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Ectoparasites help to maintain variation in cell-mediated immunity in the blue tit-hen flea system
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Animal Ecology.
2009 (English)In: Evolutionary Ecology Research, ISSN 1522-0613, E-ISSN 1937-3791, Vol. 11, no 1, 79-94 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Hypothesis: Host-parasite interactions have the potential to maintain genetic variation, especially in traits related to defence against parasites. Organism: Blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) nestlings. Methods: Rear nestlings in artificially created conditions of low and high abundance of ectoparasitic hen fleas (Ceratophyllus gallinae). Cross-foster siblings between these environments to estimate parasite-induced genotype-environment interactions. Measure components of phenotypic variance in morphology (tarsus length and body mass) and in immune defence (plasma immunoglobulins and cell-mediated immunocompetence). Results: Hen flea infestation lowered growth, cell-mediated immunocompetence, and haematocrit. Genotype-environment interactions were observed in cell-mediated immunocompetence, body mass, and haematocrit, with significant crossing reaction norms for cell-mediated immunocompetence and haematocrit. Immunoglobulin concentrations were unaffected by fleas. Thus, host-parasite interactions constrain the expression and evolvability of some traits, but also create genotype-environment interactions with the potential to maintain genetic variation in immune defence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 11, no 1, 79-94 p.
Keyword [en]
ecological immunology (immunoecology), ectoparasites, evolutionary quantitative genetics, reciprocal cross-fostering, restricted maximum likelihood linear mixed model
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-130792ISI: 000263624900005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-130792DiVA: diva2:351221
Available from: 2010-09-13 Created: 2010-09-13 Last updated: 2016-04-18Bibliographically approved

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