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Immune function in a free-living bird varies over the annual cycle, but seasonal patterns differ between years

Hegemann, Arne LU ; Matson, Kevin D.; Both, Christiaan and Tieleman, B. Irene (2012) In Oecologia 170(3). p.605-618
Abstract
A central hypothesis of eco-immunology proposes trade-offs between immune defences and competing physiological and behavioural processes, leading to immunological variation within and among annual-cycle stages, as has been revealed for some species. However, few studies have simultaneously investigated patterns of multiple immune indices over the entire annual cycle in free-living birds, and none has investigated the consistency of seasonal patterns across multiple years. We quantified lysis, agglutination, haptoglobin, leukocyte profiles, and body mass in free-living skylarks (Alauda arvensis) through two complete annual cycles and within and between four breeding seasons. The skylarks' annual cycle is characterised by annually repeated... (More)
A central hypothesis of eco-immunology proposes trade-offs between immune defences and competing physiological and behavioural processes, leading to immunological variation within and among annual-cycle stages, as has been revealed for some species. However, few studies have simultaneously investigated patterns of multiple immune indices over the entire annual cycle in free-living birds, and none has investigated the consistency of seasonal patterns across multiple years. We quantified lysis, agglutination, haptoglobin, leukocyte profiles, and body mass in free-living skylarks (Alauda arvensis) through two complete annual cycles and within and between four breeding seasons. The skylarks' annual cycle is characterised by annually repeated changes in energy and time budgets, social structure and diet. If trade-offs relating to these cyclic changes shape evolution, predictable intra-annual immune patterns may result. Alternatively, intra-annual immune patterns may vary among years if fluctuating environmental changes affect the cost-benefit balances of immune function. We found significant variation in immune indices and body mass across the annual cycle, and these patterns differed between years. Immune parameters differed between four breeding seasons, and in all years, lysis and agglutination increased as the season progressed independent of average levels. Population-level patterns (intra-annual, inter-annual, within breeding season) were consistent with within-individual patterns based on repeated measurements. We found little evidence for sex differences, and only haptoglobin was correlated (negatively) with body mass. We conclude that immune modulation is not simply a pre-programmed phenomenon that reflects predictable ecological changes. Instead, fluctuating environmental conditions that vary among years likely contribute to the immunological variation that we observed. (Less)
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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Ecoimmunology, Immunity, Life cycle, Seasonality, Trade-off
in
Oecologia
volume
170
issue
3
pages
605 - 618
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • wos:000309866200002
  • scopus:84867570231
ISSN
1432-1939
DOI
10.1007/s00442-012-2339-3
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
76e3454d-ba94-42b7-ae81-f8b676955d8c (old id 4732069)
date added to LUP
2014-10-30 09:21:36
date last changed
2017-10-01 04:27:27
@article{76e3454d-ba94-42b7-ae81-f8b676955d8c,
  abstract     = {A central hypothesis of eco-immunology proposes trade-offs between immune defences and competing physiological and behavioural processes, leading to immunological variation within and among annual-cycle stages, as has been revealed for some species. However, few studies have simultaneously investigated patterns of multiple immune indices over the entire annual cycle in free-living birds, and none has investigated the consistency of seasonal patterns across multiple years. We quantified lysis, agglutination, haptoglobin, leukocyte profiles, and body mass in free-living skylarks (Alauda arvensis) through two complete annual cycles and within and between four breeding seasons. The skylarks' annual cycle is characterised by annually repeated changes in energy and time budgets, social structure and diet. If trade-offs relating to these cyclic changes shape evolution, predictable intra-annual immune patterns may result. Alternatively, intra-annual immune patterns may vary among years if fluctuating environmental changes affect the cost-benefit balances of immune function. We found significant variation in immune indices and body mass across the annual cycle, and these patterns differed between years. Immune parameters differed between four breeding seasons, and in all years, lysis and agglutination increased as the season progressed independent of average levels. Population-level patterns (intra-annual, inter-annual, within breeding season) were consistent with within-individual patterns based on repeated measurements. We found little evidence for sex differences, and only haptoglobin was correlated (negatively) with body mass. We conclude that immune modulation is not simply a pre-programmed phenomenon that reflects predictable ecological changes. Instead, fluctuating environmental conditions that vary among years likely contribute to the immunological variation that we observed.},
  author       = {Hegemann, Arne and Matson, Kevin D. and Both, Christiaan and Tieleman, B. Irene},
  issn         = {1432-1939},
  keyword      = {Ecoimmunology,Immunity,Life cycle,Seasonality,Trade-off},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {605--618},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Oecologia},
  title        = {Immune function in a free-living bird varies over the annual cycle, but seasonal patterns differ between years},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-012-2339-3},
  volume       = {170},
  year         = {2012},
}