My research interests lies within immunoecology and I study ecological and evolutionary aspects on the immune defense in vertebrates. I work with questions relating to advantages and disadvantages of activating the immune defense, both from a proximate and an ultimate point of view. My research focus on two main questions:
Mothers have the potential to transmit antibodies to their offspring, and thus prepare them for the environment in which they will grow up. This transmission could provide the young with the ability to resist pathogens early in life, when their own immune system is not yet developed to control and prevent infections. I will study the timing of maternal transmission of antibodies to their young, i.e. if it is all antibodies acquired during the females life time that is transmitted to the offspring, or mainly the antibodies circulating in the blood at the time of egg laying. Furthermore, I will study how the maternally derived antibodies affect the development of the offsprings own immune defense.
Activation of the immune system is generally considered to be costly, and the activation require resources that the host otherwise could have assigned to other function, such as growth or reproduction. Hence, immune system activation has the potential to greatly affect life-history trade-offs. My studies will primarily focus on to what extent different types of immune responses are generating increased energy expenditure.