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The effects of spatial and temporal ecological variation on fatty acid compositions of wild great tits Parus major

Isaksson, Caroline LU ; Hanson, Mark A. and Burdge, Graham C. (2015) In Journal of Avian Biology 46(3). p.245-253
Abstract
In birds, fatty acids (FA) have three main functions; they are structural components of cell membranes, metabolic fuel, and inflammatory molecules. Environmental factors, such as diet and ambient temperature, affect FA composition, thereby function and ultimately fitness. Thus, variation in FA compositions can be the underlying mechanism for varying performance of birds in different habitats. Here we examine variation in plasma FA composition in nestling and adult great tits Parus major, between 1) deciduous and coniferous, and 2) sun-exposed and shaded habitats. The main results revealed that nestlings had a higher proportion of -linolenic acid (-LNA) in deciduous habitats and arachidonic acid in coniferous habitats. This reflects a... (More)
In birds, fatty acids (FA) have three main functions; they are structural components of cell membranes, metabolic fuel, and inflammatory molecules. Environmental factors, such as diet and ambient temperature, affect FA composition, thereby function and ultimately fitness. Thus, variation in FA compositions can be the underlying mechanism for varying performance of birds in different habitats. Here we examine variation in plasma FA composition in nestling and adult great tits Parus major, between 1) deciduous and coniferous, and 2) sun-exposed and shaded habitats. The main results revealed that nestlings had a higher proportion of -linolenic acid (-LNA) in deciduous habitats and arachidonic acid in coniferous habitats. This reflects a difference in caterpillar availability between habitats with the deciduous habitat being caterpillar-rich, whereas the coniferous habitats are rich in spiders. In addition, -LNA increased with nestling body condition in the coniferous habitat, supporting the importance of caterpillars for fledging success in this species. In line with dietary intake, the proportion of the essential -LNA and linoleic acid (LA) increased over the course of the day for all birds. In the deciduous habitat, adult females showed a positive association between LA and body condition. Furthermore, habitat sun-exposure showed significant interactions with body condition for polyunsaturated FAs in nestlings, and with saturated FA in adult males, which is in accordance with the homeoviscous hypothesis stating that the proportion of saturated FA should decrease with decreasing ambient temperature. Taken together, small-scale heterogeneity in habitat structure significantly influences FA compositions of great tits. Many of the results can be linked to dietary, and possibly, ambient temperature differences between habitats. These habitat effects on FA compositions can lead to different capacities of individual birds to deal with infections and low temperatures, two stressors that cause major mortality among wild birds. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Journal of Avian Biology
volume
46
issue
3
pages
245 - 253
publisher
Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd
external identifiers
  • wos:000355622400003
  • scopus:84928772486
ISSN
0908-8857
DOI
10.1111/jav.00409
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
9da798b9-bfc3-4c57-abde-0a61a8cd12e6 (old id 7613660)
date added to LUP
2015-07-21 13:30:16
date last changed
2017-10-29 03:07:04
@article{9da798b9-bfc3-4c57-abde-0a61a8cd12e6,
  abstract     = {In birds, fatty acids (FA) have three main functions; they are structural components of cell membranes, metabolic fuel, and inflammatory molecules. Environmental factors, such as diet and ambient temperature, affect FA composition, thereby function and ultimately fitness. Thus, variation in FA compositions can be the underlying mechanism for varying performance of birds in different habitats. Here we examine variation in plasma FA composition in nestling and adult great tits Parus major, between 1) deciduous and coniferous, and 2) sun-exposed and shaded habitats. The main results revealed that nestlings had a higher proportion of -linolenic acid (-LNA) in deciduous habitats and arachidonic acid in coniferous habitats. This reflects a difference in caterpillar availability between habitats with the deciduous habitat being caterpillar-rich, whereas the coniferous habitats are rich in spiders. In addition, -LNA increased with nestling body condition in the coniferous habitat, supporting the importance of caterpillars for fledging success in this species. In line with dietary intake, the proportion of the essential -LNA and linoleic acid (LA) increased over the course of the day for all birds. In the deciduous habitat, adult females showed a positive association between LA and body condition. Furthermore, habitat sun-exposure showed significant interactions with body condition for polyunsaturated FAs in nestlings, and with saturated FA in adult males, which is in accordance with the homeoviscous hypothesis stating that the proportion of saturated FA should decrease with decreasing ambient temperature. Taken together, small-scale heterogeneity in habitat structure significantly influences FA compositions of great tits. Many of the results can be linked to dietary, and possibly, ambient temperature differences between habitats. These habitat effects on FA compositions can lead to different capacities of individual birds to deal with infections and low temperatures, two stressors that cause major mortality among wild birds.},
  author       = {Isaksson, Caroline and Hanson, Mark A. and Burdge, Graham C.},
  issn         = {0908-8857},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {245--253},
  publisher    = {Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd},
  series       = {Journal of Avian Biology},
  title        = {The effects of spatial and temporal ecological variation on fatty acid compositions of wild great tits Parus major},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jav.00409},
  volume       = {46},
  year         = {2015},
}