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Avian malaria in collared flycatchers: fitness consequences and a relation to a secondary sexual character
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal Ecology. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Biology Education Centre. (Prof. Lars Gustafsson)
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

All organisms have limited amounts of energy, time and nutrients to spend during their lifetime and this gives rise to trade-offs in life histories. It has been shown that increased reproductive effort can reduce parasite resistance and specific immune response in birds. This suggest that there is a trade-off between spending energy on immune system and reproductive effort. Within birds there are several suitable blood parasites that can be used as model organisms for the study of parasite - host interactions, of which 3 genera of protozoan haemosporidians which one could call malaria parasites. Since a few years back it is possible to detect and investigate with high accuracy and speed whether individual organisms are infected with blood parasites or not. Still, there is not sufficient knowledge about how avian malaria parasites affect their host's fitness. In this study I investigated how reproductive success of collared flycatchers is affected by the presence of malaria and if a certain secondary sexual character is correlated to infection. I also used old biometrical data to see if there is a correlation between size as nestling and malaria infection as old.

I found that females infected with avian malaria have a lower reproductive success, and that adult males infected with malaria have on average less white on their 3rd tertial feather than non-infected ones. I also show that infected individuals were smaller as 12 day nestlings than non-infected individuals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-152000OAI: diva2:412010
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2011-04-26 Created: 2011-04-20 Last updated: 2011-04-26Bibliographically approved

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