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Reproductive trade-offs in a long-lived bird species: condition-dependent reproductive allocation maintains female survival and offspring quality


Griesser, Michael; Wagner, G F; Drobniak, S M; Ekman, J (2017). Reproductive trade-offs in a long-lived bird species: condition-dependent reproductive allocation maintains female survival and offspring quality. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 30(4):782-795.

Abstract

Life history theory is an essential framework to understand the evolution of reproductive allocation. It predicts that individuals of long-lived species favour their own survival over current reproduction, leading individuals to refrain from reproducing under harsh conditions. Here we test this prediction in a long-lived bird species, the Siberian jay Perisoreus infaustus. Long-term data revealed that females rarely refrain from breeding, but lay smaller clutches in unfavourable years. Neither offspring body size, female survival nor offspring survival until the next year was influenced by annual condition, habitat quality, clutch size, female age or female phenotype. Given that many nests failed due to nest predation, the variance in the number of fledglings was higher than the variance in the number of eggs and female survival. An experimental challenge with a novel pathogen before egg laying largely replicated these patterns in two consecutive years with contrasting conditions. Challenged females refrained from breeding only in the unfavourable year, but no downstream effects were found in either year. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that condition-dependent reproductive allocation may serve to maintain female survival and offspring quality, supporting patterns found in long-lived mammals. We discuss avenues to develop life history theory concerning strategies to offset reproductive costs.

Abstract

Life history theory is an essential framework to understand the evolution of reproductive allocation. It predicts that individuals of long-lived species favour their own survival over current reproduction, leading individuals to refrain from reproducing under harsh conditions. Here we test this prediction in a long-lived bird species, the Siberian jay Perisoreus infaustus. Long-term data revealed that females rarely refrain from breeding, but lay smaller clutches in unfavourable years. Neither offspring body size, female survival nor offspring survival until the next year was influenced by annual condition, habitat quality, clutch size, female age or female phenotype. Given that many nests failed due to nest predation, the variance in the number of fledglings was higher than the variance in the number of eggs and female survival. An experimental challenge with a novel pathogen before egg laying largely replicated these patterns in two consecutive years with contrasting conditions. Challenged females refrained from breeding only in the unfavourable year, but no downstream effects were found in either year. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that condition-dependent reproductive allocation may serve to maintain female survival and offspring quality, supporting patterns found in long-lived mammals. We discuss avenues to develop life history theory concerning strategies to offset reproductive costs.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Brucella abortus ; intergenerational costs; intermittent breeding; intragenerational costs; life history; prebreeding condition; reproductive costs
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:02 Aug 2017 17:15
Last Modified:02 Aug 2017 17:15
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1010-061X
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/jeb.13046
PubMed ID:28135017

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