153 Works

Data from: Costly infidelity: low lifetime fitness of extra-pair offspring in a passerine bird

Yu-Hsun Hsu, Julia Schroeder, Isabel Winney, Terry A. Burke, Shinichi Nakagawa & Terry Burke
Extra-pair copulation (EPC) is widespread in socially monogamous species, but its evolutionary benefits remain controversial. Indirect genetic benefit hypotheses postulate that females engage in EPC to produce higher quality extra-pair offspring (EPO) than within-pair offspring (WPO). In contrast, the sexual conflict hypothesis posits that EPC is beneficial to males but not to females. Thus, under the sexual conflict hypothesis, EPO are predicted to be no fitter than WPO. We tested these two hypotheses with a...

Data from: Biparental incubation patterns in a high-Arctic breeding shorebird: how do pairs divide their duties?

Martin Bulla, Mihai Valcu, Anne L. Rutten & Bart Kempenaers
In biparental species, parents may be in conflict over how much they invest into their offspring. To understand this conflict, parental care needs to be accurately measured, something rarely done. Here, we quantitatively describe the outcome of parental conflict in terms of quality, amount and timing of incubation throughout the 21 day incubation period in a population of semipalmated sandpipers (Calidris pusilla) breeding under continuous daylight in the High Arctic. Incubation quality, measured by egg...

Data from: Horizontal transmission of the father’s song in the Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata)

Sébastien Derégnaucourt, Manfred Gahr & S. Deregnaucourt
As is the case for human speech, birdsong is transmitted across generations by imitative learning. Although transfer of song patterns from adults to juveniles typically occurs via vertical or oblique transmission, there is also evidence of horizontal transmission between juveniles of the same generation. Here, we show that a young male zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) that has been exposed to its father during the sensitive period for song learning can lead a brother, that has...

Data from: Environmental and genetic control of brain and song structure in the zebra finch

Joseph Luke Woodgate, Katherine L. Buchanan, Andrew T. D. Bennett, Clive K. Catchpole, Roswitha Brighton, Stefan Leitner & Andrew T.D. Bennett
Birdsong is a classic example of a learned trait with cultural inheritance, with selection acting on trait expression. To understand how song responds to selection, it is vital to determine the extent to which variation in song learning and neuroanatomy is attributable to genetic variation, environmental conditions, or their interactions. Using a partial cross fostering design with an experimental stressor, we quantified the heritability of song structure and key brain nuclei in the song control...

Data from: Artificial light at night advances avian reproductive physiology

Davide M. Dominoni, Michael Quetting & Jesko Partecke
Artificial light at night is a rapidly increasing phenomenon and it is presumed to have global implications. Light at night has been associated with health problems in humans as a consequence of altered biological rhythms. Effects on wild animals have been less investigated, but light at night has often been assumed to affect seasonal cycles of urban dwellers. Using light loggers attached to free-living European blackbirds (Turdus merula), we first measured light intensity at night...

Data from: Exposure to predator models during the fertile period leads to higher levels of extra-pair paternity in blue tits

Peter Santema, Mihai Valcu & Bart Kempenaers
1) The perceived risk of predation can affect breeding behaviour and reduce reproductive success in prey species. Individuals exposed to predators may also adopt different mating tactics with potential consequences for the distribution of paternity in socially monogamous species that engage in extra-pair copulations. 2) We experimentally increased perceived predation risk during the fertile period in blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus. Every morning between nest completion and the onset of egg laying, we presented a model...

Data from: A prezygotic transmission distorter acting equally in female and male zebra finches Taeniopygia guttata

Ulrich Knief, Holger Schielzeth, Hans Ellegren, Bart Kempenaers & Wolfgang Forstmeier
The two parental alleles at a specific locus are usually inherited with equal probability to the offspring. However, at least three processes can lead to an apparent departure from fair segregation: early viability selection, biased gene conversion and various kinds of segregation distortion. Here, we conduct a genome-wide scan for transmission distortion in a captive population of zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) using 1302 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) followed by confirmatory analyses on independent samples from the...

Data from: Social monogamy versus polyandry: ecological factors associated with sex-roles in two closely related birds within the same habitat

Wolfgang Goymann, Musa Makomba, Felister Urasa & Ingrid Schwabl
Why mainly males compete and females take a larger share in parental care remains an exciting question in evolutionary biology. Role-reversed species are of particular interest, because such exceptions′ help to test the rule. Using mating systems theory as a framework, we compared the reproductive ecology of the two most contrasting coucals with regard to sexual dimorphism and parental care: the black coucal with male-only care and the bi-parental white-browed coucal. Both species occur in...

Data from: Temporal activity patterns of predators and prey across broad geographic scales

Stephen D.J. Lang, Richard P. Mann, Damien R. Farine & Stephen D J Lang
Predators and prey are locked in an evolutionary arms race that shapes their behaviour and life history. Predators target prey vulnerabilities to maximise hunting success, while prey trade-off foraging against predation avoidance. Though studies have demonstrated how predation risk can alter how prey allocate daily foraging effort, little work has considered the implications of this temporal component of behaviour from a predator’s perspective, or assessed its influence on broad-scale predator-prey interactions. We develop a method...

Data from: Neural activation following offensive aggression in Japanese quail

Cornelia Voigt, Katharina Hirschenhauser & Stefan Leitner
Aggression is a fundamental part of animal social behaviour. In avian species, little is known about its neural representation. In particular, neural activity following offensive aggression has not been studied in detail. Here, we investigated the patterns of brain activation using immediate-early gene (IEG) expression in male Japanese quail that showed pronounced aggressive behaviours during a 30 min male-male interaction and compared them to those of males that did not interact with a conspecific. In...

Sex-specific effects of cooperative breeding and colonial nesting on prosociality in corvids

Lisa Horn, Thomas Bugnyar, Michael Griesser, Marietta Hengl, Ei-Ichi Izawa, Tim Oortwijn, Christiane Rössler, Clara Scheer, Martina Schiestl, Masaki Suyama, Alex H. Taylor, Lisa-Claire Vanhooland, Auguste M. P. Von Bayern, Yvonne Zürcher & Jorg J. M. Massen
The investigation of prosocial behavior is of particular interest from an evolutionary perspective. Comparisons of prosociality across non-human animal species have, however, so far largely focused on primates, and their interpretation is hampered by the diversity of paradigms and procedures used. Here we present the first systematic comparison of prosocial behavior across multiple species in a taxonomic group outside the primate order, namely the bird family Corvidae. We measured prosociality in 8 corvid species, which...

Data from: Polygamy slows down population divergence in shorebirds

Josephine D'Urban Jackson, Natalie Dos Remedios, Kathryn H. Maher, Sama Zefania, Susan Haig, Sara Oyler-McCance, Donald Blomqvist, Terry Burke, Mike W. Bruford, Tamas Szekely, Clemens Küpper & Michael W. Bruford
Sexual selection may act as a promotor of speciation since divergent mate choice and competition for mates can rapidly lead to reproductive isolation. Alternatively, sexual selection may also retard speciation since polygamous individuals can access additional mates by increased breeding dispersal. High breeding dispersal should hence increase gene flow and reduce diversification in polygamous species. Here we test how polygamy predicts diversification in shorebirds using genetic differentiation and subspecies richness as proxies for population divergence....

Data from: The role of social and ecological processes in structuring animal populations: a case study from automated tracking of wild birds

Damien R. Farine, Joshua Firth, Lucy M. Aplin, Ross A. Crates, Antica Culina, Colin J. Garroway, Lindall R. Kidd, Nicole D. Milligan, Ioannis Psorakis, Reinder Radersma, Brecht Verhelst, Bernhard Voelkl, Ben C. Sheldon, C. A. Hinde & J. A. Firth
Both social and ecological factors influence population process and structure, with resultant consequences for phenotypic selection on individuals. Understanding the scale and relative contribution of these two factors is thus a central aim in evolutionary ecology. In this study, we develop a framework using null models to identify the social and spatial patterns that contribute to phenotypic structure in a wild population of songbirds. We used automated technologies to track 1053 individuals that formed 73...

Data from: Host and parasite life history interplay to yield divergent population genetic structures in two ectoparasites living on the same bat species

Jaap Van Schaik, Daan Dekeukeleire & Gerald Kerth
Host–parasite interactions are ubiquitous in nature. However, how parasite population genetic structure is shaped by the interaction between host and parasite life history remains understudied. Studies comparing multiple parasites infecting a single host can be used to investigate how different parasite life history traits interplay with host behaviour and life history. In this study, we used 10 newly developed microsatellite loci to investigate the genetic structure of a parasitic bat fly (Basilia nana). Its host,...

Data from: Carotenoid-based bill coloration functions as a social, not sexual, signal in songbirds (Aves: Passeriformes)

Cody J. Dey, Mihai Valcu, Bart Kempenaers & James Dale
Many animals use coloration to communicate with other individuals. While the signalling role of avian plumage colour is relatively well studied, there has been much less research on coloration in avian bare parts. However, bare parts could be highly informative signals as they can show rapid changes in coloration. We measured bill colour (a ubiquitous bare part) in over 1600 passerine species and tested whether interspecific variation in carotenoid-based coloration is consistent with signalling to...

Data from: Interspecific social networks promote information transmission in wild songbirds

Damien R. Farine, Lucy M. Aplin, Ben C. Sheldon & William Hoppitt
Understanding the functional links between social structure and population processes is a central aim of evolutionary ecology. Multiple types of interactions can be represented by networks drawn for the same population, such as kinship, dominance or affiliative networks, but the relative importance of alternative networks in modulating population processes may not be clear. We illustrate this problem, and a solution, by developing a framework for testing the importance of different types of association in facilitating...

Data from: Singing from North to South: latitudinal variation in timing of dawn singing under natural and artificial light conditions

Arnaud Da Silva & Bart Kempenaers
1. Animals breeding at northern latitudes experience drastic changes in daily light conditions during the breeding season with decreasing periods of darkness, whereas those living at lower latitudes are exposed to naturally dark nights throughout the year. Nowadays, many animals are also exposed to artificial night lighting (often referred to as light pollution). 2. Animals strongly rely on variation in light levels to time their daily and seasonal behaviour. Previous work on passerine birds showed...

Data from: Social and spatial effects on genetic variation between foraging flocks in a wild bird population

Reinder Radersma, Colin J. Garroway, Anna W. Santure, Isabelle De Cauwer, Damien R. Farine, Jon Slate & Ben C. Sheldon
Social interactions are rarely random. In some instances animals exhibit homophily or heterophily, the tendency to interact with similar or dissimilar conspecifics respectively. Genetic homophily and heterophily influence the evolutionary dynamics of populations, because they potentially affect sexual and social selection. Here we investigate the link between social interactions and allele frequencies in foraging flocks of great tits (Parus major) over three consecutive years. We constructed co-occurrence networks which explicitly described the splitting and merging...

Data from: No fitness benefits of early molt in a fairy-wren: relaxed sexual selection under genetic monogamy?

Marie Fan, Michelle L. Hall, Sjouke A. Kingma, Lisa M. Mandeltort, Nataly Hidalgo Aranzamendi, Kaspar Delhey & Anne Peters
The evolution of male ornamentation has long been the focus of sexual selection studies. However, evidence is accumulating that sexually selected traits can also be lost, although the process is ill-understood. In male fairy-wrens (Malurus spp.), early molt into the seasonal breeding plumage is critical for obtaining extra-pair paternity (EPP), which reaches very high levels in these socially monogamous songbirds. A notable exception is the purple-crowned fairy-wren, Malurus coronatus, which, like its congeners, breeds cooperatively,...

Data from: Higher songs of city birds may not be an individual response to noise

Sue Anne Zollinger, Peter J. B. Slater, Erwin Nemeth & Henrik Brumm
It has been observed in many songbird species that populations in noisy urban areas sing with a higher minimum frequency than do matched populations in quieter, less developed areas. However, why and how this divergence occurs is not yet understood. We experimentally tested whether chronic noise exposure during vocal learning results in songs with higher minimum frequencies in great tits (Parus major), the first species for which a correlation between anthropogenic noise and song frequency...

Data from: Independence among physiological traits suggests flexibility in the face of ecological demands on phenotypes

Deborah M. Buehler, Francois Vézina, Wolfgang Goymann, Ingrid Schwabl, Maaike Versteegh, B. Irene Tieleman & Theunis Piersma
Phenotypic flexibility allows animals to adjust their physiology to diverse environmental conditions encountered over the year. Examining how these varying traits covary gives insights into potential constraints or freedoms that may shape evolutionary trajectories. In this study we examined relationships among hematocrit, baseline corticosterone concentration, constitutive immune function and basal metabolic rate in red knot Calidris canutus islandica individuals subjected to experimentally manipulated temperature treatments over an entire annual cycle. If covariation among traits is...

Data from: Migratory constraints on yolk precursors limit yolk androgen deposition and underlie a brood reduction strategy in rockhopper penguins

Glenn T. Crossin, Maud Poisbleau, Laurent Demongin, Olivier Chastel, Tony D. Williams, Marcel Eens & Petra Quillfeldt
Hormonally mediated maternal effects link maternal phenotype and environmental conditions to offspring phenotype. The production of lipid-rich maternal yolk precursors may provide a mechanism by which lipophilic steroid hormones can be transported to developing yolks, thus predicting a positive correlation between yolk precursors in mothers and androgen levels in eggs. Using rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes chrysocome), which produce a two-egg clutch characterized by extreme egg-size dimorphism, reversed hatching asynchrony and brood-reduction, we examined correlations between circulating...

Data from: Sex chromosome linked genetic variance and the evolution of sexual dimorphism of quantitative traits

Arild Husby, Holger Schielzeth, Wolfgang Forstmeier, Lars Gustafsson & Anna Qvarnström
Theory predicts that sex chromsome linkage should reduce intersexual genetic correlations thereby allowing the evolution of sexual dimorphism. Empirical evidence for sex linkage has come largely from crosses and few studies have examined how sexual dimorphism and sex linkage are related within outbred populations. Here we use data on an array of different traits measured on over 10,000 individuals from two pedigreed populations of birds (collared flycatcher and zebra finch) to estimate the amount of...

Data from: Evaluation of two methods for minimally invasive peripheral body temperature measurement in birds

Andreas Nord, Marina Lehmann, Ross Macloed, Dominic J. McCafferty, Ruedi G. Nager, Jan-Åke Nilsson, Barbara Helm & Ross MacLeod
Body temperature (Tb) is a valuable parameter when assessing the physiological state of animals, but its widespread measurement is often constrained by methods that are invasive or require frequent recapture of animals. Alternatives based on automated remote sensing of peripheral Tb show promise, but little is known about their strengths and limitations. We measured peripheral Tb in great tits Parus major with subcutaneously implanted passive integrated transponders (PIT tags) and externally attached radio transmitters to...

Data from: Incest avoidance, extrapair paternity, and territory quality drive divorce in a year-round territorial bird.

Nataly Hidalgo Aranzamendi, Michelle L. Hall, Sjouke A. Kingma, Paul Sunnucks & Anne Peters
Divorce can be an important behavioral strategy to improve fitness. This is particularly relevant for species that are territorial year-round with continuous partnerships, where individuals face constraints on partner choice due to limited vacancies and dispersal opportunities. We tested several hypotheses for divorce in such a species, the cooperatively breeding bird Malurus coronatus. Based on 9 years of detailed information on dispersal and survival of 317 breeding pairs, we tested whether divorce is driven by...

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