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Data from: Sex allocation patterns across cooperatively breeding birds do not support predictions of the repayment hypothesis

Citation

Khwaja, Nyil; Hatchwell, Ben J.; Freckleton, Robert P.; Green, Jonathan P. (2017), Data from: Sex allocation patterns across cooperatively breeding birds do not support predictions of the repayment hypothesis, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.9bk88

Abstract

The repayment hypothesis predicts that reproductive females in cooperative breeding systems overproduce the helping sex. Thanks to well-documented examples of this predicted sex ratio bias, repayment has been considered an important driver of variation in sex allocation patterns. Here we test this hypothesis using data on population brood sex ratios and facultative sex allocation from 28 cooperatively breeding bird species. We find that biased sex ratios of helpers do not correlate with production biases in brood sex ratios, contrary to predictions. We also test whether females facultatively produce the helping sex in response to a deficiency of help (i.e., when they have fewer or no helpers). Although this is observed in a few species, it is not a significant trend overall, with a mean effect size close to zero. We conclude that, surprisingly, repayment does not appear to be a widespread influence on sex ratios in cooperatively breeding birds. We discuss possible explanations for our results and encourage further examination of the repayment model.

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