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Lausanne, Switzerland

Christe P.,Biophore | Glaizot O.,Museum of Zoology | Strepparava N.,Biophore | Devevey G.,Biophore | And 3 more authors.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2012

Parental effort is usually associated with high metabolism that could lead to an increase in the production of reactive oxidative species giving rise to oxidative stress. Since many antioxidants involved in the resistance to oxidative stress can also enhance immune function, an increase in parental effort may diminish the level of antioxidants otherwise involved in parasite resistance. In the present study, we performed brood size manipulation in a population of great tits (Parus major) to create different levels of parental effort. We measured resistance to oxidative stress and used a newly developed quantitative PCR assay to quantify malarial parasitaemia. We found that males with an enlarged brood had significantly higher level of malarial parasites and lower red blood cell resistance to free radicals than males rearing control and reduced broods. Brood size manipulation did not affect female parasitaemia, although females with an enlarged brood had lower red blood cell resistance than females with control and reduced broods. However, for both sexes, there was no relationship between the level of parasitaemia and resistance to oxidative stress, suggesting a twofold cost of reproduction. Our results thus suggest the presence of two proximate and independent mechanisms for the well-documented trade-off between current reproductive effort and parental survival. © 2011 The Royal Society. Source

Thuiller W.,CNRS Alpine Ecology Laboratory | Albert C.H.,CNRS Alpine Ecology Laboratory | Dubuis A.,Biophore | Randin C.,Biophore | Guisan A.,Biophore
Biology Letters | Year: 2010

Habitat suitability models, which relate species occurrences to environmental variables, are assumed to predict suitable conditions for a given species. If these models are reliable, they should relate to change in plant growth and function. In this paper, we ask the question whether habitat suitability models are able to predict variation in plant functional traits, often assumed to be a good surrogate for a species' overall health and vigour. Using a thorough sampling design, we show a tight link between variation in plant functional traits and habitat suitability for some species, but not for others. Our contrasting results pave the way towards a better understanding of how species cope with varying habitat conditions and demonstrate that habitat suitability models can provide meaningful descriptions of the functional niche in some cases, but not in others. © 2009 The Royal Society. Source

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