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Data from: Natural selection on immune defense: a field experiment

Cite this dataset

Langeloh, Laura; Behrmann-Godel, Jasminca Maria; Seppälä, Otto; Behrmann-Godel, Jasminca (2016). Data from: Natural selection on immune defense: a field experiment [Dataset]. Dryad.


Predicting the evolution of phenotypic traits requires an understanding of natural selection on them. Despite its indispensability in the fight against parasites, selection on host immune defense has remained understudied. Theory predicts immune traits to be under stabilizing selection due to associated trade-offs with other fitness-related traits. Empirical studies, however, report mainly positive directional selection. This discrepancy could be caused by low phenotypic variation in the examined individuals and/or variation in host resource level that confounds trade-offs in empirical studies. In a field experiment where we maintained Lymnaea stagnalis snails individually in cages in a lake, we investigated phenotypic selection on two immune defense traits, phenoloxidase (PO)-like activity and antibacterial activity, in hemolymph. We used a diverse laboratory population and manipulated snail resource level by limiting their food supply. For six weeks, we followed immune activity, growth, and two fitness components, survival and fecundity of snails. We found that PO-like activity and growth were under stabilizing selection, while antibacterial activity was under positive directional selection. Selection on immune traits was mainly driven by variation in survival. The form of selection on immune defense apparently depends on the particular trait, possibly due to its importance for countering the present parasite community.

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Cantons of Zürich
Cantons of Thurgau