posted on 2021-02-23, 22:27authored byRoslyn Dakin Ariana D. Majer Mark F. Haussmann T. Brandt Ryder and Ignacio T. Moore Ben J. Vernasco
1. Building on the predictions of state-dependent life history theory, telomeres are hypothesized to either correlate with or function as an adaptive, proximate mediator of an individual’s behavior and life-history strategy. To further understand the relationship between telomeres, behavior, and life-history strategies, we measured male behavior, telomere lengths, and telomere dynamics in a free-living population of known-age, male wire-tailed manakins (Pipra filicauda).
2. Male wire-tailed manakins perform coordinated displays with other males at leks and these displays form the basis of long-term coalition partnerships. Males exhibit consistent individual differences in the number of social partners within their social network and the frequency of social interactions. Male sociality is also positively correlated with both social rise and reproductive success.
3. We measured male behavior using a telemetry-based, proximity datalogging system and blood telomere lengths were quantified using qPCR. We examined the relationships between telomere length, telomere dynamics, social status, and male behavior. We also quantified the repeatability of telomere lengths, examined age-related changes in telomere length, and tested for instances of telomere elongation that exceed residual error in telomere length.
4. Telomere length was found to be highly repeatable. More social males exhibited shorter telomeres and higher rates of telomere attrition. Telomeres did not significantly vary with age within or between individuals in either of the male social classes. Two out of 25 individuals exhibited patterns telomere elongation that exceeded residual error in telomere measurements.
5. Here we show that telomeres consistently vary between male wire-tailed manakins and these differences are related to variation in male social behavior. In this relatively long-lived species, telomeres also appear to be flexible traits that can increase or decrease in length. Overall, this study provides observational support for the hypothesis that telomeres act as a molecular marker that relates to behavior in a state-dependent manner. We also provide insight into the molecular consequences of individual variation in male social behavior.
This dataset was updated on 20201109. The original dataset can be found at the following DOI, doi:10.7294/mpcg-qx45