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Sperm cells are highly vulnerable to free radicals, and sperm quality and male fertility are critically affected by oxidative stress. Recently, sexual ornaments, particularly carotenoid-based colourful traits, have been proposed to depend on a male's capacity to resist oxidative stress, and thus to signal sperm quality. We conducted an experimental test of(More)
Stressful conditions experienced by individuals during their early development have long-term consequences on various life-history traits such as survival until first reproduction. Oxidative stress has been shown to affect various fitness-related traits and to influence key evolutionary trade-offs but whether an individual's ability to resist oxidative(More)
Parental investment entails a trade-off between the benefits of effort in current offspring and the costs to future reproduction. Long-lived species are predicted to be reluctant to increase parental effort to avoid affecting their survival. We tested this hypothesis in black-legged kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla by clipping flight feathers of experimental(More)
Oxidative stress has been suggested as a proximate cost of reproduction and hence as a major constraint in the evolution of life histories, and it is therefore thought that antioxidants alleviate the effects of reproductive effort on oxidative stress. Furthermore, carotenoid-based ornaments have been proposed to mirror male ability to resist oxidative(More)
Oxidative stress was recently demonstrated to affect several fitness-related traits and is now well recognized to shape animal life-history evolution. However, very little is known about how much resistance to oxidative stress is determined by genetic and environmental effects and hence about its potential for evolution, especially in wild populations. In(More)
BACKGROUND Evidence of multiple genetic criteria of mate choice is accumulating in numerous taxa. In many species, females have been shown to pair with genetically dissimilar mates or with extra-pair partners that are more genetically compatible than their social mates, thereby increasing their offsprings' heterozygosity which often correlates with(More)
When females copulate with multiple males the potential exists for female sperm choice. Females may increase the probability of being fertilized by preferred males by selectively retaining their sperm while ejecting the sperm of unfavoured males. An alternative criterion to male quality for female sperm choice may be sperm age because old sperm degrade and(More)
Mounting an immune response against pathogens incurs costs to organisms by its effects on important life-history traits, such as reproductive investment and survival. As shown recently, immune activation produces large amounts of reactive species and is suggested to induce oxidative stress. Sperm are highly susceptible to oxidative stress, which can(More)
Sperm aging is known to be detrimental to reproductive performance. However, this apparently general phenomenon has seldom been studied in an evolutionary context. The negative impact of sperm aging on parental fitness should constitute a strong selective pressure for adaptations to avoid its effects. We studied the impact of sperm aging on black-legged(More)
1. Maternal carotenoids in the egg yolk have been hypothesized to promote maturation of the immune system and protect against free radical damages. Depending on availability, mothers may thus influence offspring quality by depositing variable amounts of carotenoids into the eggs. Sex allocation theory predicts that in good quality environments, females(More)