Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 145, Issue 2, pp 129–136

Individual changes underlie age-specific pattern of laying date and egg-size in female common terns Sterna hirundo

  • Jacob González-Solís
  • Peter H. Becker
  • Lluis Jover
  • Xavier Ruiz
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10336-004-0023-z

Cite this article as:
González-Solís, J., Becker, P.H., Jover, L. et al. J Ornithol (2004) 145: 129. doi:10.1007/s10336-004-0023-z

Abstract

It has been suggested that breeding performance differs between young and old birds due to the appearance and disappearance of phenotypes through differential survival (selection hypothesis) or differential recruitment (delayed breeding hypothesis) of high-quality individuals, but each bird may show constant breeding performance over its life. We tested constant egg-volume and laying date by modelling their variability on the basis of the 109 known-age females of common tern Sterna hirundo with data available from 1 to 9 years. Longitudinal analyses showed a significant advancement of laying date, as well as a steady increase in egg-volume, in young age classes from 2 to 5–7 years old, indicating individual intrinsic changes in performance with age. In our model, female effect accounted for 74% and 8% of variance in egg-volume and laying date, respectively, suggesting that if correlation between breeding performance and survival or recruitment exists, population patterns of age-specific performance may emerge. However, we found no evidence that birds that did not return to breed during young age classes laid later or smaller eggs than returned breeders. Likewise, we found no evidence that recruiting birds laid earlier or larger eggs than same aged birds recruited in preceding years. Thus, this study shows that age-specific patterns in timing of breeding and egg-size in common terns result from individuals’ intrinsic changes, and we reject the selection and the delayed breeding hypotheses as a major factor shaping age-specific patterns at population level.

Keywords

Delayed breeding Longitudinal analyses Selection of phenotypes Sterna hirundo Timing of breeding. 

Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V.  2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacob González-Solís
    • 1
    • 3
  • Peter H. Becker
    • 1
  • Lluis Jover
    • 2
  • Xavier Ruiz
    • 3
  1. 1.Institut für Vogelforschung “Vogelwarte Helgoland”WilhelmshavenGermany
  2. 2.Dept de Salut Pública (Bioestadística)Universidad de BarcelonaBarcelona-08036Spain
  3. 3.Dept de Biologia Animal (Vertebrats)Universidad de BarcelonaBarcelona-08028Spain

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