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J. Avian Biol. 000: 16, 2009 doi: 10.1111/j.1600-048X.2009.04910.x
 

Summary: J. Avian Biol. 000: 16, 2009
doi: 10.1111/j.1600-048X.2009.04910.x
# 2009 The Authors. J. Compilation # 2009 J. Avian Biol.
Received 18 May 2009, accepted 30 July 2009
Cross-fostering reveals sources of variation in innate immunity and
hematocrit in nestling tree swallows Tachycineta bicolor
Erin S. Morrison, Daniel R. Ardia and Ethan D. Clotfelter
E. S. Morrison and E. D. Clotfelter (correspondence), Dept. of Biology, Amherst Coll., Amherst, MA 01002, USA. E-mail:
edclotfelter@amherst.edu D. R. Ardia, Dept. of Biol., Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA 17604, USA.
Innate immunity plays an important role in protecting birds early in development. The strength of innate immunity in
nestlings appears to be affected by heritable and early maternal effects, as well as later environmental effects. To explore
factors affecting innate immunity, we conducted a partial cross-fostering experiment in nestling tree swallows Tachycineta
bicolor. The ability of nestling blood plasma to kill Escherichia coli in vitro was influenced by heritable or early maternal
effects and was unrelated to body condition of nestlings or brood size of the foster nest. The relative importance of
heritable and early maternal effects versus environmental effects on nestling hematocrit (packed volume of red blood cells)
and body condition were also examined. Hematocrit was significantly influenced by the nest in which nestlings were
reared, though it was not related to nestling body condition. Body condition was significantly influenced by the nest in
which nestlings were reared, though it was also weakly influenced by heritable or early maternal effects. In summary,
heritable and early maternal effects are stronger predictors than rearing conditions of innate immunity in nestling tree
swallows. Furthermore, hematocrit is largely environmentally determined but is not related to body condition or innate

  

Source: Ardia, Dan - Department of Biology, Franklin and Marshall College

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine