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Do Global Patterns of Habitat Use and Migration Strategies Co-Evolve with Relative Investments in Immunocompetence due to Spatial Variation in Parasite Pressure?

Theunis Piersma
Oikos
Vol. 80, No. 3 (Dec., 1997), pp. 623-631
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3546640
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3546640
Page Count: 9
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Do Global Patterns of Habitat Use and Migration Strategies Co-Evolve with Relative Investments in Immunocompetence due to Spatial Variation in Parasite Pressure?
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Abstract

On the basis of associations between the characteristics of breeding and wintering habitats, apparent immunocompetence, and chick energetics of shorebirds (Charadrii), trade-offs between investments in immunofunctioning on the one hand and growth and sustained exercise on the other are suggested, that determine the year-round use of particular types of habitat by long-distance migrating shorebirds. Some species appear restricted to parasite-poor habitats (high arctic tundra, exposed seashores) where small investments in immunomachinery may suffice and even allow for high growth rates. However, such habitats are few and far between, necessitate long and demanding migratory flights in the course of an annual cycle and are often energetically costly to live in. Species evolutionarily opting for parasite-poor habitats may be rather susceptible to parasites and pathogens as a result of investments in sustained exercise (including thermoregulation) rather than immunocompetence. Components of this general hypothesis are perfectly testable, and such tests may shed new light on several other biogeographical, energetic and evolutionary riddles.

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