Role of telomeres in the life history of the greater horseshoe bat
Location: Woodchester Mansion, Gloucestershire, UK
The difference in prioritisation of life-history traits gives rise to life-history strategies with the best examples of these trade-offs including the cost of growth, the cost of reproduction and lifespan and ageing. However individuals also vary in their responses to different environmental factors and differ in mitigating these costs. Quantifying this in wild systems is extremely difficult with telomeres being proposed as a potential biomarker that reflects phylsiological consequences of individual-level experiences.
This project involves a Rhinolophus ferrumequinum colony in Gloucestershire, UK, which has been extensively studied since 1959. Several insights into their life-history has been uncovered including timing of births associated with mortality and growth, breeding associated with lifespan and age associated with male reproductive success. Given the current knowledge, this population provides a rare opportunity to examine within-individual changes in telomere length across key life-history stages and across an extensive time period.
Professor Gareth Jones
Professor Emma Teeling
Dr Roger Ransome