Leukocyte profiles are associated with longevity and survival, but not migratory effort: a comparative analysis of shorebirds

Piotr Minias , Radosław Włodarczyk , Włodzimierz Meissner


1. Assessment of leukocyte profiles has become an increasingly popular tool in the fields of ecology and ecophysiology. The ratio of heterophils to lymphocytes (H/L ratio) is of special utility, as it reflects physiological adaptation of an organism to cope either with an infection through injury (via heterophils) or a communicable disease (via lymphocytes). Thus, elevated H/L ratios may constitute an adaptation to risky environments (i.e. associated with high risk of injury). While intra-population variation in avian H/L ratio has been extensively studied, we are aware of no studies that linked this trait to life-history components at the interspecific level.2. We measured H/L ratio in over 400 shorebirds from 19 species during their autumn migration through Central Europe. Phylogenetically informed comparative methods were used to test whether H/L ratio was related to: (1) annual survival and life span; (2) migratory effort, as measured with total migration distance and migratory energy reserves and (3) confounding variables such as body size or breeding latitude.3. A relatively strong phylogenetic signal and spatial phylogenetic autocorrelation indicated that most diversification in shorebird H/L ratios occurred relatively early in radiation of this group.4. Comparative analysis gave strong support for the negative associations of H/L ratio with residual life span and annual survival. In contrast, we found no support for the effect of migratory behaviour on H/L ratios, suggesting that leukocyte profiles in shorebirds may not constitute an important physiological adaptation for long-distance migration.5. Our study provided the first comparative evidence for a link between H/L ratios and important life-history traits in birds. Strong negative associations with annual survival and residual life span indicate that leukocyte profiles may form an adaptive basis for life-history strategies in birds.
Author Piotr Minias
Piotr Minias,,
, Radosław Włodarczyk
Radosław Włodarczyk,,
, Włodzimierz Meissner (FB / DVEZ)
Włodzimierz Meissner,,
- Department of Vertebrate Ecology and Zoology
Journal seriesFunctional Ecology, ISSN 0269-8463, (A 40 pkt)
Issue year2018
Publication size in sheets0.5
Keywords in Englishbirds, comparative method, H/L ratio, life history, migration,stress response
URL http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2435.12991/epdf
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)40
ScoreMinisterial score = 40.0, ArticleFromJournal
Ministerial score (2013-2016) = 40.0, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators WoS Impact Factor: 2017 = 5.491 (2) - 2017=5.657 (5)
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