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Title: Investigating the immune and reproductive strategies of burying beetles, Nicrophorus vespilloides
Author: Reavey, Catherine E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5368 8574
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis considers the field of ecological immunology, specifically considering life-history trade-offs between reproductive investment and self-maintenance. Classical immunology considers the physiological mechanisms behind the function of the immune system; both in a state of disease and at times of health. Ecological immunology makes the transition from the study of biochemical pathways and the molecular mechanisms involved, to an integrated study of these components in an ecological context, having been shaped by evolution. Variation in immune investment is observed across taxa and within populations. Despite the clear fitness benefits to efficient immune function, immune investment is costly. Therefore, investment in immunity must be balanced with investing in other life-history traits. This research considers how immune function and reproductive investment are balanced in different scenarios. Using burying beetles (Nicrophorus vespilloides) as a model system, this study investigated immune and reproductive strategies in a species that exhibits costly biparental care and also exploits a microbe rich environment. This thesis includes experiments designed to contribute to areas that are currently understudied in the literature: social immunity, how specifically parental care is balanced with immune function, changes in immune function with age, and the fitness consequences of changes in the balance of trade-offs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available