Evol Ecol Res 4: 431-439 (2002)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Immune defence, dispersal and local adaptation

Joachim Kurtz,* Kirsten Klappert, Wolfgang Schneider and Klaus Reinhold

Institute for Evolution and Ecology, University of Bonn, An der Immenburg 1, D-53121 Bonn, Germany

Address all correspondence to Joachim Kurtz, Max Planck Institute for Limnology, Department of Evolutionary Ecology, August-Thienemann-Str. 2, D-24306 Plön, Germany.
e-mail: kurtz@mpil-ploen.mpg.de


To determine the influence of dispersal on the expression of immune traits, we conducted a reciprocal transfer experiment. Chorthippus biguttulus grasshoppers from two populations were released as juveniles into their native and transfer environments. After recapture as adults, we found that an immune trait, the amount of phagocytically active cells, was significantly reduced in the transfer environments. In contrast, adult body mass differed between the two habitats, but was not reduced in the transfer environments. The results suggest that dispersal to a new environment can reduce the expression of immune traits, while otherwise not influencing body condition. One reason for such an effect could be that the parasite community in the foreign environment might be relatively maladapted, which would lead to reduced demands for resource allocation to immune traits.

Keywords: Chorthippus biguttulus, dispersal, host resistance, immunocompetence, invertebrate immunity, local adaptation, phagocytosis, reciprocal transfer.

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