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Data from: Variation in growth drives the duration of parental care: a test of Ydenberg's model

Citation

Elliott, Kyle H. et al. (2017), Data from: Variation in growth drives the duration of parental care: a test of Ydenberg's model, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.kc65r

Abstract

The duration of parental care in animals varies widely, from none to lifelong. Such variation is typically thought to represent a trade-off between growth and safety. Seabirds show wide variation in the age at which offspring leave the nest, making them ideal to test the idea that a trade-off between high energy gain at sea and high safety at the nest drives variation in departure age (Ydenberg’s model). To directly test the model assumptions, we attached time-depth recorders to murre parents (fathers [which do all parental care at sea] and mothers; of each). Except for the initial mortality experienced by chicks departing from the colony, the mortality rate at sea was similar to the mortality rate at the colony. However, energy gained by the chick per day was ∼2.1 times as high at sea compared with at the colony because the father spent more time foraging, since he no longer needed to spend time commuting to and from the colony. Compared with the mother, the father spent ∼2.6 times as much time diving per day and dived in lower-quality foraging patches. We provide a simple model for optimal departure date based on only (1) the difference in growth rate at sea relative to the colony and (2) the assumption that transition mortality from one life-history stage to the other is size dependent. Apparently, large variation in the duration of parental care can arise simply as a result of variation in energy gain without any trade-off with safety.

Usage Notes

Location

Nunavut
Newfoundland
Greenland