Fecundity selection on ornamental plumage colour differs between ages and sexes and varies over small spatial scales

T. H. Parker, T. A. Wilkin, I. R. Barr, B. C. Sheldon, L. Rowe, S. C. Griffith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Avian plumage colours are some of the most conspicuous sexual ornaments, and yet standardized selection gradients for plumage colour have rarely been quantified. We examined patterns of fecundity selection on plumage colour in blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus L.). When not accounting for environmental heterogeneity, we detected relatively few cases of selection. We found significant disruptive selection on adult male crown colour and yearling female chest colour and marginally nonsignificant positive linear selection on adult female crown colour. We discovered no new significant selection gradients with canonical rotation of the matrix of nonlinear selection. Next, using a long-term data set, we identified territory-level environmental variables that predicted fecundity to determine whether these variables influenced patterns of plumage selection. The first of these variables, the density of oaks within 50m of the nest, influenced selection gradients only for yearling males. The second variable, an inverse function of nesting density, interacted with a subset of plumage selection gradients for yearling males and adult females, although the strength and direction of selection did not vary predictably with population density across these analyses. Overall, fecundity selection on plumage colour in blue tits appeared rare and inconsistent among sexes and age classes.

LanguageEnglish
Pages1584-1597
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume24
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

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plumage
fecundity
color
gender
Cyanistes caeruleus
yearlings
chest
age structure
Quercus
population density
nests
environmental factors
age class
nest

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Parker, T. H. ; Wilkin, T. A. ; Barr, I. R. ; Sheldon, B. C. ; Rowe, L. ; Griffith, S. C. / Fecundity selection on ornamental plumage colour differs between ages and sexes and varies over small spatial scales. In: Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 2011 ; Vol. 24, No. 7. pp. 1584-1597.
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Fecundity selection on ornamental plumage colour differs between ages and sexes and varies over small spatial scales. / Parker, T. H.; Wilkin, T. A.; Barr, I. R.; Sheldon, B. C.; Rowe, L.; Griffith, S. C.

In: Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Vol. 24, No. 7, 07.2011, p. 1584-1597.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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