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Data from: Experimental evidence of long-term reproductive costs in a colonial nesting seabird


McKnight, Aly et al. (2018), Data from: Experimental evidence of long-term reproductive costs in a colonial nesting seabird, Dryad, Dataset,


Trade-offs between current and future reproduction are central to the evolution of life histories. Experiments that manipulate brood size provide an effective approach to investigating future costs of current reproduction. Most manipulative studies to date, however, have addressed only the short-term effects of brood size manipulation. Our goal was to determine whether survival or breeding costs of reproduction in a long-lived species manifest beyond the subsequent breeding season. To this end, we investigated long-term survival and breeding effects of a multi-year reproductive cost experiment conducted on Black-legged Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla), a long-lived colonial nesting seabird. We used multi-state capture-recapture modeling to assess hypotheses regarding the role of experimentally reduced breeding effort and other factors, including climate phase and colony size and productivity, on future survival and breeding probabilities during the 16-year period following the experiment. We found that forced nest failures had a positive effect on breeding probability over time, but had no effect on long-term survival. This apparent canalization of survival suggests that adult survival is the most important parameter influencing fitness in this long-lived species, and that adults should pay reproductive costs in ways that do not compromise this critical life history parameter. When declines in adult survival rate are observed, they may indicate populations of conservation concern.

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Prince William Sound