Similar patterns of age-specific reproduction in an island and mainland population of great tits Parus major

S. Bouwhuis, A.J. Van Noordwijk, B.C. Sheldon, S. Verhulst, M.E. Visser

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

The process of ageing was long thought to be too infrequent to affect life-histories in natural populations. Long-term studies have, however, recently demonstrated ageing to be ubiquitous even in the wild, although confounding factors, such as emigration instead of mortality, or inter-population variation in rates of ageing have seldom been addressed. Here, we present analyses of female age-specific reproductive performance in a Dutch island population of great tits Parus major. For this population with limited connectivity to surrounding areas, we show that, between individuals, reproductive lifespan positively co-varies with recruit production, while within individuals performance improves up to 3 years of age, after which it gradually declines. We also show these patterns to be strikingly similar to those recently found in a less isolated British mainland population of great tits, characterised by different environmental conditions and life-history strategies, in particular the frequency of multiple breeding. Our results therefore suggest patterns of agespecific reproductive performance to be robust to both environmental and life-history variation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-620
JournalJournal of Avian Biology
Volume41
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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