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Mass dynamics of the spleen and other organs in geese: measures of immune relationships to helminths?


Mass dynamics of the spleen and other organs in geese: measures of immune relationships to helminths?

Shutler, Dave, Alisauskas, Ray T. and McLaughlin, J. Daniel (1999) Mass dynamics of the spleen and other organs in geese: measures of immune relationships to helminths? Canadian Journal of Zoology, 77 (3). pp. 351-349. ISSN 0008-4301

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McLaughlin_CanJZool_1999.pdf - Published Version

Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjz-77-3-351


The spleen is an important organ of avian immune systems. We examined whether helminth loads were related to spleen mass in the lesser snow goose, Chen caerulescens caerulescens. On 27 collecting occasions, 744 geese were obtained at 13 different locations in a south-north gradient in midcontinental North America. The masses of the spleen, caecum, small intestine, large intestine, pancreas, heart, and crop of all geese were determined, and intestinal and caecal helminths were counted. Seventy-eight percent of geese harbored at least one helminth species. For analyses, helminths were grouped as cestodes (26% prevalence), trematodes (19% prevalence), and nematodes (70% prevalence). After sample location and time, host age, host sex, and host body size were controlled for in a multivariate analysis of covariance, nematodes were the only helminth group associated with variation in organ masses. Greater nematode loads were weakly associated with lower spleen, higher caecum, lower large intestine, and lower heart masses. When uninfected individuals were excluded from the analysis, greater nematode loads were no longer associated with variation in spleen size but were associated with higher crop mass, and greater cestode loads were associated with higher heart mass. In neither of these analyses were any other cestode-organ or trematode-organ associations significant. Geese carrying two or more helminth groups had lower spleen masses than did geese infected with no or one helminth group. When we interchanged response and explanatory variables from the preceding analyses and retained the same covariates, the same organ mass - helminth associations tended to remain significant. Nonetheless, the small variation in helminth loads explained by variation in spleen mass (or vice versa) provided only weak support for the hypothesis that intraspecifically, wild individuals with lower investment in immunity are more susceptible to nematode infections.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Biology
Item Type:Article
Authors:Shutler, Dave and Alisauskas, Ray T. and McLaughlin, J. Daniel
Journal or Publication:Canadian Journal of Zoology
Date:March 1999
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):10.1139/cjz-77-3-351
ID Code:6782
Deposited On:13 Jul 2010 16:21
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:29
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