Santiago Merino

Santiago Merino
The National Museum of Natural Sciences · Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva - MNCN

PhD

About

322
Publications
50,869
Reads
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8,986
Citations
Introduction
Host-parasite interactions focused on the effects of parasites on the fitness of their hosts but also on the evolutionary strategies of transmission of different species of parasites. I have studied various host-parasite systems in populations of wild animals including mammals, reptiles and mostly birds, as well as their ectoparasites and endoparasites using experimental approaches such as parasite load modification in blood parasites in wild populations. I also described new species to science.
Additional affiliations
August 2013 - present
The National Museum of Natural Sciences
Position
  • Managing Director
August 2000 - August 2013
Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales
Position
  • Professor
January 1997 - December 1998
Pierre and Marie Curie University - Paris 6 CNRS
Position
  • becario postdoctoral

Publications

Publications (322)
Article
Full-text available
Ontogeny is expected to be a determinant factor affecting production of colour patches in lizards, while immune challenges or sudden weight loss may impair the maintenance of pigment-based coloration within a breeding season. We translocated males of the lizard Psammodromus algirus between two sampling plots that differed in distance to a road, veg...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Several models predict changes in the distributions and incidences of diseases associated with climate change. However, studies that investigate how microclimatic changes may affect host-parasite relationships are scarce. Here, we experimentally increased the temperature in blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus nest boxes during their breeding season to det...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change effects on host–parasite interactions have been poorly studied in arid or semi-arid habitats. Here, we conducted an experiment aimed to increase the temperature inside European roller Coracias garrulus nest boxes located in a semi-arid habitat on different nest-site types to look for effects on different ectoparasite abundances and n...
Article
Full-text available
Models on climate change have predicted an increase of temperature over the earth's surface with potential drastic effects on living organisms. We analyzed the relationships between climatic conditions (temperature, rainfall and wind speed) and the abundance of blood-sucking flying insects (biting midges and blackflies) and nest-dwelling ectoparasi...
Article
Several studies of lizards have made an erroneous interpretation of negative relationships between spectral brightness and parasite load, and thus provided misleading support for the Hamilton–Zuk hypothesis (HZH). The HZH predicts that infected hosts will produce poorer sexual ornamentation than uninfected individuals as a result of energetic trade...
Article
Full-text available
Although different predictive models forecast that climate change will alter the distribution and incidence of parasitic diseases, few studies have investigated how microclimatic changes may affect host-parasite relationships. In this study, we experimentally increased the temperature inside nest boxes of the blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus during the...
Article
Although parrot species are infrequently infected by hemoparasites in the wild, some fatal infections have been reported in captive individuals. Conversely birds of prey are frequently infected by hemoparasites. In this study, 193 captive birds from Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) centers in M...
Chapter
This chapter provides a brief overview of how natural gradients (e.g., latitude, altitude, and landscape gradients) affect host–parasite interactions involving blood parasites in wildlife and how biotic and abiotic factors act as disruptors. These gradients have a direct impact on prevalence, parasitemia, and the observed relationships between para...
Article
We studied the relationship between temperature and the coexistence of great tit Parus major and blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus, breeding in 75 study plots across Europe and North Africa. We expected an advance in laying date and a reduction in clutch size during warmer springs as a general response to climate warming and a delay in laying date and a...
Article
Full-text available
The presence of nestlings and other nest dwelling organisms in cavity nests alters the composition of gasses inside the cavity. Differential concentrations of gasses could be used by some parasites as a cue to localize their hosts. Here, we explored temporal variation in the concentration and isotopic signature of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (...
Article
Full-text available
Anthropization of insular ecosystems may have negative impacts on native populations of lizards, which provide core ecosystem services on islands. We aimed to identify environmental factors to explain the interlocal variation in faecal glucocorticoids, parasite intensity, and body condition in populations of insular lizards. A cross-sectional desig...
Article
Full-text available
During the last years, models on the effects of climate change predict the arrival of milder climates to higher latitudes and altitudes, and as a consequence, the spread of disease from lower latitudes and altitudes. Bird-parasite interactions are not an exception and could be affected by these changes. However, several reviews on the effects of cl...
Article
Full-text available
Some passerines incorporate aromatic plants in their nest cups, and several hypotheses have been formulated to explain this behaviour. One of those, the Drug Hypothesis, states that aromatic plants present in nests have positive effects on nestlings’ development through increased immune function. In this study, we aimed to examine if experimental a...
Article
Adaptive explanations for the evolution of extra‐pair paternity (EPP) suggest that females seek extra‐pair copulations with high quality males. Still, the link between ornamentation, individual quality and paternity remains unclear. Moreover, honest signaling is essential when explaining EPP because it is needed for sexual selection to occur; yet,...
Preprint
Full-text available
The presence of nestlings and other nest dwelling living beings in nests built in cavities could alter the composition of gases inside the cavity. In addition, this different concentration of gases could be used by some parasites as a cue to localize their hosts. Here, we explored the temporal variation in the concentration and isotopic signature o...
Article
Full-text available
Knowledge on hemoparasites and immunological parameters in wild birds with Arctic distribution is limited. In this study, we chose the Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) as model species to address this issue. Using nestlings, we aimed at (i) detecting hemoparasites with vector-borne transmission (via microscopic and molecular methods) and nest-d...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Parasites can exert selection pressure on their hosts through effects on survival, on reproductive success, on sexually selected ornament, with important ecological and evolutionary consequences, such as changes in population viability. Consequently, hemoparasites have become the focus of recent avian studies. Infection varies significa...
Article
Current and past parasite transmission may depend on the geographic contact between hosts, potentially affecting host specificity and co-evolutionary processes. Nonetheless, divergent evolution in sympatry might be especially relevant in parasite systems that infect hosts with low mobility. Here, we test the co-speciation hypothesis between lizard...
Article
Full-text available
Several models predict changes in the distributions and incidences of diseases associated with climate change. However, studies that investigate how microclimatic changes may affect host‐parasite relationships are scarce. Here, we experimentally increased the temperature in blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) nest boxes during their breeding season to d...
Data
Model selection for female behavioral traits (Table A1)
Data
Model selection for male behavioral traits (Table A2)
Article
Full-text available
Carry-over effects refer to processes that occur in one season and influence fitness in the following. In birds, two costly activities, namely reproduction and moult, are restricted to a small time window, and sometimes overlap. Thus, colour in newly moulted feathers is likely to be affected by the costs of reproduction. Using models of bird vision...
Article
Full-text available
Parasites generally have a negative influence on the color expression of their hosts. Sexual selection theory predicts high quality resistant individuals should show intense coloration, whereas susceptible low quality individuals would show poor coloration. However, intensely colored males of different species of Old and New World lizards were more...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Species of Schellackia Reichenow, 1919 have been described from the blood of reptiles distributed worldwide. Recently, Schellackia spp. detected in European and Asian lizards have been molecularly characterised. However, parasites detected in American lizard hosts remain uncharacterised. Thus, phylogenetic affinities between the Old and...
Article
Full-text available
The honesty of structural-based ornaments is controversial. Sexual selection theory predicts that the honesty of a sexual signal relies on its cost of production or maintenance. Therefore, environmental factors with negative impact on individuals could generate high costs and affect the expression of these sexual signals. In this sense, parasites a...
Article
Full-text available
Many passerines lay protoporphyrin-pigmented eggs, and the degree of spotting seems to be related to female condition and environmental characteristics. However, most studies have ignored the relationship between the male's quality and eggshell pigmentation. Because ornaments can act as honest indicators of individual quality, spottiness could be r...
Article
In wild bird populations nestlings are commonly infested by ectoparasites. The effects that ectoparasites exert on host fitness usually become evident after the complete elimination of parasites or a substantial reduction in their abundance. Among the most common elimination methods in ecological studies, the use of chemical insecticides is traditi...
Article
Full-text available
Host species in populations under strong pressures from parasitic diseases may evolve ornaments to signal individual host quality to conspecifics. Colour ornaments in lizards result from the interaction of different layers in the skin. When inner layers of melanin and well-arranged iridophores are combined, UV-blue structural colouration results. O...
Article
Full-text available
The increase in size of human populations in urban and agricultural areas has resulted in considerable habitat conversion globally. Such anthropogenic areas have specific environmental characteristics, which influence the physiology, life history, and population dynamics of plants and animals. For example, the date of bud burst is advanced in urban...
Data
Figure S1. Intensity of urbanisation according to (A) classification by scientists. Box plots show medians, quartiles, 5‐ and 95‐percentiles, and extreme values, and (B) CORINE land cover code (red = discontinuous urban, purple = industrial or commercial units, pink = green urban sites, brown = arable land and rice field, orange = agriculture lands...
Data
Figure S2. Distribution of study plots across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
Data
Table S1. Summary data for study plots. See Material and methods for definitions. Table S2. Correlation matrix of explanatory variables. Table S3. Mixed linear model investigating laying date in four passerines species (CF: Collared Flycatcher, GT: Great tit and PF: Pied Flycatcher) as a function of habitat characteristics (intensity of urbanisat...
Data
Figure S3. Box plots of latitude of study plots in four passerine birds in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
Article
Full-text available
The increase in size of human populations in urban and agricultural areas has resulted in considerable habitat conversion globally. Such anthropogenic areas have specific environmental characteristics, which influence the physiology, life history, and population dynamics of plants and animals. For example, the date of bud burst is advanced in urban...
Article
Full-text available
Ardeola is the scientific journal of the Spanish Ornithological Society. We analyse historical changes in citation, topics and foreign authorship of articles published in Ardeola from its first publication in 1954 up to last year, 2015, to test to what extent the persistence of the journal during the last 61 years has been due to support of authors...
Article
Full-text available
Ardeola is the scientific journal of the Spanish Ornithological Society. We analyse historical changes in citation, topics and foreign authorship of articles published in Ardeola from its first publication in 1954 up to last year, 2015, to test to what extent the persistence of the journal during the last 61 years has been due to support of authors...
Article
Full-text available
Pigment-based ornaments in vertebrates may reflect the body condition or health status of the individual in correlation with environmental stress and hormonal balance. Among the environmental factors shaping sexual colouration, parasitic infections have been stressed as an important evolutionary pressure constraining the maintenance of pigment-base...
Article
Full-text available
In this study, several species of Isospora infecting lizards were genetically characterized. Specifically, five described and four newly described species of Isospora were included in a phylogeny of the family Eimeriidae. These species were isolated from hosts originally inhabiting all geographic continents except Europe. Phylogenetic analyses of t...
Article
Full-text available
Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes are central for the adaptive immune response against parasites. Here, we investigated potential associations among MHC-I alleles and blood parasite infections in a natural breeding population of a passerine bird, the blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus, in central Spain. We screened both infection status (prese...
Article
Blood parasites exert great selective pressure that can alter population dynamics. The introduction of new parasite lineages in a region could lead to the extinction of endemic bird species which have not coevolved with them. The avifauna of Pampa del Tamarugal in the desert of Atacama, Chile is highly depauperate, with two species accounting for t...
Article
Pollutants and toxic contaminants produced in all parts of the world are transported to remote regions including Antarctica. Tourism, research, and fishing activities on this continent are another source of contamination. Toxic substances affect Antarctic species, and some produced genomic damage to the fauna. The genetic damage can be detected by...
Article
Full-text available
Reptiles are the animals with the most described coccidian species among all vertebrates. However, the co-evolutionary relationships in this host–parasite system have been scarcely studied. Paperna & Landsberg (South African Journal of Zoology, 24, 1989, 345) proposed the independent evolutionary origin of the Eimeria-like species isolated from rep...
Article
Reproduction is inherently costly. Environmental stressors, such as infection and limited food resources, can compromise investment at each breeding attempt. For example, recent data on captive birds showed that increased reproductive effort accelerates ageing. However, the effects of nutritional status and infection on ageing remain unknown. Telom...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
During the mating season, male vertebrates may face a negative immunomodulation due to the increase of their plasma testosterone levels. These hormonal changes may lead to an increase in the susceptibility to parasitic diseases. During the mating season of 2013, 75 individuals of Lacerta scheriberi in a population breeding at middle elevation were...
Data
Summary information on studies of the relationship between clutch size and nest size in different species of birds.
Article
Full-text available
Nests are structures built to support and protect eggs and/or offspring from predators, parasites, and adverse weather conditions. Nests are mainly constructed prior to egg laying, meaning that parent birds must make decisions about nest site choice and nest building behavior before the start of egg-laying. Parent birds should be selected to choose...
Article
Full-text available
There is increasing evidence that sexual selection operates in females and not only in males. However, the function of female signals in intrasexual competition has been little studied in species with conventional sex roles. In the Iberian populations of the pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca), some females express a white forehead patch, a trait...
Article
Full-text available
The Juan Fernández Firecrown Sephanoides fernandensis and Juan Fernández Tit-Tyrant Anairetes fernandezianus are two endemic forest birds inhabiting Robinson Crusoe Island and are classified as ‘Critically Endangered’ and ‘Near Threatened’ respectively by IUCN. Previous research concluded that the two main factors involved in the decline of these b...
Article
Secondary hole nesting birds that do not construct nest holes themselves and hence regularly breed in nest boxes constitute important model systems for field studies in many biological disciplines with hundreds of scientists and amateurs involved. Those research groups are spread over wide geographic areas that experience considerable variation in...
Article
The current taxonomy on the haemococcidia establishes that the two genera of protozoan parasites that integrate the family Lankesterellidae are Lankesterella and Schellackia. However, the phylogeny of these genera, as well as the other coccidia, remains unresolved. In this sense, the use of type and described species is essential for the resolution...