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Reproductive costs in terrestrial male vertebrates: insights from bird studies

Abstract : Reproduction requires resources that cannot be allocated to other functions resulting in direct reproductive costs (i.e. trade-offs between current reproduction and subsequent survival/reproduction). In wild vertebrates, direct reproductive costs have been widely described in females, but their occurrence in males remains to be explored. To fill this gap, we gathered 53 studies on 48 species testing direct reproductive costs in male vertebrates. We found a trade-off between current reproduction and subsequent performances in 29% of the species and in every clade. As 73% of the studied species are birds, we focused on that clade to investigate whether such trade-offs are associated with (i) levels of paternal care, (ii) polygyny or (iii) pace of life. More precisely for this third question, it is expected that fast species (i.e. short lifespan, early maturity, high fecundity) pay a cost in terms of survival, whereas slow species (with opposite characteristics) do so in terms of fecundity. Our findings tend to support this hypothesis. Finally, we pointed out the potential confounding effects that should be accounted for when investigating reproductive costs in males and strongly encourage the investigation of such costs in more clades to understand to what extent our results are relevant for other vertebrates.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 6:14:02 PM
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Josefa Bleu, Marlène Gamelon, Bernt-Erik Saether. Reproductive costs in terrestrial male vertebrates: insights from bird studies. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2016, 283 (1823), ⟨10.1098/rspb.2015.2600⟩. ⟨hal-02635503⟩



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