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Are chronic avian haemosporidian infections costly in wild birds?

Muhammad, Asghar LU ; Hasselquist, Dennis LU and Bensch, Staffan LU (2011) In Journal of Avian Biology 42(6). p.530-537
Abstract
One group of commonly found parasites in birds, for which fitness consequences and effects on life history traits have been much debated are Haemosporidian blood parasites. In a long term study population of great reed warblers Acrocephalus arundinaceus in Sweden, previous studies have shown that the Haemosporidian blood parasites are in their chronic phase during the breeding season and that the fitness of infected and non-infected birds are similar. In the present study, we quantified parasite intensity (parasitemia) in 718 adults great reed warblers sampled between 1987 and 1998 for the three most common parasite species; Haemoproteus payevskyi (lineage GRW1), Plasmodium ashfordi (GRW2) and Plasmodium relictum (GRW4). We verified that... (More)
One group of commonly found parasites in birds, for which fitness consequences and effects on life history traits have been much debated are Haemosporidian blood parasites. In a long term study population of great reed warblers Acrocephalus arundinaceus in Sweden, previous studies have shown that the Haemosporidian blood parasites are in their chronic phase during the breeding season and that the fitness of infected and non-infected birds are similar. In the present study, we quantified parasite intensity (parasitemia) in 718 adults great reed warblers sampled between 1987 and 1998 for the three most common parasite species; Haemoproteus payevskyi (lineage GRW1), Plasmodium ashfordi (GRW2) and Plasmodium relictum (GRW4). We verified that the q-PCR method is accurately quantifying Haemoproteus payevskyi (GRW1) as it was highly correlated with the number of parasites seen under microscope. Frequency of mixed infections with two lineages was significantly higher than expected based on the prevalence of each of the three parasite lineages. The mean level of parasitemia was significantly different for the three lineages and individual birds had repeatable parasitemia levels between years. Females tended to have a higher parasitemia than males for all three parasite lineages combined. Females with higher GRW1 parasitemia tended to arrive later in spring to their breeding sites. There was a negative correlation between parasitemia and number of fledged offspring for GRW1, and a tendency for a negative correlation between GRW2 parasitemia and the proportion of recruiting offspring. Overall our results demonstrate that chronic Haemosporidian infections can have slight but significant effects on host life history traits, and therefore may act as important selective agents in wild bird populations. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Haemoproteus payevskyi, Plasmodium ashfordi, Plasmodium relictum, parasite infection, great reed warbler, Acrocephalus arundinacaeus, fitness
in
Journal of Avian Biology
volume
42
issue
6
pages
530 - 537
publisher
Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd
external identifiers
  • wos:000298731400009
  • scopus:84855299013
ISSN
0908-8857
DOI
10.1111/j.1600-048X.2011.05281.x
project
Malaria in birds
CAnMove
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
fe9c6acc-6df1-43bc-827c-e22c2893a274 (old id 2342999)
date added to LUP
2012-02-20 12:21:55
date last changed
2017-10-29 03:05:53
@article{fe9c6acc-6df1-43bc-827c-e22c2893a274,
  abstract     = {One group of commonly found parasites in birds, for which fitness consequences and effects on life history traits have been much debated are Haemosporidian blood parasites. In a long term study population of great reed warblers Acrocephalus arundinaceus in Sweden, previous studies have shown that the Haemosporidian blood parasites are in their chronic phase during the breeding season and that the fitness of infected and non-infected birds are similar. In the present study, we quantified parasite intensity (parasitemia) in 718 adults great reed warblers sampled between 1987 and 1998 for the three most common parasite species; Haemoproteus payevskyi (lineage GRW1), Plasmodium ashfordi (GRW2) and Plasmodium relictum (GRW4). We verified that the q-PCR method is accurately quantifying Haemoproteus payevskyi (GRW1) as it was highly correlated with the number of parasites seen under microscope. Frequency of mixed infections with two lineages was significantly higher than expected based on the prevalence of each of the three parasite lineages. The mean level of parasitemia was significantly different for the three lineages and individual birds had repeatable parasitemia levels between years. Females tended to have a higher parasitemia than males for all three parasite lineages combined. Females with higher GRW1 parasitemia tended to arrive later in spring to their breeding sites. There was a negative correlation between parasitemia and number of fledged offspring for GRW1, and a tendency for a negative correlation between GRW2 parasitemia and the proportion of recruiting offspring. Overall our results demonstrate that chronic Haemosporidian infections can have slight but significant effects on host life history traits, and therefore may act as important selective agents in wild bird populations.},
  author       = {Muhammad, Asghar and Hasselquist, Dennis and Bensch, Staffan},
  issn         = {0908-8857},
  keyword      = {Haemoproteus payevskyi,Plasmodium ashfordi,Plasmodium relictum,parasite infection,great reed warbler,Acrocephalus arundinacaeus,fitness},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {6},
  pages        = {530--537},
  publisher    = {Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd},
  series       = {Journal of Avian Biology},
  title        = {Are chronic avian haemosporidian infections costly in wild birds?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-048X.2011.05281.x},
  volume       = {42},
  year         = {2011},
}