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Are age-related variations in breeding performance greatest when food availability is limited?

journal contribution
posted on 2005-06-01, 00:00 authored by Ashley Bunce, S Ward, F Norman
Age-related improvements in reproductive performance in seabirds have been well documented, and may be explained by improvements in foraging efficiency or increased experience and reproductive effort with age. The interactive effects of parental age and food supply on reproductive performance, however, remain poorly understood. A widespread mass mortality of pilchards Sardinops sagax in southern Australian waters in 1998 provided a unique opportunity to investigate the effects of a sudden reduction in the availability of amajor prey species on Australasian gannets Morus serrator, an important local marine predator. Age-related differences in the breeding performance of gannets were evident in 1 year of reduced pilchard availability; when food was not limited, both young and experienced parents were equally capable of rearing chicks and had similar levels of breeding success. These data clearly demonstrate the interactive effects of parental age and food supply on breeding performance and suggest that such differences only become apparent when conditions become more stressful.

History

Journal

Journal of zoology

Volume

266

Issue

2

Pagination

163 - 169

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Location

Cambridge, England

ISSN

0952-8369

eISSN

1469-7998

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2005, The Zoological Society of London

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