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Biol Lett. 2010 August 23; 6(4): 552–554.
Published online 2010 February 17. doi:  10.1098/rsbl.2009.1078
PMCID: PMC2936216

Selection on innate immunity and body condition in Florida scrub-jays throughout an epidemic

Abstract

Opportunities to investigate selection in free-living species during a naturally occurring epidemic are rare; however, we assessed innate immunocompetence in Florida scrub-jays before the population suffered the greatest over-winter mortality in 20 years of study. Propitiously, three months prior to the epidemic, we had sampled a number of male breeders to evaluate a suite of physiological measures that are commonly used to estimate the overall health-state of an individual. There was a significant, positive selection gradient for both Escherichia coli bacterial killing capability and body condition, suggesting that directional selection had occurred upon each of these traits during the disease epidemic.

Keywords: Aphelocoma coerulescens, ecoimmunology, directional selection

Articles from Biology Letters are provided here courtesy of The Royal Society