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Data from: Are brood sex ratios adaptive? The effect of experimentally altered brood sex ratio on nestling growth, mortality, and recruitment

Citation

Szász, Eszter et al. (2022), Data from: Are brood sex ratios adaptive? The effect of experimentally altered brood sex ratio on nestling growth, mortality, and recruitment, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3xsj3txkj

Abstract

Brood sex ratios (BSRs) have often been found to be non-random in respect of parental and environmental quality, and many hypotheses suggest that non-random sex ratios can be adaptive. To specifically test the adaptive value of biased BSRs, it is crucial to disentangle the consequences of BSR and maternal effects. In multiparous species, this requires cross-fostering experiments where foster parents rear offspring originating from multiple broods, and where the interactive effect of original and manipulated BSR on fitness components are tested. To our knowledge, our study on collared flycatchers (Ficedula albicollis) is the first that meets these requirements. In this species, where BSRs had previously been shown to be related to parental characteristics, we altered the original BSR of the parents shortly after hatching by cross-fostering nestlings among trios of broods, and examined the effects on growth, mortality, and recruitment of the nestlings. We found that original and experimental BSR, as well as the interaction of the two were unrelated to the fitness components considered. Nestling growth was related only to background variables, namely brood size and hatching rank. Nestling mortality was related only to hatching asynchrony. Our results therefore do not support that the observed BSRs are adaptive in our study population. However, we cannot exclude the possibility of direct effects of experimentally altered BSRs on parental fitness, which should be evaluated in the future. In addition, studies similar to ours are required on various species to get a clearer picture of the adaptive value of non-random BSRs.

Methods

Data were collected in a nest-box breeding population of the collared flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis) in the Pilis-Visegrádi Mountains, Hungary (47°43′ N, 19°01′ E) in 2017-2021.

Funding

Nemzeti Kutatási Fejlesztési és Innovációs Hivatal, Award: K120249

Nemzeti Kutatási Fejlesztési és Innovációs Hivatal, Award: FK127917

Nemzeti Kutatási Fejlesztési és Innovációs Hivatal, Award: PD124043

Emberi Eroforrások Minisztériuma, Award: ÚNKP/19-4

Magyar Tudományos Akadémia, Award: Bolyai János research scholarship