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  1. Abstract

    Longevity plays a key role in the fitness of organisms, so understanding the processes that underlie variance in senescence has long been a focus of ecologists and evolutionary biologists. For decades, the performance and ultimate decline of mitochondria have been implicated in the demise of somatic tissue, but exactly why mitochondrial function declines as individual’s age has remained elusive. A possible source of decline that has been of intense debate is mutations to the mitochondrial DNA. There are two primary sources of such mutations: oxidative damage, which is widely discussed by ecologists interested in aging, and mitochondrial replication error, which is less familiar to most ecologists. The goal of this review is to introduce ecologists and evolutionary biologists to the concept of mitochondrial replication error and to review the current status of research on the relative importance of replication error in senescence. We conclude by detailing some of the gaps in our knowledge that currently make it difficult to deduce the relative importance of replication error in wild populations and encourage organismal biologists to consider this variable both when interpreting their results and as viable measure to include in their studies.

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    Considerable progress has been made in understanding the physiological basis for variation in the life‐history patterns of animals, particularly with regard to the roles of oxidative stress and hormonal regulation. However, an underappreciated and understudied area that could play a role in mediating inter‐ and intraspecific variation of life history is endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, and the resulting unfolded protein response (UPRER). ER stress response and the UPRERmaintain proteostasis in cells by reducing the intracellular load of secretory proteins and enhancing protein folding capacity or initiating apoptosis in cells that cannot recover. Proper modulation of the ER stress response and execution of the UPRERallow animals to respond to intracellular and extracellular stressors and adapt to constantly changing environments. ER stress responses are heritable and there is considerable individual variation in UPRERphenotype in animals, suggesting that ER stress and UPRERphenotype can be subjected to natural selection. The variation in UPRERphenotype presumably reflects the way animals respond to ER stress and environmental challenges. Most of what we know about ER stress and the UPRERin animals has either come from biomedical studies using cell culture or from experiments involving conventional laboratory or agriculturally important models that exhibit limited genetic diversity. Furthermore, these studies involve the assessment of experimentally induced qualitative changes in gene expression as opposed to the quantitative variations that occur in naturally existing populations. Almost all of these studies were conducted in controlled settings that are often quite different from the conditions animals experience in nature. Herein, we review studies that investigated ER stress and the UPRERin relation to key life‐history traits including growth and development, reproduction, bioenergetics and physical performance, and ageing and senescence. We then ask if these studies can inform us about the role of ER stress and the UPRERin mediating the aforementioned life‐history traits in free‐living animals. We propose that there is a need to conduct experiments pertaining to ER stress and the UPRERin ecologically relevant settings, to characterize variation in ER stress and the UPRERin free‐living animals, and to relate the observed variation to key life‐history traits. We urge others to integrate multiple physiological systems and investigate how interactions between ER stress and oxidative stress shape life‐history trade‐offs in free‐living animals.

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  3. Abstract

    An important component of life history theory is understanding how natural variation arises in populations. Both endogenous and exogenous factors contribute to organism survival and reproduction, and therefore, it is important to understand how such factors are both beneficial and detrimental to population dynamics. One ecologically relevant factor that influences the life history of aquatic organisms is ultraviolet (UV) radiation. While the majority of research has focused on the potentially detrimental effects that UV radiation has on aquatic organisms, few studies have evaluated hormetic responses stimulated by radiation under select conditions. The goal of this study was to evaluate the impact of UV‐A/B irradiation on life history characteristics inTigriopus californicuscopepods. After exposing copepods to UV‐A/B irradiation (control, 1‐, and 3‐hr UV treatments at 0.5 W/m2), we measured the impact of exposure on fecundity, reproductive effort, and longevity. We found that UV irradiation increased the size of the first clutch among all reproducing females in both the 1‐ and 3‐hr experimental groups and decreased longevity among all females that mated in the 1‐hr treatment. UV irradiation had no effect on the number of clutches females produced. These findings indicate a potential benefit of UV irradiation on reproductive performance early in life, although the same exposure came at a cost to longevity.

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  4. Abstract

    Eukaryotes are the outcome of an ancient symbiosis and as such, eukaryotic cells fundamentally possess two genomes. As a consequence, gene products encoded by both nuclear and mitochondrial genomes must interact in an intimate and precise fashion to enable aerobic respiration in eukaryotes. This genomic architecture of eukaryotes is proposed to necessitate perpetual coevolution between the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes to maintain coadaptation, but the presence of two genomes also creates the opportunity for intracellular conflict. In the collection of papers that constitute this symposium volume, scientists working in diverse organismal systems spanning vast biological scales address emerging topics in integrative, comparative biology in light of mitonuclear interactions.

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    Synopsis One of the key foci of ecoimmunology is understanding the physiological interactions between reproduction and immune defense. To assess an immune challenge, investigators typically measure an immune response at a predetermined time point that was selected to represent a peak response. These time points often are based on the immunological responses of nonreproductive males. Problematically, these peaks have been applied to studies quantifying immune responses of females during reproduction, despite the fact that nonreproductive males and reproductive females display fundamentally different patterns of energy expenditure. Previous work within pharmacological research has reported that the response to the commonly-used antigen keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) varies among individuals and between females and males. In this heuristic analysis, we characterize antibody responses to KLH in females with varying reproductive demands (nonreproductive, lactating, concurrently lactating, and pregnant). Serum was taken from one animal per day per group and assessed for general and specific Immunoglobulins (Igs) G and M. We then used regression analysis to characterize the antibody response curves across groups. Our results demonstrate that the antibody response curve is asynchronous among females with varying maternal demands and temporally differs from the anticipated peak responses reflected in standardized protocols. These findings highlight the importance of multiple sampling points across treatment groups for a more integrative assessment of how reproductive demand alters antibody responses in females beyond a single measurement. 
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