Thomas E Martin

Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, United States

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Publications (64)258.1 Total impact

  • Elena Arriero, Ania Majewska, Thomas E. Martin
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    ABSTRACT: 1. Variation in ontogeny and strength of immune defence mechanisms can be integrally related to variation in life-history strategies and determined by trade-offs during development. However, little is known about the ontogeny of immune function in wild birds, especially in altricial birds and in a comparative context across altricial species with diverse life-history strategies. 2. In this study, we examined the ontogeny of constitutive immunity in a group of 22 passerine species sampled in tropical Venezuela and north temperate Arizona. 3. Our results show activity of constitutive components of the immune defence at 1—3 days posthatching and an increase in immune activity with age. Interspecific variation in immune activity at hatching was mainly explained by extrinsic factors mediated by the mother (egg size and egg temperature), suggesting an important role of maternal effects on offspring immunity at hatching. In contrast, the increase in agglutination activity with age suggests that immune function in older nestlings reflects intrinsic development. The increase in immune activity was greater in species that hatched with lower initial levels, and was somewhat negatively related to growth rate across species. 4. Our results suggest slower intrinsic development of immune function may be compensated by larger maternal contributions. Slower intrinsic development of immune function, in turn, may reflect a trade-off with faster somatic growth. Our study highlights the importance of both maternal (extrinsic) and endogenous (intrinsic) contributions to variation in immune function across altricial species that may reflect an important axis of developmental strategies.
    Functional Ecology 04/2013; 27(2):472-478. · 4.86 Impact Factor
  • Thomas E Martin, Riccardo Ton, Alina Niklison
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    ABSTRACT: Intrinsic processes are assumed to underlie life history expression and trade-offs, but extrinsic inputs are theorised to shift trait expression and mask trade-offs within species. Here, we explore application of this theory across species. We do this based on parentally induced embryo temperature as an extrinsic input, and mass-specific embryo metabolism as an intrinsic process, underlying embryonic development rate. We found that embryonic metabolism followed intrinsic allometry rules among 49 songbird species from temperate and tropical sites. Extrinsic inputs via parentally induced temperatures explained the majority of variation in development rates and masked a relationship with metabolism; metabolism explained a minor proportion of the variation in development rates among species, and only after accounting for temperature effects. We discuss evidence that temperature further obscures the expected interspecific trade-off between development rate and offspring quality. These results demonstrate the importance of considering extrinsic inputs to trait expression and trade-offs across species.
    Ecology Letters 03/2013; · 17.95 Impact Factor
  • Sonya K Auer, Thomas E Martin
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    ABSTRACT: Climate change can modify ecological interactions, but whether it can have cascading effects throughout ecological networks of multiple interacting species remains poorly studied. Climate-driven alterations in the intensity of plant-herbivore interactions may have particularly profound effects on the larger community because plants provide habitat for a wide diversity of organisms. Here we show that changes in vegetation over the last 21 years, due to climate effects on plant-herbivore interactions, have consequences for songbird nest site overlap and breeding success. Browsing-induced reductions in the availability of preferred nesting sites for two of three ground nesting songbirds led to increasing overlap in nest site characteristics among all three bird species with increasingly negative consequences for reproductive success over the long term. These results demonstrate that changes in the vegetation community from effects of climate change on plant-herbivore interactions can cause subtle shifts in ecological interactions that have critical demographic ramifications for other species in the larger community.
    Global Change Biology 02/2013; 19(2):411-9. · 8.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Predation can be an important agent of natural selection shaping parental care behaviours, and can also favour behavioural plasticity. Parent birds often decrease the rate that they visit the nest to provision offspring when perceived risk is high. Yet, the plasticity of such responses may differ among species as a function of either their relative risk of predation, or the mean rate of provisioning. Here, we report parental provisioning responses to experimental increases in the perceived risk of predation. We tested responses of 10 species of bird in north temperate Arizona and subtropical Argentina that differed in their ambient risk of predation. All species decreased provisioning rates in response to the nest predator but not to a control. However, provisioning rates decreased more in species that had greater ambient risk of predation on natural nests. These results support theoretical predictions that the extent of plasticity of a trait that is sensitive to nest predation risk should vary among species in accordance with predation risk.
    Biology letters 01/2013; 9(4):20130154. · 3.35 Impact Factor
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    Elliott W R Parsons, John L Maron, Thomas E Martin
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    ABSTRACT: Heavy herbivory by ungulates can substantially alter habitat, but the indirect consequences of habitat modification for animal assemblages that rely on that habitat are not well studied. This is a particularly important topic given that climate change can alter plant-herbivore interactions. We explored short-term responses of small mammal communities to recent exclusion of Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus) in high-elevation riparian drainages in northern Arizona, where elk impacts on vegetation have increased over the past quarter century associated with climate change. We used 10-ha elk exclosures paired with unfenced control drainages to examine how browsing influenced the habitat use, relative abundance, richness and diversity of a small mammal assemblage. We found that the small mammal assemblage changed significantly after 5 years of elk exclusion. Relative abundance of voles (Microtus mexicanus) increased in exclosure drainages, likely due to an increase in habitat quality. The relative abundances of woodrats (Neotoma neomexicana) and two species of mice (Peromyscus maniculatus and P. boylii) decreased in the controls, while remaining stable in exclosures. The decline of mice in control drainages was likely due to the decline in shrub cover that they use. Thus, elk exclusion may have maintained or improved habitat for mice inside the exclosures while habitat quality and mouse abundance both declined outside the fences. Finally, small mammal species richness increased in the exclosures relative to the controls while species diversity showed no significant trends. Together, our results show that relaxation of heavy herbivore pressure by a widespread native ungulate can lead to rapid changes in small mammal assemblages. Moreover, exclusion of large herbivores can yield rapid responses by vegetation that may enhance or maintain habitat quality for small mammal populations.
    Journal of Animal Ecology 11/2012; · 4.84 Impact Factor
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    Yi-Ru Cheng, Thomas E Martin
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    ABSTRACT: Different body components are thought to trade off in their growth and development rates, but the causes for relative prioritization of any trait remains a critical question. Offspring of species at higher risk of predation might prioritize development of locomotor traits that facilitate escaping risky environments over growth of mass. We tested this possibility in 12 altricial passerine species that differed in their risk of nest predation. We found that rates of growth and development of mass, wings, and endothermy increased with nest predation risk across species. In particular, species with higher nest predation risk exhibited relatively faster growth of wings than of mass, fledged with relatively larger wing sizes and smaller mass, and developed endothermy earlier at relatively smaller mass. This differential development can facilitate both escape from predators and survival outside of the nest environment. Tarsus growth was not differentially prioritized with respect to nest predation risk, and instead all species achieved adult tarsus size by age of fledging. We also tested whether different foraging modes (aerial, arboreal, and ground foragers) might explain the variation of differential growth of locomotor modules, but we found that little residual variation was explained. Our results suggest that differences in nest predation risk among species are associated with relative prioritization of body components to facilitate escape from the risky nest environment.
    The American Naturalist 09/2012; 180(3):285-95. · 4.55 Impact Factor
  • Thomas E Martin, John L Maron
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    ABSTRACT: The contribution of climate change to declining populations of organisms remains a question of outstanding concern1, 2, 3. Much attention to declining populations has focused on how changing climate drives phenological mismatches between animals and their food4, 5, 6. Effects of climate on plant communities may provide an alternative, but particularly powerful, influence on animal populations because plants provide their habitats. Here, we show that abundances of deciduous trees and associated songbirds have declined with decreasing snowfall over 22 years of study in montane Arizona, USA. We experimentally tested the hypothesis that declining snowfall indirectly influences plants and associated birds by allowing greater over-winter herbivory by elk (Cervus canadensis). We excluded elk from one of two paired snowmelt drainages (10 ha per drainage), and replicated this paired experiment across three distant canyons. Over six years, we reversed multi-decade declines in plant and bird populations by experimentally inhibiting heavy winter herbivory associated with declining snowfall. Moreover, predation rates on songbird nests decreased in exclosures, despite higher abundances of nest predators, demonstrating the over-riding importance of habitat quality to avian recruitment. Thus, our results suggest that climate impacts on plant–animal interactions can have forceful ramifying effects on plants, birds, and ecological interactions.
    Nature Climate Change 01/2012; 2(3). · 14.47 Impact Factor
  • Thomas E Martin
    Science 12/2011; 334(6061):1353-4. · 31.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Causes of interspecific variation in growth rates within and among geographic regions remain poorly understood. Passerine birds represent an intriguing case because differing theories yield the possibility of an antagonistic interaction between nest predation risk and food delivery rates on evolution of growth rates. We test this possibility among 64 Passerine species studied on three continents, including tropical and north and south temperate latitudes. Growth rates increased strongly with nestling predation rates within, but not between, sites. The importance of nest predation was further emphasized by revealing hidden allometric scaling effects. Nestling predation risk also was associated with reduced total feeding rates and per-nestling feeding rates within each site. Consequently, faster growth rates were associated with decreased per-nestling food delivery rates across species, both within and among regions. These relationships suggest that Passerines can evolve growth strategies in response to predation risk whereby food resources are not the primary limit on growth rate differences among species. In contrast, reaction norms of growth rate relative to brood size suggest that food may limit growth rates within species in temperate, but not tropical, regions. Results here provide new insight into evolution of growth strategies relative to predation risk and food within and among species.
    Evolution 06/2011; 65(6):1607-22. · 4.86 Impact Factor
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    Thomas E Martin, Elena Arriero, Ania Majewska
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    ABSTRACT: Long embryonic periods are assumed to reflect slower intrinsic development that are thought to trade off to allow enhanced physiological systems, such as immune function. Yet, the relatively rare studies of this trade-off in avian offspring have not found the expected trade-off. Theory and tests have not taken into account the strong extrinsic effects of temperature on embryonic periods of birds. Here, we show that length of the embryonic period did not explain variation in two measures of immune function when temperature was ignored, based on studies of 34 Passerine species in tropical Venezuela (23 species) and north temperate Arizona (11 species). Variation in immune function was explained when embryonic periods were corrected for average embryonic temperature, in order to better estimate intrinsic rates of development. Immune function of offspring trades off with intrinsic rates of embryonic development once the extrinsic effects of embryonic temperatures are taken into account.
    Biology letters 05/2011; 7(3):425-8. · 3.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Variation in the risk of predation to offspring can influence the expression of reproductive strategies both within and among species. Appropriate expression of reproductive strategies in environments that differ in predation risk can have clear advantages for fitness. Although adult-predation risk appears to influence glucocorticosteroid levels, leading to changes in behavioral and life-history strategies, the influence of offspring-predation risk on adult glucocorticosteroid levels remains unclear. We compared total baseline corticosterone concentrations in Gray-headed Juncos (Junco hyemalis dorsalis) nesting on plots with and without experimentally reduced risk of nest predation. Despite differences in risk between treatments, we failed to find differences in total baseline corticosterone concentrations. When we examined corticosterone concentrations across a suite of sympatric species, however, higher risk of nest predation correlated with higher total baseline corticosterone levels. As found previously, total baseline corticosterone was negatively correlated with body condition and positively correlated with date of sampling. However, we also found that corticosterone levels increased seasonally, independent of stage of breeding. Nest predation can alter the expression of birds' reproductive strategies, but our findings suggest that total baseline corticosterone is not the physiological mechanism regulating these responses. El riesgo de depredación sobre la descencendia puede tener influencia en la expresión de estrategias reproductivas a nivel intra- e interespecífico. Adecuar la expresión de estrategias reproductivas a condiciones ambientales con diferente riesgo de depredación puede resultar ventajoso en términos de “fitness” o eficacia biológica. El riesgo de depredación sobre individuos adultos parece influir en los niveles circulantes de glucocorticoides, y ocasionar cambios en el comportamiento y en aspectos relacionados con la estrategia de vida. Sin embargo, no está claro aún, cual es el efecto que puede causar el riesgo de depredación sobre la descendencia en los niveles de glucocorticoides de los adultos. En este estudio comparamos los niveles basales de corticoterona en pollos de Junco hyemalis dorsalis en bosques en los que controlamos de manera experimental el riesgo de depredación. A pesar de que nuestro experimento tuvo un efecto importante reduciendo el riesgo de depredación en nido en las parcelas experimentales, no encontramos diferencias significativas en los niveles basales de corticosterona entre los pollos de parcelas experimentales y control. Sin embargo, cuando examinamos la variación en niveles de corticosterona en adultos de un grupo de especies simpátricas, encontramos correlación positiva entre el riesgo de depredación en el nido y los niveles basales de corticosterona. En línea con resultados de otros estudios previos, encontramos que los niveles basales de corticosterona se correlacionaban negativamente con el tamaño corporal y positivamente con la fecha, aunque la correlación con la fecha fue independiente del estadío reproductivo en que se encontrasen los individuos. La depredación en nido puede alterar la expresión de estrategias reproductivas en aves, sin embargo nuestro estudio sugiere que los niveles basales de corticosterona no son el mecanismo fisiológico que regula estas respuestas.
    The Condor 01/2011; 113(4):825-833. · 1.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We studied the consequences of nest-site choice on nesting success under differing disturbance levels for the Rufous-bellied Thrush (Turdus rufiventris). We compared nest-site choice and nest success between a disturbed site and an undisturbed site in a montane subtropical forest in northwestern Argentina. We found no overall difference in daily predation rate (DPR) between the disturbed and undisturbed sites. However, DPR of nests on bromeliads was significantly lower at the microhabitat level than on other types of subtrates at the disturbed site. T. rufiventris used bromeliads for nesting more often than expected by chance at the disturbed site. DPR did not differ between substrates at the undisturbed site and T. rufiventris used all substrates according to their availability. Nests had higher predation at the disturbed site when DPR on non-bromeliad substrates was compared between disturbed and undisturbed sites. Nest fate was independent of nest height. Our results suggest T. rufiventris' flexibility in nest-site choice, as reflected by increased use of the safest sites, i.e., bromeliads, in the disturbed site compared to the undisturbed site, may allow this species to survive in an otherwise much riskier habitat. Our results illustrate how microhabitat-scale effects can mediate landscape scale effects.
    The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 11/2010; · 0.52 Impact Factor
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    Luis Biancucci, Thomas E Martin
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    ABSTRACT: 1. Latitudinal variation in clutch sizes of birds is a well described, but poorly understood pattern. Many hypotheses have been proposed, but few have been experimentally tested, and none have been universally accepted by researchers. 2. The nest size hypothesis posits that higher nest predation in the tropics favours selection for smaller nests and thereby constrains clutch size by shrinking available space for eggs and/or nestlings in the nest. We tested this hypothesis with an experiment in a tropical forest and a comparative study between temperate and tropical field sites. 3. Specifically, we tested if: (i) predation increased with nest size; (ii) tropical birds had smaller nests controlled for body size; and (iii) clutch size was explained by nest size controlled for body size. 4. Experimental swapping of nests of different sizes showed that nest predation increased with nest size in the tropical site. Moreover, nest predation rates were higher in species with larger nests in both sites. However, nest size, corrected for body mass and phylogeny, did not differ between sites and was not related to clutch size between sites. 5. Hence, nest predation can exert selection on nest size as predicted by the hypothesis. Nest size increased with adult body mass, such that adult size might indirectly influence reproductive success through effects on nest size and nest predation risk. Ultimately, however, selection from nest predation on nest size does not explain the smaller clutch sizes typical of the tropics.
    Journal of Animal Ecology 09/2010; 79(5):1086-92. · 4.84 Impact Factor
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    Anna D Chalfoun, Thomas E Martin
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    ABSTRACT: Facultative shifts in nesting habitat selection in response to perceived predation risk may allow animals to increase the survival probability of sessile offspring. Previous studies on this behavioral strategy have primarily focused on single attributes, such as the distance moved or changes in nesting substrate. However, nest site choice often encompasses multiple habitat elements at both the nest site and nest patch scales. We studied the within-season re-nesting strategy of a multi-brooded songbird, the Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri), to determine whether pairs utilized a "win-stay, lose-switch" decision rule with respect to inter-nest distance, nest substrate and/or nest patch characteristics in response to previous nest fate. Pairs moved sequential nest sites slightly farther following nest predation versus success. When inter-nest distance was controlled, however, pairs changed nest patch attributes (shrub height, potential nest shrub density) associated with probability of nest predation to a greater extent following nest predation than success. The strategy appeared to be adaptive; daily nest survival probability for previously depredated pairs increased with greater Euclidian habitat distances between attempts, whereas previously successful pairs were more likely to fledge second attempts when nest sites were similar to those of previous attempts. Our results suggest that nesting birds can use prior information and within-season plasticity in response to nest predation to increase re-nesting success, which may be a critical behavioral strategy within complex nest predator environments. Re-nesting site selection strategies also appeared to integrate multiple habitat components and inter-nest distances. The consideration of such proximate, facultative responses to predation risk may clarify often unexplained variation in habitat preferences and requirements.
    Oecologia 08/2010; 163(4):885-92. · 3.01 Impact Factor
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    Román A. Ruggera, Thomas E. Martin
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    ABSTRACT: We provide details on the breeding biology of the Slate-throated Whitestart (Myioborus miniatus) from 126 nests found during seven breeding seasons, 2002-2008, at Yacambú National Park, Venezuela. Nesting activity peaked in late April and May. Only the female built the nest and incubated the eggs. Males rarely visited the nest during these stages. Mean clutch size (2.1 ± 0.04 eggs, n = 93) was the smallest recorded for the Slate-throated Whitestart. Incubation and nestling period lengths were 15.3 ± 0.31 (n = 21) and 10.8 ± 0.24 (n = 7) days, respectively. Attentiveness (% of time on the nest) during incubation (59 ± 1.6%, n = 52) was similar to other tropical warblers and much lower than northern relatives. This caused a relatively low egg temperature (34.40 ± 0.33 ° C, n = 6 nests, 20 days) compared with north temperate birds. Both parents fed nestlings and increased their provisioning rates with nestling age. Growth rate based on nestling mass (k = 0.521 ± 0.015) was faster than for other tropical passerines but slower than northern relatives. Prédation was the main cause of nesting failure and rate of prédation increased with age of the nest. An estimated 15% of nests were successful based on an overall Mayfield daily prédation rate of 0.053 ± 0.007. This study confirms a strong latitudinal variation in life history traits of warblers.
    The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 01/2010; 122(3):447-454. · 0.52 Impact Factor
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    Anna D. Chalfoun, Thomas E. Martin
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    ABSTRACT: Theory predicts that parents should invest less in dependent offspring with lower reproductive value, such as those with a high risk of predation. Moreover, high predation risk can favor reduced parental activity when such activity attracts nest predators. Yet, the ability of parents to assess ambient nest-predation risk and respond adaptively remains unclear, especially where nest-predator assemblages are diverse and potentially difficult to assess. We tested whether variation in parental investment by a multi-brooded songbird (Brewer's Sparrow, Spizella breweri) in an environment (sagebrush steppe) with diverse predators was predicted by ambient nest-predation risk or direct experience with nest predation. Variation among eight sites in ambient nest-predation risk, assayed by daily probabilities of nest predation, was largely uncorrelated across four years. In this system risk may therefore be unpredictable, and aspects of parental investment (clutch size, egg mass, incubation rhythms, nestling-feeding rates) were not related to ambient risk. Moreover, investment at first nests that were successful did not differ from that at nests that were depredated, suggesting parents could not assess and respond to territory-level nest-predation risk. However, parents whose nests were depredated reduced clutch sizes and activity at nests attempted later in the season by increasing the length of incubation shifts (on-bouts) and recesses (off-bouts) and decreasing trips to feed nestlings. In this unpredictable environment parent birds may therefore lack sufficient cues of ambient risk on which to base their investment decisions and instead rely on direct experience with nest predation to inform at least some of their decisions. La teoría predice que la inversión parental debería ser menor si la progenie tiene poco valor reproductivo, como cuando tiene un alto riesgo de depredación. Además, un alto riesgo de depredación puede reducir la actividad parental si esa actividad atrae depredadores. Sin embrago, la habilidad de los padres de determinar los niveles ambientales de riesgo de depredación y de responder de forma adaptativa permanece poco clara, especialmente cuando el ensamble de depredadores del nido es diverso y difícil de determinar. Evaluamos si la variación en la inversión parental por parte de una especie con nidadas múltiples (Spizella breweri) en un ambiente (estepa arbustiva) con un ensamble diverso de depredadores, puede ser predicha por el riesgo ambiental de depredación o por la experiencia concreta de depredación del nido. La variación en el riesgo ambiental de depredación entre ocho sitios, determinada por las probabilidades diarias de depredación del nido, no se correlacionó entre los cuatro años. En este sistema, el riesgo sería, por lo tanto, no predecible, y los aspectos de inversión parental (tamaño de la puesta, peso de los huevos, ritmo de incubación, tasa de alimentación de polluelos) no se relacionaron al riesgo ambiental. Además, la inversión en los primeros nidos no difirió con la inversión observada en nidos que fueron depredados, lo que sugiere que los padres no pudieron determinar ni responder a los niveles de riesgo de depredación a nivel de sus territorios. Sin embrago, las parejas cuyos nidos fueron depredados redujeron el tamaño de sus nidadas y su actividad en sus intentos de anidación posteriores, al aumentar el tiempo en que permanecieron en y fuera del nido durante la incubación y al disminuir sus tasas de visitación al nido para alimentar a sus polluelos. En este ambiente no predecible, las parejas de aves pueden tener una falta de señales sobre el riesgo ambiental en los cuales basar sus inversiones y, en vez de eso, dependen de la experiencia concreta de depredación de sus nidos para tomar por lo menos algunas de sus decisiones.
    The Condor 01/2010; 112(4):701-710. · 1.37 Impact Factor
  • Karie L. Decker, Alina M. Niklison, Thomas E. Martin
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    ABSTRACT: We provide the first description of the nest, eggs, and breeding behavior of the Mérida Tapaculo (Scytalopus meridanus). Data are from one pair in the moist cloud forest of Yacambu National Park, Venezuela during April–May 2004. Two nests, constructed by the same pair, were globular in structure and consisted of mossy material placed in a rock crevice of a muddy rock wall. The eggs were cream colored with an average mass of 4.19 g. Clutch sizes were one in the first nest and two in the second. The species showed bi-parental care in nest building and incubation. Nest attentiveness (percent time spent on the nest incubating) averaged 83.4 ± 14% (SD). Average on and off bouts were 33.24 and 6.34 min, respectively.
    The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 09/2009; · 0.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We provide substantial new information on the breeding biology of the Rusty-breasted Antpitta (Grallaricula ferrugineipectus ferrugineipectus) from 40 nests during four consecutive breeding seasons at Yacambú National Park in Venezuela. Vocalizations are quite variable in G. ferrugineipectus. Nesting activity peaked in April when laying began for half of all nests monitored. The date of nest initiation pattern suggests this species is single-brooded. Both parents incubate and the percent of time they incubate is high (87–99%) throughout the incubation period. The incubation period averaged (± SE) 17.0 ± 0.12 days, while the nestling period averaged 13.37 ± 0.37 days. G. f. ferrugineipectus has the shortest developmental time described for its genus. Time spent brooding nestlings decreased as nestlings grew, but was still greater at pin feather break day than observed in north temperate species. The growth rate constant based on mass (k = 0.41) and tarsus length (k = 0.24) was lower than the k for north temperate species of similar adult mass. All nesting mortality was caused by predation and overall daily survival rate (± SE) was relatively low (0.94 ± 0.01) yielding an estimated 15% nest success.
    The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 09/2009; · 0.52 Impact Factor
  • Thomas E Martin, James V Briskie
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    ABSTRACT: Predation on dependent offspring (i.e., offspring that depend on parents for care) forms a critical source of natural selection that may shape a diversity of life history traits. Selection from predation risk on dependent offspring can influence life history strategies of both offspring and parents. Such selection may act on both the form of plastic responses (e.g., the shape of norms of reaction) and mean expression of traits. Consideration of both levels of responses is key to understanding the ecological and evolutionary role of predation on dependent offspring. Here, we discuss how plastic responses and mean expression of life history traits may respond to selection from predation on dependent offspring in nests of birds (i.e., nest predation). We then review the expected effects and evidence for a diversity of life history traits, including clutch size, egg size, renesting rates, onset of incubation, parental incubation behavior, development rates and period lengths, parental feeding behavior, nestling begging, and nest conspicuousness. The evidence demonstrates a broad role of nest predation on both phenotypic plasticity and mean expression of diverse traits, but evidence remains limited to a few studies on a limited variety of species for almost all traits, and much broader experimental tests are needed.
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 07/2009; 1168:201-17. · 4.38 Impact Factor
  • Thomas E. Martin, James V. Briskie
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    ABSTRACT: Predation on dependent offspring (i.e., offspring that depend on parents for care) forms a critical source of natural selection that may shape a diversity of life history traits. Selection from predation risk on dependent offspring can influence life history strategies of both offspring and parents. Such selection may act on both the form of plastic responses (e.g., the shape of norms of reaction) and mean expression of traits. Consideration of both levels of responses is key to understanding the ecological and evolutionary role of predation on dependent offspring. Here, we discuss how plastic responses and mean expression of life history traits may respond to selection from predation on dependent offspring in nests of birds (i.e., nest predation). We then review the expected effects and evidence for a diversity of life history traits, including clutch size, egg size, renesting rates, onset of incubation, parental incubation behavior, development rates and period lengths, parental feeding behavior, nestling begging, and nest conspicuousness. The evidence demonstrates a broad role of nest predation on both phenotypic plasticity and mean expression of diverse traits, but evidence remains limited to a few studies on a limited variety of species for almost all traits, and much broader experimental tests are needed.
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 05/2009; 1168(1):201 - 217. · 4.38 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
258.10 Total Impact Points


  • 2013
    • Colorado State University
      Fort Collins, Colorado, United States
  • 2007–2013
    • United States Geological Survey
      Reston, Virginia, United States
    • Washington State University
      • School of Biological Sciences
      Pullman, WA, United States
    • The University of Arizona
      Tucson, Arizona, United States
  • 2000–2013
    • University of Montana
      • Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit
      Missoula, Montana, United States
  • 2010
    • University of Wyoming
      • Department of Zoology and Physiology
      Laramie, WY, United States
  • 2008
    • Duke University
      Durham, North Carolina, United States
    • University of Canterbury
      • School of Biological Sciences
      Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
  • 2006
    • University of Washington Seattle
      • Department of Biology
      Seattle, WA, United States
  • 2005
    • University of Buenos Aires
      • Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
      Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires F.D., Argentina