The interactive effect of ambient temperature and brood size manipulation on nestling body mass in blue tits: an exploratory analysis of a long-term study.

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From: Frontiers in Zoology(Vol. 19, Issue 1)
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
Document Type: Report
Length: 4,231 words
Lexile Measure: 1550L

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Abstract :

Background Relatively few studies have examined the interactive effects of ecological factors on physiological responses in wild animals. Nearly all of them have been short-term investigations that did not include experimental manipulations, limiting our ability to understand how climate change will affect natural populations. Using a 10-year brood size manipulation experiment in wild blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus), we quantified the impact of weather conditions and brood competition on the body mass and structural size (tarsus length) of nestlings just prior to leaving the nest. Results We found that variation in nestling body mass on day 14 after hatching was explained by an interactive effect between average ambient temperature experienced during nestling period and brood size treatment. Specifically, in control broods nestling body mass was correlated with temperature in a non-linear manner (concave) with the vertex point (maximum body mass) at ca. 13 [degrees]C. In contrast, in enlarged broods nestling body mass permanently increased (also non-linearly) as temperature advanced. Conclusions Our results highlight the importance of considering the effects of brood rearing conditions alongside other environmental factors experienced during growth while investigating early-life environmental effects on body condition. Keywords: Reproductive effort, Climate change, Birds, Weather conditions, Post-hatching rearing conditions

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A699489090