Jonathan D. Blount

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One hypothesis for why females in many animal species frequently prefer to mate with the most elaborately ornamented males predicts that availability of carotenoid pigments is a potentially limiting factor for both ornament expression and immune function. An implicit assumption of this hypothesis is that males that can afford to produce more elaborate(More)
The attrition of telomeres, the ends of eukaryote chromosomes, is thought to play an important role in cell deterioration with advancing age. The observed variation in telomere length among individuals of the same age is therefore thought to be related to variation in potential longevity. Studies of this relationship are hampered by the time scale over(More)
Egg quality is a phenotype of, and can profoundly influence fitness in, both mother and offspring. However, the physiological mechanisms that underlie this maternal effect are poorly understood. Carotenoids are hypothesized to enhance antioxidant activity and immune function, and are responsible for the pigmentation of egg yolk. The proximate basis and(More)
1. Carry-over effects occur when processes in one season influence the success of an individual in the following season. This phenomenon has the potential to explain a large amount of variation in individual fitness, but so far has only been described in a limited number of species. This is largely due to difficulties associated with tracking individuals(More)
1. Reactive oxygen species, produced as a by-product of normal metabolism, can cause intracellular damage and negatively impact on cell function. Such oxidative damage has been proposed as an evolutionarily important cost of growth and reproduction and as a mechanistic explanation for organismal senescence, although few tests of these ideas have occurred(More)
Early nutrition has recently been shown to have pervasive, downstream effects on adult life-history parameters including lifespan, but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Damage to biomolecules caused by oxidants, such as free radicals generated during metabolic processes, is widely recognized as a key contributor to somatic degeneration and(More)
Animals must allocate finite resources amongst competing demands. A suite of such trade-offs is thought to occur in the deployment of carotenoids, being widely responsible for sexual coloration and also important in antioxidant and immune defences. Experimental manipulation of dietary carotenoid availability is a useful approach for elucidating the(More)
Extravagant ornaments evolved to advertise their bearers' quality, the honesty of the signal being ensured by the cost paid to produce or maintain it. The oxidation handicap hypothesis (OHH) proposes that a main cost of testosterone-dependent ornamentation is oxidative stress, a condition whereby the production of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species(More)
The idea that resources are limited and animals can maximise fitness by trading costly activities off against one another forms the basis of life-history theory. Although investment in reproduction or growth negatively affects survival, the mechanisms underlying such trade-offs remain obscure. One plausible mechanism is oxidative damage to proteins, lipids,(More)
Life-history theory assumes that reproduction and lifespan are constrained by trade-offs which prevent their simultaneous increase. Recently, there has been considerable interest in the possibility that this cost of reproduction is mediated by oxidative stress. However, empirical tests of this theory have yielded equivocal support. We carried out a(More)