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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)
We investigated levels of DNA damage in blood cells of barn swallows (Hirundo rustica) inhabiting the Chernobyl region to evaluate whether chronic exposure to low-level radioactive contamination continues to induce genetic damage in free-living populations of animals. Blood samples were obtained from barn swallows collected at sites with different(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)
Abstract Carotenoids perform important biological actions in animal tissues, including contributing antioxidant protection. However, the function of transmission of maternal carotenoids to bird eggs is still largely unknown. We made a yolk biopsy of yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis) eggs and found that the concentration of lutein declined with laying(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)
In avian species, maternal provisioning to the eggs is predicted to be more valuable for the offspring under adverse environmental conditions and intense sibling competition. However, studies manipulating both the amount of maternal pre-hatching resources and the harshness of post-hatching environment have seldom been performed to date. In this experimental(More)
The Chernobyl nuclear accident produced the largest unintended release of radionuclides in history, with dramatic consequences for humans and other organisms. Exposure to ionizing radiation is known to reduce circulating and stored levels of specific antioxidants in birds and humans, thus potentially increasing oxidative stress. However, overall effects of(More)