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Environmental conditions variably affect growth across the breeding season in a subarctic seabird

Abstract : Predicting the impacts of changing environments on phenotypes in wild populations remains a challenge. Growth, a trait that frequently influences fitness, is difficult to study as it is influenced by many environmental variables. To address this, we used a sliding window approach to determine the time-windows when sea-surface and air temperatures have the potential to affect growth of black-legged kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) on a colony in the Northeast Pacific. We examined environmental drivers influencing nestling growth using data from a long-term (21-year) study, that food supplements a portion of the colony. The associations between kittiwake growth and climatic conditions in our study indicated that warmer environmental conditions can both positively and negatively impact nestling growth parameters depending on hatching order. We found that first-hatched nestlings had a heavier maximum mass under warm air temperatures and cold sea conditions. Warmer air temperatures negatively affected the second-hatched nestling in a brood. However, when air temperatures were warm, warmer sea-surface temperatures predicted heavy, fast-growing second-hatched nestlings in contrast to what we observed for first-hatched nestlings. Food supplementation alleviated the temperature effects, and competition among nestlings influenced how strongly a variable affected growth. We identified windows that might indicate specific biological pathways through which environmental variation affected growth directly or indirectly. Overall, our windows suggest that nestlings in shared nests will be most affected by warming conditions.
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Contributor : Anne Charmantier Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, October 17, 2022 - 6:26:51 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 19, 2022 - 4:12:31 AM


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Drew Sauve, Anne Charmantier, Scott Hatch, Vicki Friesen. Environmental conditions variably affect growth across the breeding season in a subarctic seabird. Oecologia, 2021, 198 (2), pp.307-318. ⟨10.1007/s00442-021-05063-x⟩. ⟨hal-03818351⟩



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