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Data from: Different ultimate factors define timing of breeding in two related species

Cite this dataset

Pakanen, Veli-Matti et al. (2016). Data from: Different ultimate factors define timing of breeding in two related species [Dataset]. Dryad.


Correct reproductive timing is crucial for fitness. Breeding phenology even in similar species can differ due to different selective pressures on the timing of reproduction. These selection pressures define species’ responses to warming springs. The temporal match-mismatch hypothesis suggests that timing of breeding in animals is selected to match with food availability (synchrony). Alternatively, time-dependent breeding success (the date hypothesis) can result from other seasonally deteriorating ecological conditions such as intra- or interspecific competition or predation. We studied the effects of two ultimate factors on the timing of breeding, synchrony and other time-dependent factors (time-dependence), in sympatric populations of two related forest-dwelling passerine species, the great tit (Parus major) and the willow tit (Poecile montanus) by modelling recruitment with long-term capture-recapture data. We hypothesized that these two factors have different relevance for fitness in these species. We found that local recruitment in both species showed quadratic relationships with both time-dependence and synchrony. However, the importance of these factors was markedly different between the studied species. Caterpillar food played a predominant role in predicting the timing of breeding of the great tit. In contrast, for the willow tit time-dependence modelled as timing in relation to conspecifics was more important for local recruitment than synchrony. High caterpillar biomass experienced during the pre- and post-fledging periods increased local recruitment of both species. These contrasting results confirm that these species experience different selective pressures upon the timing of breeding, and hence responses to climate change may differ. Detailed information about life-history strategies is required to understand the effects of climate change, even in closely related taxa. The temporal match-mismatch hypothesis should be extended to consider subsequent critical periods when food needs to be abundantly available.

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