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Data from: A pre-breeding immune challenge delays reproduction in the female dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis)


Needham, Katie B.; Cook, Natalie J.; Rutherford, Alexa R.; Greives, Timothy J. (2017), Data from: A pre-breeding immune challenge delays reproduction in the female dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis), Dryad, Dataset,


Precise timing of life-history transitions in predictably changing environments is hypothesized to aid in individual survival and reproductive success, by appropriately matching an animal's physiology and behavior with prevailing environmental conditions. Therefore, it is imperative for individuals to time energetically costly life-history stages (i.e. reproduction) so they overlap with seasonal peaks in food abundance and quality. Female lifetime reproductive fitness is affected by several factors that influence energy balance, including arrival date, timing of egg production, and energetic condition. Therefore, any extra energetic costs during reproduction may negatively affect timing of egg production, and ultimately a female's fitness. For example, mounting an immunological response elicits a high energetic cost, and this transfer of resources towards cell and immune system maintenance could have direct negative effects on reproductive timing. In order to determine whether an immune challenge delays onset of breeding (i.e. egg production), we administered either a humoral immune challenge (keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH)) (treatment) or physiological saline (control) to free-living female dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis) in the period immediately prior to egg-laying (~4 weeks). We found that KLH-injected females artificially delayed clutch initiation when compared to control females. These data help to refine our understanding of how free-living birds allocate resources between reproduction and self-maintenance processes during the critical pre-laying period of the annual cycle.

Usage Notes


National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-1257527