Barbara Tschirren

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Many vertebrates use carotenoid-based signals in social or sexual interactions. Honest signalling via carotenoids implies some limitation of carotenoid-based colour expression among phenotypes in the wild, and at least five limiting proximate mechanisms have been hypothesized. Limitation may arise by carotenoid-availability, genetic constraints, body(More)
Carotenoid-based colours are widespread in animals and are used as signals in intra- and interspecific communication. In nestling birds, the carotenoids used for feather pigmentation may derive via three pathways: (1) via maternal transfer to egg yolk; (2) via paternal feeds early after hatching when females are mainly brooding; or (3) via feeds from both(More)
1. Parasites can affect host fitness, provoke host responses, and thereby mediate host life history evolution. As life history strategies are often sex-specific, immunological or behavioural responses of the host aiming to reduce the impact of parasites may be sexually dimorphic, e.g. as a consequence of sex differences in the resource allocation tradeoff(More)
BARBARA TSCHIRREN*, VERENA SALADIN*, PATRICK S. FITZE†, HUBERT SCHWABL‡ and HEINZ RICHNER* * Evolutionary Ecology Group, Zoological Institute, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland; † Behavioural Ecology Group, Zoology Department, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK; and ‡ School of Biological Sciences, Centre for Reproductive Biology,(More)
Theory suggests that carotenoid-based signals are used in animal communication because they contain specific information about parasite resistance or immunocompetence. This implies that honesty of carotenoid-based signals is maintained by a trade-off between pigmentation and immune function for carotenoids, assuming that the carotenoids used for coloration(More)
Divergent selection pressures among populations can result not only in significant differentiation in morphology, physiology and behaviour, but also in how these traits are related to each other, thereby driving the processes of local adaptation and speciation. In the Australian zebra finch, we investigated whether domesticated stock, bred in captivity over(More)
Maternal yolk androgens can promote growth and competitive abilities of nestling birds but are also suggested to increase susceptibility to parasites or suppress immune function. We tested the hypothesis that females exposed to ectoparasites during egg formation will adjust the content of androgens in the yolk. We predicted that when anticipating high(More)
Carotenoid-based yellowish to red plumage colors are widespread visual signals used in sexual and social communication. To understand their ultimate signaling functions, it is important to identify the proximate mechanism promoting variation in coloration. Carotenoid-based colors combine structural and pigmentary components, but the importance of the(More)
While elaborate carotenoid-based traits in adult birds may have evolved as honest signals of individual quality in the context of sexual selection or other social interactions, the function of carotenoid-based colours in juveniles is less well understood. We investigated the hypothesis that carotenoid-based nestling colouration has evolved in response to(More)
Patterns of selection acting on immune defence genes have recently been the focus of considerable interest. Yet, when it comes to vertebrates, studies have mainly focused on the acquired branch of the immune system. Consequently, the direction and strength of selection acting on genes of the vertebrate innate immune defence remain poorly understood. Here,(More)