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Data from: Urban versus forest ecotypes are not explained by divergent reproductive selection

Cite this dataset

Caizergues, Aude E.; Gregoire, Arnaud; Charmantier, Anne (2018). Data from: Urban versus forest ecotypes are not explained by divergent reproductive selection [Dataset]. Dryad.


Increasing urbanisation offers a unique opportunity to study adaptive responses to rapid environmental change. Numerous studies have demonstrated phenotypic divergence between urban and rural organisms. However, comparing the direction and magnitude of natural selection between these environments has rarely been attempted. Using seven years of nest-box breeding monitoring of great tits (Parus major) in the city of Montpellier and in a nearby oak forest, we find phenotypic divergence in four morphological and two life-history traits between urban and forest birds. We then measure reproductive selection on these traits, and compare selection between the habitats. Urban birds had significantly smaller morphological features than their rural counterparts, with shorter tarsus, lower body mass and smaller wing and tail lengths relative to their overall body size. While urban female tarsus length was under stabilising selection, and forest males show positive selection for tarsus length and negative selection for body mass, selection gradients were significantly divergent between habitats only for body mass. Urban great tits also had earlier laying dates and smaller clutches. Surprisingly, we found selection for earlier laying date in the forest but not in the city. Conversely, we detected no linear selection on clutch size in the forest, but positive selection on clutch size in the urban habitat. Overall, these results do not support the hypothesis that contemporary reproductive selection explains differences in morphology and life history between urban and forest breeding great tits. We discuss how further experimental approaches will help confirm whether the observed divergence is maladaptive while identifying the environmental drivers behind it.

Usage notes


Montpellier France