Parental cooperation in a changing climate: fluctuating environments predict shifts in care division

Orsolya Vincze, András Kosztolányi, Zoltán Barta, Clemens Küpper, Monif Alrashidi, Juan A. Amat, Araceli Argüelles Ticó, Fiona Burns, John Cavitt, Warren C. Conway, Medardo Cruz-López, Atahualpa Eduardo Desucre-Medrano, Natalie dos Remedios, Jordi Figuerola, Daniel Galindo-Espinosa, Gabriel E. García-Peña, Salvador Gómez Del Angel, Cheri Gratto-Trevor, Paul Jönsson, Penn LloydTomás Montalvo, Jorge Enrique Parra, Raya Pruner, Pinjia Que, Yang Liu, Sarah T. Saalfeld, Rainer Schulz, Lorenzo Serra, James J H St Clair, Lynne E. Stenzel, Michael A. Weston, Maï Yasué, Sama Zefania, Tamás Székely

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    15 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Aim: Parental care improves the survival of offspring and therefore has a major impact on reproductive success. It is increasingly recognized that coordinated biparental care is necessary to ensure the survival of offspring in hostile environments, but little is known about the influence of environmental fluctuations on parental cooperation. Assessing the impacts of environmental stochasticity, however, is essential for understanding how populations will respond to climate change and the associated increasing frequencies of extreme weather events. Here we investigate the influence of environmental stochasticity on biparental incubation in a cosmopolitan ground-nesting avian genus. Location: Global. Methods: We assembled data on biparental care in 36 plover populations (Charadrius spp.) from six continents, collected between 1981 and 2012. Using a space-for-time approach we investigate how average temperature, temperature stochasticity (i.e. year-to-year variation) and seasonal temperature variation during the breeding season influence parental cooperation during incubation. Results: We show that both average ambient temperature and its fluctuations influence parental cooperation during incubation. Male care relative to female care increases with both mean ambient temperature and temperature stochasticity. Local climatic conditions explain within-species population differences in parental cooperation, probably reflecting phenotypic plasticity of behaviour. Main conclusions: The degree of flexibility in parental cooperation is likely to mediate the impacts of climate change on the demography and reproductive behaviour of wild animal populations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)347-358
    Number of pages12
    JournalGlobal Ecology and Biogeography
    Volume26
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

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