Data from: Better stay together: pair bond duration increases individual fitness independent of age-related variation
Sánchez-Macouzet, Oscar; Rodríguez, Cristina; Drummond, Hugh (2015), Data from: Better stay together: pair bond duration increases individual fitness independent of age-related variation, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.hf95d
Prolonged pair bonds have the potential to improve reproductive performance of socially monogamous animals by increasing pair familiarity and enhancing coordination and cooperation between pair members. However, this has proved very difficult to test robustly because of important confounds such as age and reproductive experience. Here, we address limitations of previous studies and provide a rigorous test of the mate familiarity effect in the socially monogamous blue-footed booby, Sula nebouxii, a long-lived marine bird with a high divorce rate. Taking advantage of a natural disassociation between age and pair bond duration in this species, and applying a novel analytical approach to a 24 year database, we found that those pairs which have been together for longer establish their clutches five weeks earlier in the season, hatch more of their eggs and produce 35% more fledglings, regardless of age and reproductive experience. Our results demonstrate that pair bond duration increases individual fitness and further suggest that synergistic effects between a male and female's behaviour are likely to be involved in generating a mate familiarity effect. These findings help to explain the age- and experience-independent benefits of remating and their role in life-history evolution.