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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Survival costs of reproduction are mediated by parasite infection in wild Soay sheep
Author(s): Leivesley, Jessica A
Bussiere, Luc F
Pemberton, Josephine M
Pilkington, Jill G
Wilson, Kenneth
Hayward, Adam D
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Keywords: costs of reproduction
life history
peri‐parturient rise
Issue Date: Aug-2019
Date Deposited: 18-Jun-2019
Citation: Leivesley JA, Bussiere LF, Pemberton JM, Pilkington JG, Wilson K & Hayward AD (2019) Survival costs of reproduction are mediated by parasite infection in wild Soay sheep. Ecology Letters, 22 (8), pp. 1203-1213.
Abstract: A trade‐off between current and future fitness potentially explains variation in life‐history strategies. A proposed mechanism behind this is parasite‐mediated reproductive costs: individuals that allocate more resources to reproduction have fewer to allocate to defence against parasites, reducing future fitness. We examined how reproduction influenced faecal egg counts (FEC) of strongyle nematodes using data collected between 1989 and 2008 from a wild population of Soay sheep in the St. Kilda archipelago, Scotland (741 individuals). Increased reproduction was associated with increased FEC during the lambing season: females that gave birth, and particularly those that weaned a lamb, had higher FEC than females that failed to reproduce. Structural equation modelling revealed future reproductive costs: a positive effect of reproduction on spring FEC and a negative effect on summer body weight were negatively associated with overwinter survival. Overall, we provide evidence that parasite resistance and body weight are important mediators of survival costs of reproduction.
DOI Link: 10.1111/ele.13275
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Leivesley, J. A., Bussière, L. F., Pemberton, J. M., Pilkington, J. G., Wilson, K. and Hayward, A. D. (2019), Survival costs of reproduction are mediated by parasite infection in wild Soay sheep. Ecol Lett, 22: 1203-1213, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

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