Social environment affects juvenile dispersal in great tits (Parus major)

Marion Nicolaus*, Stephanie P. M. Michler, Kirsten M. Jalvingh, Richard Ubels, Marco van der Velde, Jan Komdeur, Christiaan Both, Joost M. Tinbergen

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

18 Citaten (Scopus)
245 Downloads (Pure)

Samenvatting

1. Habitat selection can affect individual fitness, and therefore, individuals are expected to assess habitat quality of potential breeding sites before settlement. 2. We investigated the role of social environment on juvenile dispersal behaviour in the great tit (Parus major). Two main contradictory hypotheses can be formulated regarding social effects on juvenile dispersal as follows: (i) High fledgling density and sex ratio may enhance the intensity of local (kin) competition and, therefore, reduce individual survival chance, enhance emigration and reduce settlement (repulsion hypothesis) (ii) Alternatively, high fledgling density and sex ratio may signal high-quality habitat or lead to aggregation and thus increase individual survival chance, reduce emigration and enhance settlement (attraction hypothesis). 3. To disentangle positive from negative effects of high density and male-biased sex ratio on dispersal, we manipulated the social composition of the fledgling population in 12 semi-isolated nest-box areas (plots) via a change of fledgling density (low/high) as well as fledgling sex ratio (female-biased/balanced/male-biased) across 3 years. We then tested whether experimental variation in male and female fledgling densities affected variation in local survival, emigration and settlement of juveniles, and whether social effects on survival and dispersal support the repulsion or attraction hypothesis. 4. We found no experimental effects on local survival and emigration probabilities. However, consistent with the attraction hypothesis, settlement was significantly and positively affected by local experimental sex ratio in each of the study years: both male and female juveniles avoided female-biased plots and settled more in plots that were balanced and male-biased the previous year. 5. Our study provides unprecedented experimental evidence that local sex ratio plays a causal role in habitat selection. We suggest that settlers avoid female-biased plots because a high proportion of females may reflect the absence or the low quality of local resources in the habitat. Alternatively, male territory acquisition may be facilitated by a high local density of candidate males, and therefore, juveniles were less successful in settling in female-biased plots.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)827-837
Aantal pagina's11
TijdschriftJournal of Animal Ecology
Volume81
Nummer van het tijdschrift4
DOI's
StatusPublished - jul.-2012

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