Pre-fledgling oxidative damage predicts recruitment in a long-lived bird

Biol Lett. 2012 Feb 23;8(1):61-3. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0756. Epub 2011 Aug 24.


Empirical evidence has shown that stressful conditions experienced during development may exert long-term negative effects on life-history traits. Although it has been suggested that oxidative stress has long-term effects, little is known about delayed consequences of oxidative stress experienced early in life in fitness-related traits. Here, we tested whether oxidative stress during development has long-term effects on a life-history trait directly related to fitness in three colonies of European shags Phalacrocorax aristotelis. Our results revealed that recruitment probability decreased with oxidative damage during the nestling period; oxidative damage, in turn, was related to the level of antioxidant capacity. Our results suggest a link between oxidative stress during development and survival to adulthood, a key element of population dynamics.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Birds / metabolism*
  • Birds / physiology
  • Body Weights and Measures
  • Chromans
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Genetic Fitness / physiology*
  • Linear Models
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Population Dynamics
  • Spain
  • Telomere Shortening / physiology


  • Antioxidants
  • Chromans
  • 6-hydroxy-2,5,7,8-tetramethylchroman-2-carboxylic acid