Title

The oxidative costs of territory quality and offspring provisioning

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2013

Publication Title

Journal of Evolutionary Biology

Volume

26

Issue

12

First Page

2558

Last Page

2565

DOI

10.1111/jeb.12256

Abstract

The costs of reproduction are an important constraint that shapes the evolution of life histories, yet our understanding of the proximate mechanism(s) leading to such life-history trade-offs is not well understood. Oxidative stress is a strong candidate measure thought to mediate the costs of reproduction, yet empirical evidence supporting that increased reproductive investment leads to oxidative stress is equivocal. We investigated whether territory quality and offspring provisioning increase oxidative stress in male snow buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis) using a repeated sampling design. We show that arrival oxidative stress is not a constraint on territory quality or the number of offspring fledged. Nevertheless, owners of higher-quality territories experienced an oxidative cost, with this cost increasing more rapidly in younger males. Males that provisioned offspring at a high rate also experienced increased oxidative stress. Together, these findings support the potential role of oxidative stress in mediating life-history trade-offs. Future work should consider that reproductive workload is not limited to offspring care, and other activities – including territory defence – may contribute significantly to the costs of reproduction.

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