Oxidative damage, caused by reactive oxygen species during aerobic respiration, is thought to be an important mediator of life-history trade-offs. To mitigate oxidative damage, antioxidant defence mechanisms are deployed, often at the cost of resource allocation to other body functions. Both reduced resource allocation to body functions and direct oxidative damage may decrease individual fitness, through reducing survival and/or reproductive output.
The oxidative costs of reproduction have gained much attention recently, but few studies have investigated the long-term consequences of oxidative damage on survival and (future) reproductive output under natural conditions.
Using a wild population of the cooperatively breeding Seychelles warbler (Acrocephalus sechellensis), we tested the prediction that high levels of reactive oxygen species, or high antioxidant investments to avoid oxidative damage, have fitness consequences because they reduce survival and/or reproductive output. We found that individuals with higher circulating non-enzymatic antioxidant capacity had a lower probability of surviving until the next year. However, neither current reproductive output, nor future reproductive output in the surviving individuals, was associated with circulating non-enzymatic antioxidant capacity or oxidative damage.
The negative relationship between antioxidant capacity and survival that we observed concurs with the findings of an extensive comparative study on birds, however the mechanisms underlying this association remain to be resolved.
The data package contains one dataset:
- Data on oxidative status (dROMs=oxidative damage, OXY=plasma antioxidant capacity) and fitness components (reproductive output, survival) in the Seychelles warbler.
- Annual survival
- Cooperative breeding
- Current and future reproductive output
- Oxidative status
- Acrocephalus sechellensis