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Effects of interspecific coexistence on laying date and clutch size in two closely related species of hole-nesting birds

Møller, Anders Pape; Balbontín, Javier; Dhondt, André A.; Remeš, Vladimir; Adriaensen, Frank; Biard, Clotilde; Camprodon, Jordi; Cichoń, Mariusz; Doligez, Blandine and Dubiec, Anna, et al. (2018) In Journal of Animal Ecology 87(6). p.1738-1748
Abstract

Coexistence between great tits Parus major and blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus, but also other hole-nesting taxa, constitutes a classic example of species co-occurrence resulting in potential interference and exploitation competition for food and for breeding and roosting sites. However, the spatial and temporal variations in coexistence and its consequences for competition remain poorly understood. We used an extensive database on reproduction in nest boxes by great and blue tits based on 87 study plots across Europe and Northern Africa during 1957–2012 for a total of 19,075 great tit and 16,729 blue tit clutches to assess correlative evidence for a relationship between laying date and clutch size, respectively, and density consistent... (More)

Coexistence between great tits Parus major and blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus, but also other hole-nesting taxa, constitutes a classic example of species co-occurrence resulting in potential interference and exploitation competition for food and for breeding and roosting sites. However, the spatial and temporal variations in coexistence and its consequences for competition remain poorly understood. We used an extensive database on reproduction in nest boxes by great and blue tits based on 87 study plots across Europe and Northern Africa during 1957–2012 for a total of 19,075 great tit and 16,729 blue tit clutches to assess correlative evidence for a relationship between laying date and clutch size, respectively, and density consistent with effects of intraspecific and interspecific competition. In an initial set of analyses, we statistically controlled for a suite of site-specific variables. We found evidence for an effect of intraspecific competition on blue tit laying date (later laying at higher density) and clutch size (smaller clutch size at higher density), but no evidence of significant effects of intraspecific competition in great tits, nor effects of interspecific competition for either species. To further control for site-specific variation caused by a range of potentially confounding variables, we compared means and variances in laying date and clutch size of great and blue tits among three categories of difference in density between the two species. We exploited the fact that means and variances are generally positively correlated. If interspecific competition occurs, we predicted a reduction in mean and an increase in variance in clutch size in great tit and blue tit when density of heterospecifics is higher than the density of conspecifics, and for intraspecific competition, this reduction would occur when density of conspecifics is higher than the density of heterospecifics. Such comparisons of temporal patterns of means and variances revealed evidence, for both species, consistent with intraspecific competition and to a smaller extent with interspecific competition. These findings suggest that competition associated with reproductive behaviour between blue and great tits is widespread, but also varies across large spatial and temporal scales.

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published
subject
keywords
clutch size, density, interspecific competition, intraspecific competition, nest boxes, reaction norm, spatiotemporal variation
in
Journal of Animal Ecology
volume
87
issue
6
pages
1738 - 1748
publisher
Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd
external identifiers
  • scopus:85053032446
ISSN
0021-8790
DOI
10.1111/1365-2656.12896
language
English
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yes
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c5ee26ca-540c-4634-8fee-eb4a6cd5437a
date added to LUP
2018-11-13 14:19:17
date last changed
2019-08-14 04:27:00
@article{c5ee26ca-540c-4634-8fee-eb4a6cd5437a,
  abstract     = {<p>Coexistence between great tits Parus major and blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus, but also other hole-nesting taxa, constitutes a classic example of species co-occurrence resulting in potential interference and exploitation competition for food and for breeding and roosting sites. However, the spatial and temporal variations in coexistence and its consequences for competition remain poorly understood. We used an extensive database on reproduction in nest boxes by great and blue tits based on 87 study plots across Europe and Northern Africa during 1957–2012 for a total of 19,075 great tit and 16,729 blue tit clutches to assess correlative evidence for a relationship between laying date and clutch size, respectively, and density consistent with effects of intraspecific and interspecific competition. In an initial set of analyses, we statistically controlled for a suite of site-specific variables. We found evidence for an effect of intraspecific competition on blue tit laying date (later laying at higher density) and clutch size (smaller clutch size at higher density), but no evidence of significant effects of intraspecific competition in great tits, nor effects of interspecific competition for either species. To further control for site-specific variation caused by a range of potentially confounding variables, we compared means and variances in laying date and clutch size of great and blue tits among three categories of difference in density between the two species. We exploited the fact that means and variances are generally positively correlated. If interspecific competition occurs, we predicted a reduction in mean and an increase in variance in clutch size in great tit and blue tit when density of heterospecifics is higher than the density of conspecifics, and for intraspecific competition, this reduction would occur when density of conspecifics is higher than the density of heterospecifics. Such comparisons of temporal patterns of means and variances revealed evidence, for both species, consistent with intraspecific competition and to a smaller extent with interspecific competition. These findings suggest that competition associated with reproductive behaviour between blue and great tits is widespread, but also varies across large spatial and temporal scales.</p>},
  author       = {Møller, Anders Pape and Balbontín, Javier and Dhondt, André A. and Remeš, Vladimir and Adriaensen, Frank and Biard, Clotilde and Camprodon, Jordi and Cichoń, Mariusz and Doligez, Blandine and Dubiec, Anna and Eens, Marcel and Eeva, Tapio and Goodenough, Anne E. and Gosler, Andrew G. and Gustafsson, Lars and Heeb, Philipp and Hinsley, Shelley A. and Jacob, Staffan and Juškaitis, Rimvydas and Laaksonen, Toni and Leclercq, Bernard and Massa, Bruno and Mazgajski, Tomasz D. and Nager, Ruedi G. and Nilsson, Jan-Åke and Nilsson, Sven G. and Norte, Ana C. and Pinxten, Rianne and Robles, Hugo and Solonen, Tapio and Sorace, Alberto and van Noordwijk, Arie J. and Lambrechts, Marcel M.},
  issn         = {0021-8790},
  keyword      = {clutch size,density,interspecific competition,intraspecific competition,nest boxes,reaction norm,spatiotemporal variation},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {11},
  number       = {6},
  pages        = {1738--1748},
  publisher    = {Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd},
  series       = {Journal of Animal Ecology},
  title        = {Effects of interspecific coexistence on laying date and clutch size in two closely related species of hole-nesting birds},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.12896},
  volume       = {87},
  year         = {2018},
}