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Hampered performance of migratory swans: intra- and interseasonal effects of avian influenza virus
Hoye, B.J.; Munster, V.J.; Huig, N.; de Vries, P.; Oosterbeek, K.; Tijssen, W.; Klaassen, M.; Fouchier, R.A.M.; van Gils, J.A. (2016). Hampered performance of migratory swans: intra- and interseasonal effects of avian influenza virus. Integrative and Comparative Biology 56(3): 1-13.
In: Integrative and Comparative Biology. Oxford University Press: McLean, VA. ISSN 1540-7063, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Hoye, B.J.
  • Munster, V.J.
  • Huig, N.
  • de Vries, P.
  • Oosterbeek, K.
  • Tijssen, W.
  • Klaassen, M.
  • Fouchier, R.A.M.
  • van Gils, J.A., more

    The extent to which animal migrations shape parasite transmission networks is critically dependent on a migrant’sability to tolerate infection and migrate successfully. Yet, sub-lethal effects of parasites can be intensified through periods ofincreased physiological stress. Long-distance migrants may, therefore, be especially susceptible to negative effects of parasiticinfection. Although a handful of studies have investigated the short-term, transmission-relevant behaviors of wild birdsinfected with low-pathogenic avian influenza viruses (LPAIV), the ecological consequences of LPAIV for the hosts themselvesremain largely unknown. Here, we assessed the potential effects of naturally-acquired LPAIV infections in Bewick’s swans, along-distance migratory species that experiences relatively low incidence of LPAIV infection during early winter. We monitoredboth foraging and movement behavior in the winter of infection, as well as subsequent breeding behavior and interannualresighting probability over 3 years. Incorporating data on infection history we hypothesized that any effects would bemost apparent in nai¨ve individuals experiencing their first LPAIV infection. Indeed, significant effects of infection were onlyseen in birds that were infected but lacked antibodies indicative of prior infection. Swans that were infected but had surviveda previous infection were indistinguishable from uninfected birds in each of the ecological performance metrics. Despiteshowing reduced foraging rates, individuals in the nai¨ve-infected category had similar accumulated body stores to re-infectedand uninfected individuals prior to departure on spring migration, possibly as a result of having higher scaled mass at thetime of infection. And yet individuals in the nai¨ve-infected category were unlikely to be resighted 1 year after infection, with6 out of 7 individuals that never resighted again compared to 20 out of 63 uninfected individuals and 5 out of 12 individualsin the re-infected category. Collectively, our findings indicate that acute and superficially harmless infection with LPAIV mayhave indirect effects on individual performance and recruitment in migratory Bewick’s swans. Our results also highlight thepotential for infection history to play an important role in shaping ecological constraints throughout the annual cycle.

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