Parasite treatment affects maternal investment in sons

Parasitism can be a major constraint on host condition and an important selective force. Theoretical and empirical evidence shows that maternal condition affects relative investment in sons and daughters; however, the affect of parasitism on sex ratio in vertebrates is seldom considered. Here we demonstrate experimentally that parasitism constrains the ability of mothers to rear sons in a long lived seabird, the European shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis. The effect contributes to the decline in offspring survival as the breeding season progresses and hence has important population-level consequences for this, and potentially other, seasonal breeders.


Publication status:
Authors: Reed, T. E., Daunt, F., Hall, M. E, Phillips, R. A., Wanless, S., Cunningham, E.J. A.

On this site: Richard Phillips
1 August, 2008
Science / 321
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