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Developmental stressors often have long-term fitness consequences, but linking offspring traits to fitness prospects has remained a challenge. Telomere length predicts mortality in adult birds, and may provide a link between developmental conditions and fitness prospects. Here, we examine the effects of manipulated brood size on growth, telomere dynamics(More)
Females often select mates on the basis of sexual signals, which can be reliable indicators of male quality when the costliness of these signals prevents cheating. The immunocompetence handicap hypothesis (ICHH) provides a mechanistic explanation of these costs, by proposing a trade-off between immune function and sexual displays. This trade-off arises(More)
Biomarkers of aging are essential to predict mortality and aging-related diseases. Paradoxically, age itself imposes a limitation on the use of known biomarkers of aging because their associations with mortality generally diminish with age. How this pattern arises is, however, not understood. With meta-analysis we show that human leucocyte telomere length(More)
Food and sex often go hand in hand because of the nutritional cost of reproduction. For Drosophila melanogaster females, this relationship is especially intimate because their offspring develop on food. Since yeast and sugars are important nutritional pillars for Drosophila, availability of these foods should inform female reproductive behaviours. Yet(More)
Optimality theories of ageing predict that the balance between reproductive effort and somatic maintenance determines the rate of ageing. Laboratory studies find that increased reproductive effort shortens lifespan, but through increased short-term mortality rather than ageing. In contrast, high fecundity in early life is associated with accelerated(More)
The phenomenon of primary offspring sex ratio adjustment is being extensively studied, yet knowledge of the underlying proximate mechanism is still mainly hypothetical. Female birds are the heterogametic sex, thus potentially controlling the sex of the gamete to be fertilized. In several bird species, independent studies showed effects of maternal plasma(More)
Molecular studies of aging aim to unravel the cause(s) of aging bottom-up, but linking these mechanisms to organismal level processes remains a challenge. We propose that complementary top-down data-directed modelling of organismal level empirical findings may contribute to developing these links. To this end, we explore the heuristic value of redundancy(More)
Oxidative stress shortens telomeres in cell culture, but whether oxidative stress explains variation in telomere shortening in vivo at physiological oxidative stress levels is not well known. We therefore tested for correlations between six oxidative stress markers and telomere attrition in nestling birds (jackdaws Corvus monedula) that show a high rate of(More)
Food availability modulates survival in interaction with (for example) competition, disease and predators, but to what extent food availability in natural populations affects survival independent of these factors is not well known. We tested the effect of food availability on lifespan and actuarial senescence in a large population of captive zebra finches(More)
Behaviour may contribute to changes in fitness prospects with age, for example through effects of age-dependent social dominance on resource access. Older individuals often have higher dominance rank, which may reflect a longer lifespan of dominants and/or an increase in social dominance with age. In the latter case, increasing dominance could mitigate(More)
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