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Selective disappearance of great tits with short telomeres in urban areas

Salmón, Pablo LU ; Nilsson, Johan F LU ; Watson, Hannah LU ; Bensch, Staffan LU and Isaksson, Caroline LU (2017) In Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 284(1862).
Abstract

Urban environments pose novel challenges, as well as opportunities, for urban-dwelling wildlife. Although differences have been reported in several phenotypic traits (e.g. morphology, physiology and behaviour) between urban and rural populations, it is poorly understood whether this affects individual fitness. Telomere dynamics are posited as one possible mechanism underlying senescence and mortality. It was recently shown that telomere shortening is accelerated when growing up in an urban, compared with a rural, environment. However, the implications of accelerated telomere attrition for fitness are still unclear. Here, we examine the relationship between telomere length (TL) and survival in a bird common to urban and rural... (More)

Urban environments pose novel challenges, as well as opportunities, for urban-dwelling wildlife. Although differences have been reported in several phenotypic traits (e.g. morphology, physiology and behaviour) between urban and rural populations, it is poorly understood whether this affects individual fitness. Telomere dynamics are posited as one possible mechanism underlying senescence and mortality. It was recently shown that telomere shortening is accelerated when growing up in an urban, compared with a rural, environment. However, the implications of accelerated telomere attrition for fitness are still unclear. Here, we examine the relationship between telomere length (TL) and survival in a bird common to urban and rural environments, and during both early and later life. The results reveal that TL is a strong predictor of post-fledging survival and recruitment in both habitats but, crucially, selective disappearance of individuals with short telomeres early in life is more pronounced in the urban environment, resulting in a longer average TL among the adult population. However, following recruitment, we found no difference in the relationship between TL and survival between the urban and rural environments. This indicates that the urban environment has negative effects in early life, while during later life the benefits could potentially outweigh the costs.

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author
organization
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type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
urbanization, Parus major
in
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
volume
284
issue
1862
pages
8 pages
publisher
Royal Society
external identifiers
  • scopus:85029229446
  • wos:000410610200020
ISSN
1471-2954
DOI
10.1098/rspb.2017.1349
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
9e18db6c-2204-44c2-bb38-02e1e5c11e5b
date added to LUP
2017-10-06 06:44:35
date last changed
2018-06-24 05:17:20
@article{9e18db6c-2204-44c2-bb38-02e1e5c11e5b,
  abstract     = {<p>Urban environments pose novel challenges, as well as opportunities, for urban-dwelling wildlife. Although differences have been reported in several phenotypic traits (e.g. morphology, physiology and behaviour) between urban and rural populations, it is poorly understood whether this affects individual fitness. Telomere dynamics are posited as one possible mechanism underlying senescence and mortality. It was recently shown that telomere shortening is accelerated when growing up in an urban, compared with a rural, environment. However, the implications of accelerated telomere attrition for fitness are still unclear. Here, we examine the relationship between telomere length (TL) and survival in a bird common to urban and rural environments, and during both early and later life. The results reveal that TL is a strong predictor of post-fledging survival and recruitment in both habitats but, crucially, selective disappearance of individuals with short telomeres early in life is more pronounced in the urban environment, resulting in a longer average TL among the adult population. However, following recruitment, we found no difference in the relationship between TL and survival between the urban and rural environments. This indicates that the urban environment has negative effects in early life, while during later life the benefits could potentially outweigh the costs.</p>},
  articleno    = {20171349},
  author       = {Salmón, Pablo and Nilsson, Johan F and Watson, Hannah and Bensch, Staffan and Isaksson, Caroline},
  issn         = {1471-2954},
  keyword      = {urbanization,Parus major},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {09},
  number       = {1862},
  pages        = {8},
  publisher    = {Royal Society},
  series       = {Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences},
  title        = {Selective disappearance of great tits with short telomeres in urban areas},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2017.1349},
  volume       = {284},
  year         = {2017},
}