Sequential polyandry through divorce and re-pairing in a cooperatively breeding bird reduces helper-offspring relatedness

Warrington, Miyako H., Rollins, Lee Ann, Russell, Andrew F. and Griffith, Simon C. 2015, Sequential polyandry through divorce and re-pairing in a cooperatively breeding bird reduces helper-offspring relatedness, Behavioral ecology and sociobiology, vol. 69, pp. 1311-1321, doi: 10.1007/s00265-015-1944-7.

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Title Sequential polyandry through divorce and re-pairing in a cooperatively breeding bird reduces helper-offspring relatedness
Author(s) Warrington, Miyako H.
Rollins, Lee AnnORCID iD for Rollins, Lee Ann
Russell, Andrew F.
Griffith, Simon C.
Journal name Behavioral ecology and sociobiology
Volume number 69
Start page 1311
End page 1321
Total pages 11
Publisher Springer Verlag
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publication date 2015-06-14
ISSN 0340-5443
Keyword(s) Cooperative breeding
Reproductive flexibility
Within-group extra-group extrapair paternity
Summary Polyandry is an important component of both sexual selection and kin structuring within cooperatively breeding species. A female may have multiple partners within a single reproductive attempt (simultaneous polyandry) or across multiple broods within and/or across years (sequential polyandry). Both types of polyandry confer a range of costs and benefits to individuals and alter the genetic structure of social groups over time. To date, many molecular studies of cooperative breeders have examined the evolution of cooperative breeding in relation to simultaneous polyandry. However, cooperatively breeding vertebrates are iteroparous, and thus sequential polyandry is also likely, but more rarely considered in this context. We examined sequential polyandry in a cooperatively breeding bird that has a low level of within-brood polyandry. Over a 5-year period (2006–2010), we monitored individual mating relationships using molecular markers in a population of individually marked apostlebirds (Struthidea cinerea). Divorce occurred between reproductive seasons in 17 % (8/48) of pairs and appeared to be female-driven. The level of sequential polyandry was also driven by the disappearance of males after breeding, and over 90 % of females, for whom we had suitable data, bred with multiple males over the period of study. This sequential polyandry significantly altered the relatedness of group members to the offspring in the nest. However, in about half of the cases, the second male was related (first- or second-order relative) to the first male of a sequentially polyandrous female and this alleviated the reduction in relatedness caused by polyandry. Our findings suggest that even in species with high within-brood parentage certainty, helper-offspring relatedness values can quickly erode through sequential polyandry.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s00265-015-1944-7
Field of Research 060201 Behavioural Ecology
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, Springer
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