Reduced compensatory growth capacity in mistimed broods of a migratory passerine

G. Hegyi, Gergely Nagy, J. Török

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Phenotypic plasticity has recently been proposed to increase population viability when rapid anthropogenic environmental changes cannot be tracked by means of evolution. This assumes that environmental changes do not constrain phenotypic plasticity itself, which has rarely been examined in natural populations. In areas of climate warming, many long-distance migratory birds breed increasingly late relative to the period of peak food supply, and the temporal mismatch may constrain plastic life-history traits such as nestling growth. We combined 23 years of food availability and breeding data with a 3-year experimental manipulation of nestling growth trajectories in a Central European population of collared flycatchers (Ficedula albicollis) to examine the potential impact of climate-related mistimed breeding on nestling developmental plasticity. Timing of the food peak was predicted by winter climate, and the median hatching date of broods was earlier in springs with earlier food peaks. However, the adjustment of hatching date was incomplete and the population largely missed the food peak in years with very early food peaks. After imposing a temporary, experimental food shortage on nestlings, the extent of compensatory growth in body mass differed among years, and this difference was apparently related to the distance of hatching dates from the yearly food peak. Growth compensation declined with distance from the peak. These results suggest that mistimed phenology may not only create permanently adverse conditions for migratory species but it may also constrain the plastic responses of individuals to temporary disturbances. Therefore, climate change may not only favour but also restrict phenotypic plasticity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-291
Number of pages13
JournalOecologia
Volume172
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Fingerprint

compensatory growth
passerine
phenotypic plasticity
hatching date
nestling
hatching
food
plastics
climate
food shortages
environmental change
breeding
plastic
global warming
food availability
trajectories
phenology
migratory species
population growth
life history

Keywords

  • Body mass gain
  • Breeding date
  • Global warming
  • Insect phenology
  • Long-distance migrant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Reduced compensatory growth capacity in mistimed broods of a migratory passerine. / Hegyi, G.; Nagy, Gergely; Török, J.

In: Oecologia, Vol. 172, No. 1, 2013, p. 279-291.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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