Do islands harbour less diverse disease communities than mainland? The island biogeography theory predicts more diverse communities on mainland than on islands due to more niches, more diverse habitats and availability of greater range of hosts. We compared bacteria prevalences of Campylobacter, Chlamydia and Salmonella in cloacal samples of a small shorebird, the Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) between two island populations of Macaronesia and two mainland locations in the Iberian Peninsula. Bacteria were found in all populations but, contrary to the expectations, prevalences did not differ between islands and mainland. Females had higher prevalences than males for Salmonella and when three bacteria genera were pooled together. Bacteria infection was unrelated to bird's body condition but females from mainland were heavier than males and birds from mainland were heavier than those from islands. Abiotic variables consistent throughout breeding sites, like high salinity that is known to inhibit bacteria growth, could explain the lack of differences in the bacteria prevalence between areas. We argue about the possible drivers and implications of sex differences in bacteria prevalence in Kentish plovers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)