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Unifying quantitative life-history theory and field endocrinology to assess prudent parenthood in a long-lived seabird

TitleUnifying quantitative life-history theory and field endocrinology to assess prudent parenthood in a long-lived seabird
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsSatterthwaite, WH, Kitaysky, AS, Hatch, SA, Piatt, JF, Mangel, M
JournalEvolutionary Ecology Research
Volume12
Pagination779–792
Abstract

Question: Can field measurements of stress hormones help us to assess the prudent parenthypothesis in a long-lived seabird?Organism: Black-legged kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla.Location: Duck and Gull Islands, Cook Inlet, Alaska, USA.Methods: We examined the statistical relationship between the stress hormone corticosteroneand mortality in black-legged kittiwakes. We built a demographic model of the kittiwake lifecycle to determine whether the mortality rates associated with persisting in a breeding attemptdespite high corticosterone caused the birds to sacrifice more lifetime reproductive output thanthey gain from one year’s breeding.Results: The probability of apparent mortality increased with corticosterone, suggestingsome birds incurred increased mortality risk for the sake of breeding. For Duck Island (lowreproductive success), it appears birds sacrificed more lifetime reproductive success than aprudent parent would. On Gull Island, it appears most but possibly not all birds were behavingin ways consistent with theory, although definitive statements require larger samples of highlystressed birds.

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