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Variation in early-life telomere dynamics in a long-lived bird: links to environmental conditions and survival.

Watson, Hannah LU ; Bolton, Mark and Monaghan, Pat (2015) In Journal of Experimental Biology
Abstract
Conditions experienced during early life can have profound consequences for both short and long-term fitness. Variation in the natal environment has been shown to influence survival and reproductive performance of entire cohorts in wild vertebrate populations. Telomere dynamics potentially provide a link between the early environment and long-term fitness outcomes, yet we know little about how the environment can influence telomere dynamics in early life. We found that environmental conditions during growth have an important influence on early-life telomere length (TL) and attrition in nestlings of a long-lived bird, the European storm petrel Hydrobates pelagicus. Nestlings reared under unfavourable environmental conditions experienced... (More)
Conditions experienced during early life can have profound consequences for both short and long-term fitness. Variation in the natal environment has been shown to influence survival and reproductive performance of entire cohorts in wild vertebrate populations. Telomere dynamics potentially provide a link between the early environment and long-term fitness outcomes, yet we know little about how the environment can influence telomere dynamics in early life. We found that environmental conditions during growth have an important influence on early-life telomere length (TL) and attrition in nestlings of a long-lived bird, the European storm petrel Hydrobates pelagicus. Nestlings reared under unfavourable environmental conditions experienced significantly greater telomere loss during postnatal development compared with nestlings reared under more favourable natal conditions, which displayed a negligible change in TL. There was, however, no significant difference in pre-fledging TL between cohorts. The results suggest that early-life telomere dynamics could contribute to the marked differences in life-history traits that can arise among cohorts reared under different environmental conditions. Early-life TL was also found to be a significant predictor of survival during the nestling phase, providing further evidence for a link between variation in TL and individual fitness. To what extent the relationship between early-life TL and mortality during the nestling phase is a consequence of genetic, parental and environmental factors is currently unknown, but an interesting area for future research. Accelerated telomere attrition under unfavourable conditions, as observed in this study, might play a role in mediating the effects of the early-life environment on later-life performance. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Journal of Experimental Biology
publisher
The Company of Biologists Ltd
external identifiers
  • pmid:25617465
  • scopus:84926050941
ISSN
1477-9145
DOI
10.1242/jeb.104265
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
4c059640-d41f-4384-86db-9648f3072cc8 (old id 5039818)
date added to LUP
2015-02-26 13:35:02
date last changed
2017-11-12 03:08:06
@article{4c059640-d41f-4384-86db-9648f3072cc8,
  abstract     = {Conditions experienced during early life can have profound consequences for both short and long-term fitness. Variation in the natal environment has been shown to influence survival and reproductive performance of entire cohorts in wild vertebrate populations. Telomere dynamics potentially provide a link between the early environment and long-term fitness outcomes, yet we know little about how the environment can influence telomere dynamics in early life. We found that environmental conditions during growth have an important influence on early-life telomere length (TL) and attrition in nestlings of a long-lived bird, the European storm petrel Hydrobates pelagicus. Nestlings reared under unfavourable environmental conditions experienced significantly greater telomere loss during postnatal development compared with nestlings reared under more favourable natal conditions, which displayed a negligible change in TL. There was, however, no significant difference in pre-fledging TL between cohorts. The results suggest that early-life telomere dynamics could contribute to the marked differences in life-history traits that can arise among cohorts reared under different environmental conditions. Early-life TL was also found to be a significant predictor of survival during the nestling phase, providing further evidence for a link between variation in TL and individual fitness. To what extent the relationship between early-life TL and mortality during the nestling phase is a consequence of genetic, parental and environmental factors is currently unknown, but an interesting area for future research. Accelerated telomere attrition under unfavourable conditions, as observed in this study, might play a role in mediating the effects of the early-life environment on later-life performance.},
  author       = {Watson, Hannah and Bolton, Mark and Monaghan, Pat},
  issn         = {1477-9145},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {The Company of Biologists Ltd},
  series       = {Journal of Experimental Biology},
  title        = {Variation in early-life telomere dynamics in a long-lived bird: links to environmental conditions and survival.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jeb.104265},
  year         = {2015},
}