Ben C Sheldon

Learn More
In the face of continuous threats from parasites, hosts have evolved an elaborate series of preventative and controlling measures - the immune system - in order to reduce the fitness costs of parasitism. However, these measures do have associated costs. Viewing an individual's immune response to parasites as being subject to optimization in the face of(More)
The ease of obtaining genotypic data from wild populations has renewed interest in the relationship between individual genetic diversity and fitness-related traits (heterozygosity-fitness correlations, or HFC). Here we present a comprehensive meta-analysis of HFC studies using powerful multivariate techniques which account for nonindependence of data. We(More)
Rapid climate change has been implicated as a cause of evolution in poorly adapted populations. However, phenotypic plasticity provides the potential for organisms to respond rapidly and effectively to environmental change. Using a 47-year population study of the great tit (Parus major) in the United Kingdom, we show that individual adjustment of behavior(More)
Comparative studies of the genetic architecture of different types of traits were initially prompted by the expectation that traits under strong directional selection (fitness traits) should have lower levels of genetic variability than those mainly under weak stabilizing selection (nonfitness traits). Hence, early comparative studies revealing lower(More)
The development of molecular genetic screening techniques for avian blood parasites has revealed many novel aspects of their ecology, including greatly elevated diversity and complex host-parasite relationships. Many previous studies of malaria in birds have treated single study populations as spatially homogeneous with respect to the likelihood of(More)
Hybridization in natural populations is strongly selected against when hybrid offspring have reduced fitness. Here we show that, paradoxically, pairing with another species may offer the best fitness return for an individual, despite reduced fitness of hybrid offspring. Two mechanisms reduce the costs to female collared flycatchers of pairing with male pied(More)
The causes and magnitude of inbreeding depression are of considerable importance for a wide range of issues in evolutionary and conservation biology, but we have only a limited understanding of inbreeding depression in natural populations. Here, we present a study of inbreeding in a large wild population of collared flycatchers (Ficedula albicollis).(More)
When the relative fitness of sons and daughters differs, sex-allocation theory predicts that it would be adaptive for individuals to adjust their investment in different sexes of offspring. Sex ratio adjustment by females in response to the sexual attractiveness of their mate would be an example of this. In vertebrates the existence of this form of sex(More)
1. Seasonal variation in environmental conditions is ubiquitous and can affect the spread of infectious diseases. Understanding seasonal patterns of disease incidence can help to identify mechanisms, such as the demography of hosts and vectors, which influence parasite transmission dynamics. 2. We examined seasonal variation in Plasmodium infection in a(More)