Interspecific associations between circulating antioxidant levels and life-history variation in birds

Alan A. Cohen, Kevin McGraw, Popko Wiersma, Joseph B. Williams, W. Douglas Robinson, Tara R. Robinson, Jeffrey D. Brawn, Robert E. Ricklefs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

81 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Antioxidants play an important role in protecting tissues against aging-associated oxidative damage and are thus prime candidates for relating physiological mechanisms to variation in life histories. We measured total antioxidant capacity, antioxidant response to stress, and levels of uric acid, vitamin E, and four carotenoids in 95 avian species, mostly passerines from Michigan or Panama. We compared antioxidant measures to seven variables related to life histories (clutch size, survival rate, incubation period, nestling period, basal metabolic rate, body mass, and whether the species lived in a tropical or temperate climate). Life-history-related traits varied over at least three statistically independent axes. Higher antioxidant levels were generally characteristic of more rapid development, lower survival rate, smaller body size, larger clutch size, and higher mass-adjusted metabolic rate, but the relationships of particular antioxidants with individual life-history traits showed considerable complexity. Antioxidant-life history associations differed between tropical and temperate species and varied with respect to taxonomic sampling. Vitamin E showed few relationships with life-history traits. Overall, our results partly support the hypothesis that antioxidant levels evolve to mirror free radical production. Clearly, however, the complex patterns of physiological diversification observed here result from the interplay of many factors, likely including not just investment in somatic maintenance but also phylogenetic constraint, diet, and other aspects of ecology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-193
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Volume172
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2008

Fingerprint

antioxidant
Birds
life history
Antioxidants
bird
antioxidants
birds
Clutch Size
clutch size
vitamin
life history trait
Vitamin E
vitamin E
Survival Rate
survival rate
Panama
Basal Metabolism
Life History Traits
basal metabolic rate
passerine

Keywords

  • Antioxidant
  • Carotenoid
  • Life history
  • Metabolism
  • Survival
  • Uric acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Cohen, A. A., McGraw, K., Wiersma, P., Williams, J. B., Robinson, W. D., Robinson, T. R., ... Ricklefs, R. E. (2008). Interspecific associations between circulating antioxidant levels and life-history variation in birds. American Naturalist, 172(2), 178-193. https://doi.org/10.1086/589456

Interspecific associations between circulating antioxidant levels and life-history variation in birds. / Cohen, Alan A.; McGraw, Kevin; Wiersma, Popko; Williams, Joseph B.; Robinson, W. Douglas; Robinson, Tara R.; Brawn, Jeffrey D.; Ricklefs, Robert E.

In: American Naturalist, Vol. 172, No. 2, 08.2008, p. 178-193.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Cohen, AA, McGraw, K, Wiersma, P, Williams, JB, Robinson, WD, Robinson, TR, Brawn, JD & Ricklefs, RE 2008, 'Interspecific associations between circulating antioxidant levels and life-history variation in birds', American Naturalist, vol. 172, no. 2, pp. 178-193. https://doi.org/10.1086/589456
Cohen, Alan A. ; McGraw, Kevin ; Wiersma, Popko ; Williams, Joseph B. ; Robinson, W. Douglas ; Robinson, Tara R. ; Brawn, Jeffrey D. ; Ricklefs, Robert E. / Interspecific associations between circulating antioxidant levels and life-history variation in birds. In: American Naturalist. 2008 ; Vol. 172, No. 2. pp. 178-193.
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