Data from: Chronological and biological age predict seasonal reproductive timing: an investigation of clutch initiation and telomeres in birds of known age
Bauer, Carolyn M. et al. (2017), Data from: Chronological and biological age predict seasonal reproductive timing: an investigation of clutch initiation and telomeres in birds of known age, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.681q5
Female vertebrates that breed earlier in the season generally have greater reproductive success. However, evidence suggests that breeding early may be costly, thus leading to the prediction that females with fewer future reproductive events will breed earlier in the season. While chronological age is a good indicator of remaining lifespan, telomere lengths may also be good biomarkers of longevity as they potentially reflect lifetime 'wear and tear' (i.e. "biological age"). We examined whether variation in the timing of the first seasonal clutch was related to age and telomere length in female dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis), predicting that older females and those with shorter telomeres would breed earlier. Both predictions held true and were independent of each other, as telomere length did not significantly vary with age. These results suggest that females may adjust their reproductive effort based on both chronological and biological age.
National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-1257527, IOS-1257474