Parasite treatment affects maternal investment in sons

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

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 effect of parasitism on sex ratio in vertebrates is seldom considered. 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1681-1682
Number of pages2
JournalScience
Volume321
Issue number5896
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sep 2008

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