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Viability of Booby Offspring is Maximized by Having One Young Parent and One Old Parent.

Drummond H, Rodríguez C - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: However, theoretical predictions for age effects are contradictory and, to our knowledge, we do not know for any wild animal how the quality of offspring is affected by both parents' ages across their lifespans, or whether mothers' and fathers' ages interact.In 5,343 breeding attempts, although mothers' and fathers' ages independently affected four heavily care-dependent breeding traits at the clutch and nestling stages, their interaction did not affect any trait.The effects of parental age combinations on viability could also be mediated by genes: fledglings with one young parent and one old parent could benefit from greater heterozygosity or better genes.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico.

ABSTRACT
It is widely expected that the quality of offspring will vary with the age of their parents and that this variation should influence animals' choice of mates. However, theoretical predictions for age effects are contradictory and, to our knowledge, we do not know for any wild animal how the quality of offspring is affected by both parents' ages across their lifespans, or whether mothers' and fathers' ages interact. We tackled this question using long-term data on a highly philopatric, insular population of the blue-footed booby (Sula nebouxii). In this species extra-pair paternity is most common in pairs of two young parents or two old parents, implying that these age combinations might prejudice offspring quality. Analysis of the viability of 3,361 offspring of parents up to 21 years old revealed that fledglings with two young parents or two old parents were least likely to become breeders, whereas fledglings with one young parent and one old parent were most likely to do so. For young parents of either sex, offspring viability increased with age of the other parent; for very old parents, it decreased. These effects could be mediated by parents flexibly modifying their investment in offspring in response to their own and their partners´ ages, but evidence for this was lacking. In 5,343 breeding attempts, although mothers' and fathers' ages independently affected four heavily care-dependent breeding traits at the clutch and nestling stages, their interaction did not affect any trait. The effects of parental age combinations on viability could also be mediated by genes: fledglings with one young parent and one old parent could benefit from greater heterozygosity or better genes.

No MeSH data available.


Significant quadratic effects of mothers’ and fathers’ ages (years) on breeding traits.
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pone.0133213.g002: Significant quadratic effects of mothers’ and fathers’ ages (years) on breeding traits.

Mentions: None of the six breeding traits was affected by the interaction of parents’ linear ages (Table 2) although positive and quadratic effects of either male age or female age were common: hatching success, brood size and number of fledglings were affected by linear and quadratic terms for female age, and fledging success was affected by the linear and quadratic terms for both female and male age (Table 2, Fig 2).


Viability of Booby Offspring is Maximized by Having One Young Parent and One Old Parent.

Drummond H, Rodríguez C - PLoS ONE (2015)

Significant quadratic effects of mothers’ and fathers’ ages (years) on breeding traits.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4519181&req=5

pone.0133213.g002: Significant quadratic effects of mothers’ and fathers’ ages (years) on breeding traits.
Mentions: None of the six breeding traits was affected by the interaction of parents’ linear ages (Table 2) although positive and quadratic effects of either male age or female age were common: hatching success, brood size and number of fledglings were affected by linear and quadratic terms for female age, and fledging success was affected by the linear and quadratic terms for both female and male age (Table 2, Fig 2).

Bottom Line: However, theoretical predictions for age effects are contradictory and, to our knowledge, we do not know for any wild animal how the quality of offspring is affected by both parents' ages across their lifespans, or whether mothers' and fathers' ages interact.In 5,343 breeding attempts, although mothers' and fathers' ages independently affected four heavily care-dependent breeding traits at the clutch and nestling stages, their interaction did not affect any trait.The effects of parental age combinations on viability could also be mediated by genes: fledglings with one young parent and one old parent could benefit from greater heterozygosity or better genes.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico.

ABSTRACT
It is widely expected that the quality of offspring will vary with the age of their parents and that this variation should influence animals' choice of mates. However, theoretical predictions for age effects are contradictory and, to our knowledge, we do not know for any wild animal how the quality of offspring is affected by both parents' ages across their lifespans, or whether mothers' and fathers' ages interact. We tackled this question using long-term data on a highly philopatric, insular population of the blue-footed booby (Sula nebouxii). In this species extra-pair paternity is most common in pairs of two young parents or two old parents, implying that these age combinations might prejudice offspring quality. Analysis of the viability of 3,361 offspring of parents up to 21 years old revealed that fledglings with two young parents or two old parents were least likely to become breeders, whereas fledglings with one young parent and one old parent were most likely to do so. For young parents of either sex, offspring viability increased with age of the other parent; for very old parents, it decreased. These effects could be mediated by parents flexibly modifying their investment in offspring in response to their own and their partners´ ages, but evidence for this was lacking. In 5,343 breeding attempts, although mothers' and fathers' ages independently affected four heavily care-dependent breeding traits at the clutch and nestling stages, their interaction did not affect any trait. The effects of parental age combinations on viability could also be mediated by genes: fledglings with one young parent and one old parent could benefit from greater heterozygosity or better genes.

No MeSH data available.