used ptilochronology to measure growth rate of tail feathers moulted on the winter range in Africa, and assessed infection status of blood parasites transmitted on the wintering grounds. We found a negative association between haemosporidian parasite infection status and inferred growth rate of tail feathers. A low feather growth rate and blood parasite infections were related to a delay in laying date in their European breeding quarters. In addition, clutch size and the number of fledglings were negatively related to a delayed laying date and blood parasite infection. These results stress the importance of blood parasites and feather growth rate as potentially mechanisms driving carry-over effects to explain fitness differences in wild populations of migratory birds.

Keywords

  • Biological Sciences
  • Carry-over effects
  • Delichon urbica
  • Haemoproteus
  • Host-parasite
  • interaction
  • Plasmodium

Other

Published
  • Malaria in birds
  • BECC
  • Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab
  • ISSN: 1432-1939
Staffan Bensch
E-mail: staffan [dot] bensch [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Professor

MEMEG

+46 46 222 42 92

E-C213

Sölvegatan 37, Lund

50

Head of unit

MEMEG

+46 46 222 42 92

E-C213

Sölvegatan 37, Lund

50

Research group

Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab

Projects

Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD students, main supervisor

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