Michael Briga

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Life-history theory concerns the trade-offs that mold the patterns of investment by animals between reproduction, growth, and survival. It is widely recognized that physiology plays a role in the mediation of life-history trade-offs, but the details remain obscure. As life-history theory concerns aspects of investment in the soma that influence survival,(More)
With an increasing amount of data becoming available, comparative analyses have called attention to the associations between cooperative breeding, monogamy and relatedness. We focus here upon the association between allomaternal care and relatedness among females within a social unit. Previous studies found a positive association, but such results date back(More)
Sexual traits can serve as honest indicators of phenotypic quality when they are costly. Brightly coloured yellow to red traits, which are pigmented by carotenoids, are relatively common in birds, and feature in sexual selection. Carotenoids have been linked to immune and antioxidant function, and the trade-off between ornamentation and these physiological(More)
Long-term effects of unfavourable conditions during development can be expected to depend on the quality of the environment experienced by the same individuals during adulthood. Yet, in the majority of studies, long-term effects of early developmental conditions have been assessed under favourable adult conditions only. The immune system might be(More)
Long-lived mutants of model organisms have brought remarkable progress in our understanding of aging mechanisms. However, long-lived mutants are usually maintained in optimal standardized laboratory environments (SLEs), and it is not obvious to what extent insights from long-lived mutants in SLEs can be generalized to more natural environments. To address(More)
Climate variability is changing on multiple temporal scales, and little is known of the consequences of increases in short-term variability, particularly in endotherms. Using mortality data with high temporal resolution of zebra finches living in large outdoor aviaries (5 years, 359.220 bird-days), we show that mortality rate increases almost two-fold per(More)
Telomere length predicts survival in birds, and many stressors that presumably reduce fitness have also been linked to telomere length. The response to selection of telomere length will be largely determined by the heritability of this trait; however, little is known about the genetic component of telomere length variation in animals other than humans.(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)
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)
Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is often assumed to be indicative of the energy turnover at ambient temperatures (Ta) below the thermoneutral zone (SMR), but this assumption has remained largely untested. Using a new statistical approach, we quantified the consistency in nocturnal metabolic rate across a temperature range in zebra finches (N=3213 measurements on(More)