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Inbreeding, immune defence and ectoparasite load in different mockingbird populations and species in the Galapagos Islands


Hoeck, Paquita E A; Keller, Lukas F (2012). Inbreeding, immune defence and ectoparasite load in different mockingbird populations and species in the Galapagos Islands. Journal of Avian Biology, 43(5):423-434.

Abstract

Inbreeding may impair an individual's immune system, render it more susceptible to disease and hence contribute to the extinction risk of small and isolated populations, as often found on islands. So far, surprisingly few studies have assessed the effects of inbreeding on immunocompetence in wild populations. Using 26 microsatellite loci and genetic data from museum specimens and contemporary samples, we calculated short-term and long-term inbreeding in 13 different mockingbird populations covering the range of all 4 species in the Galapagos Islands and compared them with three different measures of innate immunity and ectoparasite load. We found no significant effect of either measure of inbreeding on natural antibody or complement enzyme titres, heterophil-lymphocyte ratio or feather louse abundance. Hence, our results do not support a link between inbreeding and immunocompetence. However, overall statistical power and repeatabilities of antibody and complement enzyme titres were low. Nevertheless, generally, natural antibody titres were high suggesting that the mockingbirds may be equipped with a strong first line of defence, as found in other island species.

Abstract

Inbreeding may impair an individual's immune system, render it more susceptible to disease and hence contribute to the extinction risk of small and isolated populations, as often found on islands. So far, surprisingly few studies have assessed the effects of inbreeding on immunocompetence in wild populations. Using 26 microsatellite loci and genetic data from museum specimens and contemporary samples, we calculated short-term and long-term inbreeding in 13 different mockingbird populations covering the range of all 4 species in the Galapagos Islands and compared them with three different measures of innate immunity and ectoparasite load. We found no significant effect of either measure of inbreeding on natural antibody or complement enzyme titres, heterophil-lymphocyte ratio or feather louse abundance. Hence, our results do not support a link between inbreeding and immunocompetence. However, overall statistical power and repeatabilities of antibody and complement enzyme titres were low. Nevertheless, generally, natural antibody titres were high suggesting that the mockingbirds may be equipped with a strong first line of defence, as found in other island species.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:September 2012
Deposited On:10 Jan 2013 08:26
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 17:34
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0908-8857
Additional Information:The definitive version is available at www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-048X.2012.05725.x

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