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.

Details

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

On this site: Richard Phillips
Date:
1 August, 2008
Journal/Source:
Science / 321
Page(s):
1681-1682
Link to published article:
https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1159466