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Age-related variation in reproductive traits in the wandering albatross: evidence for terminal improvement following senescence

Froy, Hannah; Phillips, Richard A.; Wood, Andrew G.; Nussey, Daniel H.; Lewis, Sue. 2013 Age-related variation in reproductive traits in the wandering albatross: evidence for terminal improvement following senescence. Ecology Letters, 16 (5). 642-649. https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12092

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[img] Text (This article has been accepted for publication and will appear in a revised form in Ecology Letters, published by Wiley. Copyright Wiley/CNRS. )
Froy et al 2013 EcolLett.docx - Accepted Version

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Abstract/Summary

The processes driving age-related variation in demographic rates are central to understanding population and evolutionary ecology. An increasing number of studies in wild vertebrates find evidence for improvements in reproductive performance traits in early adulthood, followed by senescent declines in later life. However, life history theory predicts that reproductive investment should increase with age as future survival prospects diminish, and that raised reproductive investment may have associated survival costs. These non-mutually exclusive processes both predict an increase in breeding performance at the terminal breeding attempt. Here, we use a 30-year study of wandering albatrosses (Diomedea exulans) to disentangle the processes underpinning age-related variation in reproduction. Whilst highlighting the importance of breeding experience, we reveal senescent declines in performance are followed by a striking increase in breeding success and a key parental investment trait at the final breeding attempt.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12092
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Polar Science for Planet Earth (2009 - ) > Ecosystems
ISSN: 1461023X
Additional Keywords: Ageing, breeding experience, cost of reproduction, demographic variation, Diomedea exulans, life history theory, reproductive effort, seabird, terminal investment
Date made live: 29 May 2013 11:04 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/502066

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