Breeding Period (breeding + period)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Environment-related life-history trait variations of the red-bellied piranha Pygocentrus nattereri in two river basins of the Bolivian Amazon

F. Duponchelle
Life-history traits of Pygocentrus nattereri were compared in two populations inhabiting connected tributaries of the upper Madera River: the white water Mamoré River and the clear water Iténez River. As white waters provide better trophic conditions than clear waters, the size at maturity, fecundity, reproductive effort, condition and growth of P. nattereri should be greater in the more productive white water river (Mamoré) than in the less-productive clear water river (Iténez). Breeding periods were highly seasonal and similar in both rivers and under strong influence of photoperiod. Oocyte size-frequency distributions, together with the frequent occurrence of recovering females indicated that an individual female spawns at least twice during the breeding season. As predicted, fish of the Mamoré were significantly larger at maturity and had higher fecundity and condition factor values than those of the Iténez. Fish from both rivers matured as yearlings. The higher growth potential of females was better expressed in the Mamoré than in the Iténez, where growth differences between sexes were weak. Females had a significantly better growth in the Mamoré than in the Iténez. The observed life-history traits associations were consistent with the hypothesis of better trophic conditions in the Mamoré. In addition, previous genetic analyses evidenced that the colonization of the two basins is recent and that extant populations have very similar genetic backgrounds. This suggests that the observed variations in life-history traits of P. nattereri are not related to historical factors (genetic drift) between two phylogeographically distinct lineages, but rather due to the contrasting environmental conditions in the white and clear waters. [source]

Linking environmental warming to the fitness of the invasive clam Corbicula fluminea

Abstract Climate warming is discussed as a factor that can favour the success of invasive species. In the present study, we analysed potential fitness gains of moderate warming (3 °C above field temperature) on the invasive clam Corbicula fluminea during summer and winter. The experiments were conducted under seminatural conditions in a bypass-system of a large river (Rhine, Germany). We showed that warming in late summer results in a significant decrease in the clams' growth rates (body mass and shell length increase) and an increase in mortality rate. The addition of planktonic food dampens the negative effect of warming on the growth rates. This suggests that the reason for the negative growth effect of temperature increase in late summer is a negative energetic balance caused by an enhanced metabolic rate at limited food levels. Warming during early summer revealed contrasting effects with respect of body mass (no warming effect) and shell length (increased shell growth with warming). This differential control of both parameters further enhances the loss of the relative (size-specific) body mass with warming. In contrast, warming in winter had a consistently positive effect on the clams' growth rate as demonstrated in two independent experiments. Furthermore, the reproduction success (as measured by the average number of larvae per clam) during the main breeding period (April) was strongly enhanced by experimental warming during winter, i.e. by eight times during the relatively cold winter 2005/2006 and by 2.6 times during the relatively warm winter 2007/2008. This strong, positive effect of moderate winter warming on the clams' fitness is probably one reason for the recent invasion success of C. fluminea in the northern hemisphere. However, warm summer events might counteract the positive winter warming effect, which could balance out the fitness gains. [source]

Climate change may account for the decline in British ring ouzels Turdus torquatus

Summary 1Climate change is already affecting biodiversity, but the number of species for which reliable models relate weather and climate to demographic parameters is low. 2We modelled the effect of temperature and rainfall on the breeding success and territory occupancy of ring ouzels Turdus torquatus (L.) in northern Britain, using data from a range of study areas, including one where there was a long-term decline in ring ouzel abundance. 3Timing of breeding was significantly related to meteorological variables affecting birds in the early spring, though there was no evidence that laying dates had advanced. Breeding success was not significantly related to weather variables; instead, over 90% of annual variation in this parameter could be explained by density dependence. 4Annual change in territory occupancy was linked to rainfall and temperature the preceding summer, after the main breeding season and to rainfall in the wintering grounds 24 months previously, coincident with the period of juniper Juniperus sp. (L.) flowering. High temperature in late summer, intermediate levels of late summer rainfall, and high spring rainfall in Morocco 24 months previously all had negative impacts on territory occupancy the following year. 5All three weather variables have changed over recent decades, with a significant increase in summer temperature, a significant decrease in summer rainfall, and a nonsignificant decline in Moroccan spring rainfall. A model based on these trends alone predicted an annual decline in occupancy of 3·6% (compared with an observed decline of 1·2%), and suggested that increased summer temperatures may underlie declines in the British ring ouzel population. 6Changes in summer temperature after the main breeding period could affect the survival rates of adult and/or juvenile birds. An improved understanding of the post-breeding ecology of ring ouzels is required to elucidate the mechanisms and causes of this relationship. Such knowledge might allow management aimed at buffering the impacts of climate change on ring ouzels. [source]

Recovery of anuran community diversity following habitat replacement

David Lesbarrères
Summary 1.,Recently habitat degradation, road construction and traffic have all increased with human populations, to the detriment of aquatic habitats and species. While numerous restoration programmes have been carried out, there is an urgent need to follow their success to better understand and compensate for the decline of amphibian populations. To this end, we followed the colonization success of an anuran community across multiple replacement ponds created to mitigate large-scale habitat disturbance. 2.,Following construction of a highway in western France, a restoration project was initiated in 1999 and the success of restoration efforts was monitored. The amphibian communities of eight ponds were surveyed before they were destroyed. Replacement ponds were created according to precise edaphic criteria, consistent with the old pond characteristics and taking into account the amphibian species present in each. The presence of amphibian species was recorded every year during the breeding period for 4 years following pond creation. 3.,Species richness initially declined following construction of the replacement ponds but generally returned to pre-construction levels. Species diversity followed the same pattern but took longer to reach the level of diversity recorded before construction. Pond surface area, depth and sun exposure were the most significant habitat characteristics explaining both amphibian species richness and diversity. Similarly, an increase in the number of vegetation strata was positively related to anuran species richness, indicating the need to maintain a heterogeneous landscape containing relatively large open wetland areas. 4.,Synthesis and applications. We highlight the species-specific dynamics of the colonization process, including an increase in the number of replacement ponds inhabited over time by some species and, in some cases, an increase in population size. Our work suggests that successful replacement ponds can be designed around simple habitat features, providing clear benefits for a range of amphibian species, which will have positive cascading effects on local biodiversity. However, consideration must also be given to the terrestrial buffer zone when management strategies are being planned. Finally, our study offers insight into the successful establishment of anuran communities over a relatively short time in restored or replacement aquatic environments. [source]

Combined effects of fisheries and climate on a migratory long-lived marine predator

V. Rolland
Summary 1The impact of climate on marine ecosystems is now well documented, but remains complex. Climate change may interact with human activities to effect population dynamics. In addition, in migratory species conditions are different between the breeding and wintering grounds, resulting in more complex dynamics. All these possible effects should be considered to predict the future of endangered species, but very few studies have investigated such combined interactions. 2As a case study, we assessed the relative impact of fisheries and of oceanographic conditions in breeding and wintering sites on adult survival and breeding success of a population of the endangered black-browed albatross Thalassarche melanophrys in the Kerguelen Islands, Southern Indian Ocean. This study was based on long-term monitoring of individually marked individuals (1979,2005) and identification by tracking studies and band recoveries of the oceanic feeding zones used during breeding and non-breeding seasons. 3Breeding success was variable until 1997 and then declined gradually, from 0·88 to 0·48 chicks per egg laid. It was favoured by positive sea-surface temperature anomalies (SSTA) and trawl fishery during the breeding period, whereas it was negatively affected by positive SSTA around Tasmania, where the species winters. Adult survival was 0·918 ± 0·004 on average and increased with SSTA during incubation, but decreased significantly with high tuna longlining effort in the wintering zone. 4Our analyses show that demographic parameters were influenced by both climate and fisheries in both breeding and wintering grounds, but with different effect size. Black-browed albatross breeding success was more favoured by trawlers' offal and discards than by any of the seasonally/spatially oceanographic conditions, whereas their survival was equally affected by tuna longline fishery through incidental by-catch and spring SSTA. 5Synthesis and applications. Our work underlines that a comprehensive knowledge of the life history of a species in all the habitats used is important to disentangle the respective roles of environmental conditions and human factors on population dynamics. Identification of these effects is required when proposing effective conservation measures, because the conservation of threatened species may depend on their wintering country's exclusive economic zones. [source]

Variable reproductive effort for two ptarmigan species in response to spring weather in a northern alpine ecosystem

Scott Wilson
Predicting how animal populations respond to climate change requires knowledge of how species traits influence the response of individuals to variation in anuual weather. Over a four-year study with two warm and two cold years, we examined how sympatric rock ptarmigan Lagopus muta and white-tailed ptarmigan L. leucura in the southern Yukon Territory respond to spring weather in terms of breeding phenology and the allocation of reproductive effort. The onset of breeding was approximately synchronous; for each one-degree rise in spring temperature, mean breeding dates of rock and white-tailed ptarmigan advanced by about 2.7 and 4 days respectively. Although onset of breeding was similar, the two species differed in their reproductive effort. As breeding was delayed, average first clutch sizes of rock ptarmigan declined from 9.4 to 5.8 eggs over the breeding period, while those of white-tailed ptarmigan only declined from an average of 7.8 to 6.8. Rock ptarmigan were also less likely to re-nest if their first clutch was lost to predators and as a consequence they had shorter breeding seasons. White-tailed ptarmigan produced about 25% more offspring annually than rock ptarmigan and contributed more young through re-nesting. While white-tailed ptarmigan had higher annual reproductive output, adult rock ptarmigan had a 20,25% higher annual survival rate, which may indicate a reproduction,survival trade-off for the two species. These results show that even within the same location, closely related species can differ in how they allocate effort as environmental conditions fluctuate. [source]

Temporal patterns of breeding and recruitment in Nerophis lumbriciformis(Pisces; Syngnathidae) related to seawater temperatures

N. M. Monteiro
The breeding season of Nerophis lumbriciformis, a cold water pipefish, was positively correlated with seawater temperatures <15·5° C, whilst recruitment occurred at the end of the upwelling season, when seawater temperature attained its maximum values. The observed alterations in seawater temperatures, with steady year-round increases, and the consequent alteration of the upwelling regime, may have dramatic consequences in the maintenance of N. lumbriciformis populations, by reducing the breeding period and simultaneously contributing to the transport of pelagic larvae northwards due to specific sea currents that occur outside the upwelling season. [source]

Reproduction and Resistance to Stress: When and How

J. C. Wingfield
Abstract Environmental and social stresses have deleterious effects on reproductive function in vertebrates. Global climate change, human disturbance and endocrine disruption from pollutants are increasingly likely to pose additional stresses that could have a major impact on human society. Nonetheless, some populations of vertebrates (from fish to mammals) are able to temporarily resist environmental and social stresses, and breed successfully. A classical trade-off of reproductive success for potential survival is involved. We define five examples. (i) Aged individuals with minimal future reproductive success that should attempt to breed despite potential acute stressors. (ii) Seasonal breeders when time for actual breeding is so short that acute stress should be resisted in favour of reproductive success. (iii) If both members of a breeding pair provide parental care, then loss of a mate should be compensated for by the remaining individual. (iv) Semelparous species in which there is only one breeding period followed by programmed death. (v) Species where, because of the transience of dominance status in a social group, individuals may only have a short window of opportunity for mating. We suggest four mechanisms underlying resistance of the gonadal axis to stress. (i) Blockade at the central nervous system level, i.e. an individual no longer perceives the perturbation as stressful. (ii) Blockade at the level of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (i.e. failure to increase secretion of glucocorticosteroids). (iii) Blockade at the level of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonad axis (i.e. resistance of the reproductive system to the actions of glucocorticosteroids). (iv) Compensatory stimulation of the gonadal axis to counteract inhibitory glucocorticosteroid actions. Although these mechanisms are likely genetically determined, their expression may depend upon a complex interaction with environmental factors. Future research will provide valuable information on the biology of stress and how organisms cope. Such mechanisms would be particularly insightful as the spectre of global change continues to unfold. [source]

Variation in fecal testosterone levels, inter-male aggression, dominance rank and age during mating and post-mating periods in wild adult male ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta)

L. Gould
Abstract In primate species exhibiting seasonal reproduction, patterns of testosterone excretion in adult males are variable: in some species, peaks correlate with female receptivity periods and heightened male,male aggression over access to estrous females, in others, neither heightened aggression nor marked elevations in testosterone have been noted. In this study, we examined mean fecal testosterone ( f,T) levels and intermale aggression in wild adult male ring-tailed lemurs residing in three groups at Beza Mahafaly Reserve, Madagascar. Results obtained from mating and post-mating season 2003 were compared to test Wingfield et al. [1990. Am Nat 136:829,846] "challenge hypothesis", which predicts a strong positive relationship between male testosterone levels and male,male competition for access to receptive females during breeding season. f,T levels and rates of intermale aggression were significantly higher during mating season compared to the post-mating period. Mean f,T levels and aggression rates were also higher in the first half of the mating season compared with the second half. Number of males in a group affected rates of intermale agonism, but not mean f,T levels. The highest-ranking males in two of the groups exhibited higher mean f,T levels than did lower-ranking males, and young males exhibited lower f,T levels compared to prime-aged and old males. In the post-mating period, mean male f,T levels did not differ between groups, nor were there rank or age effects. Thus, although male testosterone levels rose in relation to mating and heightened male,male aggression, f,T levels fell to baseline breeding levels shortly after the early mating period, and to baseline non-breeding levels immediately after mating season had ended, offsetting the high cost of maintaining both high testosterone and high levels of male,male aggression in the early breeding period. Am. J. Primatol. 69:1325,1339, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Sperm quality of Brazilian flounder Paralichthys orbignyanus throughout the reproductive season

Carlos Frederico Ceccon Lanes
Abstract The aim of this study was to evaluate the sperm quality of Brazilian flounder Paralichthys orbignyanus throughout its reproductive season. Sperm was collected at the beginning, middle and end of the breeding period. Spermatozoa density was maximum at the beginning (12.7 ± 0.92 × 109 cells mL,1) and at the end (11.8 ± 0.39 × 109 cells mL,1) of the breeding season (P<0.05). Sperm production and the percentage of spermatozoa moving fast forward increased significantly towards the end of the breeding season (P<0.05). The mean duration of progressive motility of spermatozoa was around 10 min. No difference was observed during the reproductive season in the percentage of motile cells, pH, osmolality and K+, Cl, and Mg2+ concentrations in seminal plasma. The concentration of Na+ increased throughout the breeding season, reaching 174.62 ± 12.68 mmol L,1 at the end (P<0.05). There was a decline in the concentration of Ca2+ (12.31 ± 3.08 mmol L,1) in the middle of the breeding season, which coincided with the shortest motility duration of spermatozoa. The information reported in this study should help to improve management and optimize the development of protocols for short-term storage and cryopreservation of Brazilian flounder semen. [source]

Behaviour and stress response during capture and handling of the red-billed chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax (Aves: Corvidae)

We studied the effect of capture and handling on free-living red-billed choughs Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax. We analysed the association between bird behavioural response and individual health, breeding status, sex, and age. Active responses (aggression towards the ringer, screaming) were more common in the breeding period, and in individuals with a high heterophils to lymphocytes ratio, indicating poor physiological condition and/or high chronic stress. Adults were more aggressive than juveniles and yearlings, and females were more aggressive than males. Sex, age, and condition differences were also recorded in the spectrotemporal output of distress calls. Birds with a screaming/active response appeared to be more stress-susceptible than passive and silent individuals, and this response was stronger during the energy demanding period of reproduction. The results obtained suggest that the response of the red-billed chough during capture might primarily reflect stress-susceptibility, although a number of potential alternative explanations are discussed. © 2009 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2009, 96, 846,855. [source]

Habitat utilisation during staging affects body condition in a long distance migrant, Branta bernicla hrota: potential impacts on fitness?

R. Inger
There is considerable evidence to suggest that an animal's ability to access the appropriate resources at one time of year may profoundly restrict its performance at another. For migrants, wintering and breeding periods are often connected by refuelling or staging periods, critical (particularly for females) in attaining the body reserves required to ensure successful breeding. However in many instances there are differences in the extent to which different individuals gain access to the highest quality resources. Here we demonstrate how body condition in brent geese Branta bernicla hrota, during spring staging is related to differences in marine and terrestrial habitat utilisation (inferred from stable isotope analysis). Female birds with high fat scores feed to a greater extent on marine resources. Body mass and condition are also higher in individuals utilising more marine resources. Given that body mass at spring staging is correlated with reproductive success, the extent of marine habitat maybe critical to this population. Combining this with data from previous studies of dark-bellied brent geese Branta bernicla bernicla, we predict the potential impacts of spring staging resource utilisation on future breeding success. Although staging is of short duration compared to the other components of annual cycles of migratory species, our results suggest that the quality of staging grounds may be vitally important to population processes. [source]