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Life history variation, immune response and survival: evidence for causality?

Punter, M.L. (2010) Life history variation, immune response and survival: evidence for causality? Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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Life-history theory assumes that organisms face a trade-off between current and future reproduction to maximize their fitness. Life-history theory also assumes that an increase in the current reproductive effort will lead to additional fitness costs. One of these fitness costs can arise when an organism faces the trade-off between reproductive effort and investment in the maintenance of its immune system. Decisions based on environmental and life-history related circumstances during the reproductive period, might therefore influence the functioning of the immune system and ultimately the survival of the organism. In this literature study I focus on the question whether we can find evidence for causal relationships between life history variation, immune response and survival in birds during reproduction. Available data provide causal evidence for relationships between life-history traits and survival in some studies but not in others. Exploration of the relationship between life-history traits and aspects of the immune response revealed causal relationships in a number of studies. Because none of the studies manipulated the immune function itself the causal link between immune function and survival remains unproven. To unravel the causality of relationships between life-history traits, immune responses and survival we need more experimental work to provide a better insight in these complex relationships.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:31
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:31

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