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The role of the mating system and intraspecific brood parasitism in the costs of reproduction in a passerine bird

AuthorsMonclús, Raquel; Muriel, Jaime ; Pérez-Rodríguez, Lorenzo ; Møller, Anders Pape; Gil, Diego
KeywordsEgg volume
Postnatal investment
Spotless starling
Sturnus unicolor
Prenatal investment
Issue Date2017
CitationOecologia 185(4): 629-639 (2017)
AbstractLimited resources trigger trade-offs in resource allocation. Reproduction is one of the most demanding activities in terms of energy, and costs related to reproduction can be apparent either as reduced future reproduction or as survival. However, costs are not always detected, because individual heterogeneity in quality and resource acquisition may explain variation in costs among individuals. We conducted a comprehensive study in spotless starlings (Sturnus unicolor) nesting in Central Spain to determine whether costs of reproduction could be detectable in the short and/or long term and whether prenatal or postnatal investment were driving these costs. We took into account the life history of the species, where egg volume is highly repeatable, males are facultatively polygynous, and intraspecific brood parasitism occurs. Females with a high reproductive effort in a breeding event also had a high reproductive effort in the second event of the season. The mating system and maternal age were reliable predictors of breeding success within a breeding event: monogamous and primary females, as well as older mothers, raised more nestlings than secondary females and 1-year-old females, respectively. However, when high-investing females suffered intra-brood parasitism in 1 year, we found a negative correlation between current and future reproduction. These results suggest that, under some circumstances, females are able to skip the short-term costs of reproduction, but when extra effort is added, trade-offs arise. While most studies have focused on different aspects of individual quality on costs, the ecological context seems to represent an important component that should be taken into account.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-017-3977-2
Appears in Collections:(EBD) Artículos
(MNCN) Artículos
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