Data from: Annual environmental variation influences host tolerance to parasites
McNew, Sabrina M. et al. (2019), Data from: Annual environmental variation influences host tolerance to parasites, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.n11h95s
When confronted with a parasite or pathogen, hosts can defend themselves by resisting or tolerating the attack. While resistance can be diminished when resources are limited, it is unclear how robust tolerance is to changes in environmental conditions. Here we investigate the sensitivity of tolerance in a single host population living in a highly variable environment. We manipulated the abundance of an invasive parasitic fly, Philornis downsi, in nests of Galápagos mockingbirds (Mimus parvulus) over four field seasons and measured host fitness in response to parasitism. Mockingbird tolerance to P. downsi varied significantly among years and decreased when rainfall was limited. Video observations indicate that parental provisioning of nestlings appears key to tolerance: in drought years, mockingbirds likely do not have sufficient resources to compensate for the effects of P. downsi. These results indicate that host tolerance is a labile trait and suggest that environmental variation plays a major role in mediating the consequences of host-parasite interactions.