Introduction. Ecological immunology

Zoological Institute, University of Kiel, Am Botanischen Garten, 24098 Kiel, Germany.
Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences (Impact Factor: 6.31). 11/2008; 364(1513):3-14. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0249
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT An organism's fitness is critically reliant on its immune system to provide protection against parasites and pathogens. The structure of even simple immune systems is surprisingly complex and clearly will have been moulded by the organism's ecology. The aim of this review and the theme issue is to examine the role of different ecological factors on the evolution of immunity. Here, we will provide a general framework of the field by contextualizing the main ecological factors, including interactions with parasites, other types of biotic as well as abiotic interactions, intraspecific selective constraints (life-history trade-offs, sexual selection) and population genetic processes. We then elaborate the resulting immunological consequences such as the diversity of defence mechanisms (e.g. avoidance behaviour, resistance, tolerance), redundancy and protection against immunopathology, life-history integration of the immune response and shared immunity within a community (e.g. social immunity and microbiota-mediated protection). Our review summarizes the concepts of current importance and directs the reader to promising future research avenues that will deepen our understanding of the defence against parasites and pathogens.

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Available from: Yannick Moret, Nov 24, 2014
    • "but without reducing parasite infection or growth (Schulenburg et al., 2009; Baucom and De Roode, 44 2011); (2) resistance prevents infection or reduce parasite's growth by confining parasite spread or 45 investing in immune components that sequester parasites or protect and repair host tissues 46 (Rynkiewicz et al., 2013). Both strategies are not necessarily mutually exclusive within an 47 individual, even, at certain burden thresholds, individuals may switch from a resistance strategy to 48 one of tolerance (Schmid-Hempel, 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Immunological studies are often context-independent. But eco-immunology is emerging as an alternative, focusing on the natural variation of immune functions of free-living organisms in relation to their ecological constraints and evolutionary context. Immunological studies also tend to study only parasite resistance, that is, mechanisms by which hosts prevent infection or reduce parasite growth. But eco immunology deals with tolerance as well as resistance. Through tolerance, hosts defend themselves by minimizing the damage caused by parasites instead of reducing parasite infection.
    Evolutionary ecology research 07/2015; · 0.75 Impact Factor
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    • "To assess the adaptive value and context dependence of a paternal effect experimentally, it is necessary to manipulate exactly the same selective pressure in both parental and offspring generations. To this end, experimental exposure to parasites is ideal, given: (1) their ubiquitous presence in nature (Moore 2002) (2) their known fluctuating dynamics (Decaestecker et al. 2007) and (3) their detrimental effects on host condition and reproductive success (Kalbe et al. 2009; Schulenburg & Kurtz 2009). Genes responding to parasitemediated selection increase immunological resistance against the parasite and reduce the likelihood of infection (Sorci et al. 1997; Eizaguirre & Lenz 2010; Eizaguirre et al. 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Forces shaping an individual's phenotype are complex and include transgenerational effects. Despite low investment into reproduction, a father's environment and phenotype can shape its offspring's phenotype. Whether and when such paternal effects are adaptive, however, remains elusive. Using three-spined sticklebacks in controlled infection experiments, we show that sperm deficiencies in exposed males compared to their unexposed brothers functionally translated into reduced reproductive success in sperm competition trials. In non-competitive fertilisations, off-spring of exposed males suffered significant costs of reduced hatching success and survival but they reached a higher body condition than their counterparts from unexposed fathers after experi-mental infection. Interestingly, those benefits of paternal infection did not result from increased resistance but from increased tolerance to the parasite. Altogether, these results demonstrate that parasite resistance and tolerance are shaped by processes involving both genetic and non-genetic inheritance and suggest a context-dependent adaptive value of paternal effects. Keywords Host–parasite interaction, in vitro fertilisation, paternal effects, sperm phenotype, three-spined stickleback. Ecology Letters (2014) INTRODUCTION
    Ecology Letters 11/2014; 17(11). DOI:10.1111/ele.12344 · 13.04 Impact Factor
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    • "By contrast, ecoimmunology has—until recently— focused on investigating how the traits of hosts impact variation in immunity, irrespective of infection (as surprising as that may seem). Thus, even though ecoimmunology (unlike traditional immunology ) (Ottaviani et al. 2008; Schulenburg et al. 2009) is more amenable to top-down, bottom-up, and even middle-out pathways of inference (Annila and Baverstock 2014), it will benefit from increasing interdisciplinary exchange with disease ecology, as framing studies of variation in immunity in the context in which immunity operates and evolves (Graham et al. 2011), especially the parasites to which immunity is directed (Pedersen and Greives 2008; Hawley and Altizer 2011), is almost guaranteed to generate greater and more rapid progress. This integration may also have beneficial knockon effects on related disciplines such as conservation biology, where the combined tools of ecological immunology and disease ecology have the potential to contribute to understanding of the biology of invasions (Kolar and Lodge 2001) and of anthropogenic effects on the health of wildlife populations (French et al. 2010; Brock et al. 2013b). "
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    ABSTRACT: Ecoimmunology is an example of how fruitful integrative approaches to biology can be. Since its emergence, ecoimmunology has sparked constructive debate on a wide range of topics, from the molecular mechanics of immune responses to the role of immunity in shaping the evolution of life histories. To complement the symposium Methods and Mechanisms in Ecoimmunology and commemorate the inception of the Division of Ecoimmunology and Disease Ecology within the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, we appraise the origins of ecoimmunology, with a focus on its continuing and valuable integration with disease ecology. Arguably, the greatest contribution of ecoimmunology to wider biology has been the establishment of immunity as an integral part of organismal biology, one that may be regulated to maximize fitness in the context of costs, constraints, and complex interactions. We discuss historical impediments and ongoing progress in ecoimmunology, in particular the thorny issue of what ecoimmunologists should, should not, or cannot measure, and what novel contributions ecoimmunologists have made to the understanding of host-parasite interactions. Finally, we highlight some areas to which ecoimmunology is likely to contribute in the near future.
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