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Evidence is accumulating that sex steroids in the eggs, besides affecting progeny phenotype and behavior in the short term, also have enduring effects until adulthood, when they may translate into differences in reproductive strategies and success. Maternal steroids transfer may therefore affect both agonistic behavior and mate choice decisions, either(More)
Spermatozoa vary greatly in size and shape among species across the animal kingdom. Postcopulatory sexual selection is thought to be the major evolutionary force driving this diversity. In contrast, less is known about how sperm size varies among populations of the same species. Here, we investigate geographic variation in sperm size in barn swallows(More)
BACKGROUND Normal and pathological processes entail the production of oxidative substances that can damage biological molecules and harm physiological functions. Organisms have evolved complex mechanisms of antioxidant defense, and any imbalance between oxidative challenge and antioxidant protection can depress fitness components and accelerate senescence.(More)
Phenological responses to climate change vary among taxa and across trophic levels. This can lead to a mismatch between the life cycles of ecologically interrelated populations (e.g. predators and prey), with negative consequences for population dynamics of some of the interacting species. Here we provide, to our knowledge, the first evidence that climate(More)
Success in competition for limiting parental resources depends on the interplay between parental decisions over allocation of care and offspring traits. Birth order, individual sex and sex of competing siblings are major candidates as determinants of success in sib-sib competition, but experimental studies focusing on the combined effect of these factors on(More)
BACKGROUND Radiation has negative effects on survival of animals including humans, although the generality of this claim is poorly documented under low-dose field conditions. Because females may suffer disproportionately from the effects of radiation on survival due to differences in sex roles during reproduction, radiation-induced mortality may result in(More)
Parents are expected to invest more in the sex that benefits most from the local environment. When the quality of breeding sites varies spatially and natal dispersal of males and females differs, parents in high-quality habitats should skew their progeny sex ratio in favor of the less dispersing sex. We tested this prediction in the barn swallow (Hirundo(More)
Reproduction is a demanding activity, since organisms must produce and, in some cases, protect and provision their progeny. Hence, a central tenet of life-history theory predicts that parents have to trade parental care against body maintenance. One physiological cost thought to be particularly important as a modulator of such trade-offs is oxidative(More)
BACKGROUND Following the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident, large amounts of radionuclides were emitted and spread in the environment. Animals living in such contaminated areas are predicted to suffer fitness costs including reductions in the quality and quantity of gametes. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS We studied whether aspermy and sperm quality(More)
Tree growth has been hypothesized to provide a reliable indicator of the state of the external environment. Elevated levels of background ionizing radiation may impair growth trajectories of trees by reducing the annual growth. Such effects of radiation may depend on the individual phenotype and interact with other environmental factors such as temperature(More)