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An experimental test of the information model for negotiation of biparental care

Meade, J., Nam, K.B., Lee, J.W. and Hatchwell, B.J. (2011) An experimental test of the information model for negotiation of biparental care. Plos One, 6 (5). Art no. e19684. ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

Background: Theoretical modelling of biparental care suggests that it can be a stable strategy if parents partially compensate for changes in behaviour by their partners. In empirical studies, however, parents occasionally match rather than compensate for the actions of their partners. The recently proposed "information model'' adds to the earlier theory by factoring in information on brood value and/or need into parental decision-making. This leads to a variety of predicted parental responses following a change in partner work-rate depending on the information available to parents.

Methodology/Principal Findings: We experimentally test predictions of the information model using a population of long-tailed tits. We show that parental information on brood need varies systematically through the nestling period and use this variation to predict parental responses to an experimental increase in partner work-rate via playback of extra chick begging calls. When parental information is relatively high, partial compensation is predicted, whereas when parental information is low, a matching response is predicted.

Conclusions/Significance: We find that although some responses are consistent with predictions, parents match a change in their partner's work-rate more often than expected and we discuss possible explanations for our findings.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2011 Meade et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Male Parental Care; Long-Tailed Tits; Sex-Differences; Reproductive Success; Partner Contribution; Ficedula-Hypoleuca; Offspring Care; House Sparrows; Brood Size; Testosterone
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > School of Biological Sciences (Sheffield) > Department of Animal and Plant Sciences (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Miss Anthea Tucker
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2011 08:17
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 17:32
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0019684
Status: Published
Publisher: Public Library Science
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0019684
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/43079

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