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We know very little about physiological constraints on the evolution of life-history traits in general, and, in particular, about physiological and molecular adjustments that accompany the evolution of variation in lifespan. Identifying mechanisms that underlie adaptive variation in lifespan should provide insight into the evolution of trade-offs between(More)
Recent studies of several species have reported a latitudinal cline in the circadian clock gene, Clock, which influences rhythms in both physiology and behavior. Latitudinal variation in this gene may hence reflect local adaptation to seasonal variation. In some bird populations, there is also an among-individual association between Clock poly-Q genotype(More)
We examined whether strategies of reproductive allocation may reduce long-term immunocompetence through the effects of manipulated effort on secondary or acquired immunity. We tested whether increased reproductive effort leads to reduced immune function and survival by manipulating brood size in tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) and exposing breeding(More)
The phylogeny of swallows was reconstructed by comparing segments of three genes, nuclear beta-fibrinogen intron 7 (betafib7), mitochondrial cytochrome b (cytb), and mitochondrial ND2, in a variety of combinations using maximum likelihood and Bayesian methods. betafib7 was sequenced for 47 species, cytb for 74 species, and ND2 for 61 species to yield(More)
Many animals use photoperiod cues to synchronize reproduction with environmental conditions and thereby improve their reproductive success. The circadian clock, which creates endogenous behavioral and physiological rhythms typically entrained to photoperiod, is well characterized at the molecular level. Recent work provided evidence for an association(More)
In seasonal environments, vertebrates are generally thought to time their reproduction so offspring are raised during the peak of food abundance. The mismatch hypothesis predicts that reproductive success is maximized when animals synchronize their reproduction with the food supply. Understanding the mechanisms influencing the timing of reproduction has(More)
To set the stage for historical analyses of the ecology and behavior of tree swallows and their allies (genus Tachycineta), we reconstructed the phylogeny of the nine Tachycineta species by comparing DNA sequences of six mitochondrial genes: Cytochrome b (990 base pairs), the second subunit of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide dehydrogenase (839 base(More)
The offspring of birds and mammals solicit food from their parents by a combination of movements and vocalizations that have come to be known collectively as 'begging'. Recently, begging has most often been viewed as an honest signal of offspring need. Yet, if offspring learn to adjust their begging efforts to the level that rewards them most, begging(More)
A wide diversity of free-living organisms show increases in mortality rates and/or decreases in reproductive success with advancing age. However, the physiological mechanisms underlying these demographic patterns of senescence are poorly understood. Immunosenescence, the age-related deterioration of immune function, is well documented in humans and(More)