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Too sick to fly. Immune response activation prolongs stopover duration of migrating passerines

Alcalde Abril, Pablo (2015) BION01 20142
Degree Projects in Biology
Popular Abstract
Most migratory bird species divide their migration in stages of flight and stopovers. They use these stopovers to refuel the energy reserves needed to face their long migration journeys. These stopovers are an important element to determine the overall migration speed. Time spent on migration and arrival date to the wintering grounds have been demonstrated to have a large effects the following breeding season.

In this project I studied how stimulation of the immune system affect stopover duration does. Immune system was activated by LPS injection in experimental individuals and stopover duration was calculated using a telemetry system at Falsterbo Peninsula. I compared stopover duration of experimental (injected with LPS) and control... (More)
Most migratory bird species divide their migration in stages of flight and stopovers. They use these stopovers to refuel the energy reserves needed to face their long migration journeys. These stopovers are an important element to determine the overall migration speed. Time spent on migration and arrival date to the wintering grounds have been demonstrated to have a large effects the following breeding season.

In this project I studied how stimulation of the immune system affect stopover duration does. Immune system was activated by LPS injection in experimental individuals and stopover duration was calculated using a telemetry system at Falsterbo Peninsula. I compared stopover duration of experimental (injected with LPS) and control individuals (un-injected). Different species with different migration strategies were part of the study. I used 3 long-distance migrants (birds wintering in Africa) and 3 short-distance migrants (birds wintering in central and southern Europe).

Results and conclusions
Birds whose immune system was stimulated prolonged their stopovers by 79% and the effect of LPS injection was particularly larger on long-distance migrants. Control short-distance migrants stop over for 2.6 days on average whereas control long-distance migrants stopped for 1.6 days. These results show that birds invest so much energy on flight during migration that facing an infection simultaneously is too costly for them and they need to stop over for longer periods of time.

I also found that long-distance migrants are more time constrained during migration. Their stopovers were significantly shorter than in short-distance migrants. A larger effect on the stopover duration of the immune system activation also shows that long-distance migrants invest more energy on flight and as consequence they have less resources to face infections during migration.

Prolonged stopovers may lead to a late arrival date to the wintering grounds. Delayed individuals may suffer from less quality habitats and higher competition which could have negative effects such as reduce breeding success the following season.

Supervisor: Arne Hegemann and Sissel Sjöberg
Master´s Degree Project 45 credits in Biology 2015
Department of Biology, Lund University (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Alcalde Abril, Pablo
supervisor
organization
course
BION01 20142
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
language
English
id
7761250
date added to LUP
2015-08-13 12:46:53
date last changed
2015-08-13 12:46:53
@misc{7761250,
  author       = {Alcalde Abril, Pablo},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Too sick to fly. Immune response activation prolongs stopover duration of migrating passerines},
  year         = {2015},
}