EXTREME PARENTING: OXIDATIVE STRESS AS A MEDIATOR OF THE TRADEOFF BETWEEN PARENTAL CARE AND FUTURE REPRODUCTIVE SUCCESS IN A MOUTHBROODING CICHLID FISH
The investment in parental care is an energetically costly, yet fundamental aspect of the life history strategies in many species. Recently, oxidative stress has received attention as a potential mediator in the decision between caring for a current brood or investing in future reproductive success. During activities that increase metabolic activity, such as brood care, an overproduction of reactive oxygen species can occur that cannot be counteracted by antioxidants, leading to oxidative stress and tissue damage. Here we investigated the behavior of brood care on levels of oxidative stress in a mouthbrooding cichlid fish. In this species, females mate with territory defending males and hold the offspring within their buccal cavity for two weeks. In this study we used mixed-sex cichlid communities to observe how brooding and position within the brooding cycle influence levels of oxidative stress. We found that brooding females have significantly higher levels of oxidative stress than non-brooders, and significant fluctuations of oxidative stress occur throughout brood care, particularly following egg production and towards the end of the brooding cycle. Our study provides novel insights into the physiological cost of reproduction and parental investment.
Jacob Sawecki (Primary Presenter/Author), Department of Biology, Central Michigan University, email@example.com;
Emily Miros (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Department of Biology, Central Michigan University, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Peter Dijkstra (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Department of Biology, Central Michigan University, email@example.com;