Pre- To Post-Fledging Carryover Effects ReflectTrade-Offs that Explain Life History Variationamong Altricial Songbirds

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Phenotypic traits acquired in one life history stage cancarryover and affect survival in subsequent stages. Suchcarryover effects are particularly relevant in young ani-mals, as early life stages are thought to be critical withrespect to animal life history evolution and populationdynamics. In juvenile songbirds, carryover effects fromthe pre- to post-fledging period may be critical for sur-vival, population viability, and life history evolutionbut remain poorly understood. To assess potential fac-tors driving life history variation in songbirds, our re-search tested whether wing development carries over toinfluence patters of post-fledging survival within andamong species. Our initial efforts focused on a sin-gle species, the Dickcissel (Spiza americana), where wefirst documented carryover effects of wing developmentduring the early post-fledging period. Subsequently, we broadened our study to examine carryover effectsamong 20 co-existing species of an avian communityin east-central Illinois, USA. We found evidence forpre- to post-fledging carryover effects at both the intra-and interspecific level, by which species and individualswithin a given species that fledged at earlier ages hadless developed wings, exhibited poorer flight ability,and experienced higher rates of mortality after fledging.Fledging age was ultimately the result of trade-offs withpredation risk, with higher nest mortality rates favor-ing shorter nestling periods and less developed wings.Ultimately, our results show how morphological traits,locomotor performance, and age-specific mortality cantrade-off and interact across juvenile life stages to shapeanimal life histories.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNAOC 2020, Abstract Book.
StatePublished - 2020


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