The cost of egg production: increased egg production reduces future fitness in gulls

Nager, R. , Monaghan, P. and Houston, D. (2001) The cost of egg production: increased egg production reduces future fitness in gulls. Journal of Avian Biology, 32, pp. 159-166. (doi:10.1034/j.1600-048X.2001.320209.x)

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Abstract

Measurements of costs of reproduction are essential for our understanding of the evolution of reproductive effort. While in birds the effects of increased chick-rearing effort on subsequent survival and fecundity have been relatively well studied experimentally, costs associated with increased egg-production effort have received relatively little attention. We experimentally increased the egg-production effort of individually marked Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus and followed their breeding performance in the next year. In the season following increased egg production, females, but not males, were less likely to be resighted in the study plot and those that did return were less likely to produce a clutch compared to control birds. It is unclear whether the observed effect on local return rate represents differential survival, differences in breeding propensity or differences in dispersal between experimental and control females. In any event, all of these would adversely affect the fitness of experimental females. In addition, those experimental females that did breed invested less in egg production the following season, which again is likely to affect breeding performance. Thus, this study provides evidence that there is an inter-brood trade-off between current egg-production effort and future fitness in birds.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Monaghan, Professor Patricia and Houston, Professor David and Nager, Dr Rudolf
Authors: Nager, R., Monaghan, P., and Houston, D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Avian Biology
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0908-8857
ISSN (Online):1600-048X
Published Online:30 October 2003

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
157402Constraints on egg productionPatricia MonaghanNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)GR3/10028RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED
203721MATERNAL INVESTMENT CAPACITY, EGG QUALITY AND OFFSPRING SEX IN THE LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLPatricia MonaghanNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)GR9/02658RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED