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Keller, Isabel Salome; Bayer, Till; Salzburger, Walter; Roth, Olivia (2017): Effects of parental care on resource allocation into immune defence and buccal microbiota in mouthbrooding cichlids; cellular immune paramenter (flow cytometry), candidate gene expression (Fluidigm), buccal microbiota composition (MySeq, Illumina). PANGAEA,, Supplement to: Keller, IS et al. (2018): Effects of parental care on resource allocation into immune defense and buccal microbiota in mouthbrooding cichlid fishes. Evolution, 72(5), 1109-1123,

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Sexual dimorphism is founded upon a resource allocation trade-off between investments in reproduction versus other life-history traits including the immune system. In conventional parental care roles, males maximize their lifetime reproductive success by allocating resources towards sexual selection, while females achieve this through prolonging their lifespan. Here, we examine the interrelation between sexual dimorphism and parental care strategies in closely related maternal and biparental mouthbrooding cichlid fishes from East African Lake Tanganyika. We measured cellular immune parameters, examined the relative expression of 28 immune system and life-history-related candidate genes and analysed the microbiota composition in the buccal cavity. According to our predictions, maternal mouthbrooders are more sexually dimorphic in immune parameters and buccal microbiota composition than biparental mouthbrooders, which has possibly arisen through a differential resource allocation into parental care versus secondary sexual traits. Biparental mouthbrooders, on the other hand, which share the costs of parental care, feature an upregulated adaptive immune response and stronger antiviral properties, while their inflammation response is reduced. Overall, our results suggest a differential resource allocation trade-off between the two modes of parental investment.
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