Survival rates of adult European grebes (Podicipedidae)

Ardea -Wageningen- (Impact Factor: 0.89). 08/2009; 97(3):313-321.

ABSTRACT Ring recoveries of dead individuals from all over Europe and covering a period of 57 years were collected to study survival of Great Crested Podiceps cristatus, Black-necked P. nigricollis and Little Grebes Tachybaptus ruficollis.

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    ABSTRACT: Life-history traits and their underlying interactions have been the center of many studies. Here it is investigated how a recent created value to quantify the trait reproduction, The Relative Reproductive Investment (RRI), relates to various other traits. The RRI is constructed by multiplying average clutch size (ĉ), the number of clutches per season (Nc) and egg mass (megg), divided by the female body mass (mfemale): RRI = (ĉ*Nc*megg)/mfemale. Together with a large dataset containing data on migration, nest location, care of offspring and adult survival of 186 bird species it will be investigated how the RRI trade-offs to other life-history traits and if this is in line with literature found and previous performed research. There exists a negative correlation between the RRI and adult survival, as was expected. For migratory behavior there was no correlation found with the RRI. Different nest locations leads to a significant difference in clutch size, which is part of the RRI, but did not significantly affect the RRI value. Birds with a different type of offspring significantly differed in trait values of which the RRI is constructed. However, these differences ruled each other out, leading to altricial and precocial birds which did not significantly differed in their RRI. Significant difference between altricials and precocials were found in clutch size and egg mass, both part of the RRI. Beside adult survival, only the care of offspring (determined by parental care by one or both parents and fledging period), led to a significant difference in the RRI. More parental care was found in combination with a lower RRI. This is probably as a lower RRI can be made up for by displaying more care for the offspring, but also because higher parental care leads to higher predation risks. A lower RRI leading to less offspring, lowers care for the offspring and a lowers predation rate, on offspring and parents. It is not inconceivable that this strategy per ratio leads to more reared offspring and a higher fitness under predation.
    01/2013, Degree: Master student, Supervisor: H. Siepel


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