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In the face of continuous threats from parasites, hosts have evolved an elaborate series of preventative and controlling measures - the immune system - in order to reduce the fitness costs of parasitism. However, these measures do have associated costs. Viewing an individual's immune response to parasites as being subject to optimization in the face of(More)
Evidence accumulates that telomere shortening reflects lifestyle and predicts remaining lifespan, but little is known of telomere dynamics and their relation to survival under natural conditions. We present longitudinal telomere data in free-living jackdaws (Corvus monedula) and test hypotheses on telomere shortening and survival. Telomeres in erythrocytes(More)
Oxidative metabolism has reactive oxygen species (ROS) as unavoidable by-products, and the damage ROS inflicts on DNA, proteins and lipids is considered to be a major agent of senescence. Increasing reproductive effort accelerates senescence, but whether reproductive effort is increased at the expense of protection against oxidative damage has not yet been(More)
Evolutionary questions regarding aging address patterns of within-individual change in traits during a lifetime. However, most studies report associations between age and, for example, reproduction based on cross-sectional comparisons, which may be confounded with progressive changes in phenotypic population composition. Unbiased estimation of patterns of(More)
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 their mates on the basis of the size or intensity of sexual ornaments, and it is thought that such traits are reliable indicators of male quality because the costliness of these traits prevents cheating. The immunocompetence handicap hypothesis is a recently proposed mechanistic explanation of these costs and states that males carry(More)
Deterioration of reproductive traits with age is observed in an increasing number of species. Although such deterioration is often attributed to reproductive senescence, a within-individual decline in reproductive success with age, few studies on wild animals have focused on direct fitness measures while accounting for selective disappearance and terminal(More)
Early developmental conditions can significantly influence the growth and survival of many animal species. We studied the consequences of exposure to corticosterone (CORT), a stress hormone, during the nestling stage on two behavioral traits (neophobia, social dominance) measured when the birds had reached independence. Nestling zebra finches (Taeniopygia(More)
Long-term effects of developmental conditions on health, longevity and other fitness components in humans are drawing increasing attention. In evolutionary ecology, such effects are of similar importance because of their role in the trade-off between quantity and quality of offspring. The central role of energy consumption is well documented for some(More)
Oxidative stress is suggested as a contributor to the ageing process. Knowledge of the relationship between age and energy expenditure may contribute to our understanding of ageing patterns, due to the link between oxygen consumption and free radical production. However, studies on basal metabolic rate (BMR) and age have generally been cross-sectional,(More)