Stabilising selection on immune response in male black grouse Lyrurus tetrix

Type Article
Date 2018-02
Language English
Author(s) Soulsbury Carl D.1, Siitari Heli2, Lebigre ChristopheORCID3
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Lincoln, Sch Life Sci, Lincoln, England.
2 : Univ Jyvaskyla, Dept Biol & Environm Sci, POB 35, Jyvaskyla 40014, Finland.
3 : IFREMER, Ctr Brest, F-29820 Plouzane, France.
Source Oecologia (0029-8549) (Springer), 2018-02 , Vol. 186 , N. 2 , P. 405-414
DOI 10.1007/s00442-017-4014-1
WOS© Times Cited 5
Keyword(s) Ecological immunology, ELISA, Immunocompetance, Life history theory, Stabilising selection

Illnesses caused by a variety of micro- and macro- organisms can negatively affect individuals' fitness, leading to the expectation that immunity is under positive selection. However, immune responses are costly and individuals must trade-off their immune response with other fitness components (e.g. survival or reproductive success) meaning that individuals with intermediate response may have the greatest overall fitness. Such a process might be particularly acute in species with strong sexual selection because the condition-dependence of male secondary sexual-traits might lead to striking phenotypic differences amongst males of different immune response levels. We tested whether there is selection on immune response by survival and reproduction in yearling and adult male black grouse (Lyrurus tetrix) following an immune challenge with a novel antigen and tested the hypothesis that sexual signals and body mass are honest signals of the immune response. We show that yearling males with highest immune response to these challenges had higher survival, but the reverse was true for adults. Adults with higher responses had highest mass loss and adult males with intermediate immune response had highest mating success. Tail length was related to baseline response in adults and more weakly in yearlings. Our findings reveal the complex fitness consequences of mounting an immune response across age classes. Such major differences in the direction and magnitude of selection in multiple fitness components is an alternative route underpinning the stabilising selection of immune responses with an intermediate immune response being optimal.

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