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Dispersal costs set the scene for helping in an atypical avian cooperative breeder

Russell, A.F. (2001) Dispersal costs set the scene for helping in an atypical avian cooperative breeder. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 268 (1462). pp. 95-99. ISSN 1471-2954


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The ecological constraints hypothesis is suggested to explain the evolution of cooperative breeding in birds. This hypothesis predicts that the scene for cooperative breeding is set when ecological factors constrain offspring from dispersal. This prediction was tested in the atypical cooperative breeding system of the long-tailed tit, Aegithalos caudatus, by comparing the degree of philopatry and cooperation in an isolated and a contiguous site whilst experimentally controlling for confounding aspects of reproduction. No difference was found between the two sites in the survival of offspring but a greater proportion were found to remain philopatric in the isolated site. This difference was caused by greater philopatry of normally dispersive females suggesting, as predicted, that dispersal costs were greater from this site. Furthermore, a greater proportion of males and females cooperated following breeding failure in the isolated site than in the contiguous site. Thus, as has been suggested for typical avian cooperative breeders, dispersal costs, relative to philopatric benefits, appear to set the scene for cooperative breeding in long-tailed tits.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: Copyright © 2001 The Royal Society. Reproduced in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Keywords: dispersal costs, helpers, habitat isolation, cooperative breeding, long-tailed tit, ecological constraints
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > School of Biological Sciences (Sheffield) > Department of Animal and Plant Sciences (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2014 18:20
Published Version: http://www.journals.royalsoc.ac.uk/openurl.asp?gen...
Status: Published
Publisher: The Royal Society
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1098/rspb.2000.1335
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1383

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