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Populations of migratory birds have undergone marked declines, although the causes and mechanisms remain unknown. Because environmental effects on population dynamics are mediated by the effects of ecological factors on individuals, understanding changes in individual phenotypes in response to ecological conditions is key to understanding population trends.(More)
Telomeres are dynamic DNA-protein structures that form protective caps at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes. Although initial telomere length is partly genetically determined, subsequent accelerated telomere shortening has been linked to elevated levels of oxidative stress. Recent studies show that short telomere length alone is insufficient to induce(More)
Parasites often have detrimental effects on their hosts, and only host individuals able to cope with parasitism are likely to display induced or genetic resistance. Hosts may respond to parasitism by differential investment in offspring depending on their ability to cope with parasitism, because offspring that perform better than their siblings are(More)
Cutaneous monostome trematode Collyriclum faba (Bremser in Schmalz 1831) is a digenetic flatworm with unknown life cycle. Here, we provide the first compelling evidence that despite low prevalence of the parasite, European hirundines are parasitized by this species. First host record for sand martin (Riparia riparia) and first European host record for barn(More)
The ability of organisms to respond evolutionarily to rapid climatic change is poorly known. Secondary sexual characters show the potential for rapid evolutionary change, as evidenced by strong divergence among species and high evolvability. Here we show that the length of the outermost tail feathers of males of the socially monogamous barn swallow Hirundo(More)
Parent-offspring conflict may arise because the lifetime reproductive success of the parent is more influenced by its life span than by reproductive success during a particular reproductive event, while the fitness of an offspring depends firstly on its own survival as a juvenile and only subsequently on its own reproductive success. The naive immune system(More)
We tested two general models of flocking behaviour, namely the antipredation model and foraging efficiency model on mixed-species tit flocks (Parus spp.). After food addition the size of mixed-species flocks was significantly less than in the control samples. In the presence of extra food significantly more birds were observed either in monospecific flocks(More)
Global climate change is a major threat to biodiversity. Large-scale analyses have generally focused on the impacts of climate change on the geographic ranges of species and on phenology, the timing of ecological phenomena. We used long-term monitoring of the abundance of breeding birds across Europe and the United States to produce, for both regions,(More)
BACKGROUND Climate change potentially has important effects on distribution, abundance, transmission and virulence of parasites in wild populations of animals. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDING Here we analyzed paired information on 89 parasite populations for 24 species of bird hosts some years ago and again in 2010 with an average interval of 10 years. The(More)
Microsatellites mutate frequently by replication slippage. Empirical evidence shows that the probability of such slippage mutations may increase with the length of the repeat region as well as exposure to environmental mutagens, but the mutation rate can also differ between the male and female germline. It has been hypothesized that more intense sexual(More)