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Teplitsky C.,University of Helsinki | Teplitsky C.,CNRS Science Conservation Center | Mills J.A.,10527A Skyline Drive | Yarrall J.W.,WorkWrite | Merila J.,University of Helsinki
Journal of Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2010

Female reproductive performance can be strongly affected by male care, so that breeding time, a trait expressed only by females, can be seen as one trait determined by both male and female genotypes. Animal model analyses of a 46-year study of red-billed gulls (Larus novaehollandiae scopulinus) revealed that laying date was not heritable in females (h2 = 0.001 ± 0.030), but significantly so in males (h2 = 0.134 ± 0.029). Heritability of breeding time in males probably reflects genetic variability in some other trait such as courtship feeding ability. In line with predictions of evolutionary models incorporating indirect genetic effects, the strong and consistent directional selection for advanced breeding time has not resulted in detectable selection response in males. Our results demonstrate that a female trait is largely determined by genetic characteristics of its mate, and hence, any evolutionary change in red-billed gull breeding time depends critically on genetic variation in males. © 2010 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2010 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

Alho J.S.,University of Helsinki | Teplitsky C.,CNRS Science Conservation Center | Mills J.A.,10527A Skyline Drive | Yarrall J.W.,14 Ashgrove Court | Merila J.,University of Helsinki
Behavioral Ecology | Year: 2012

Except for cooperative breeders, most studies on wild birds have failed to find evidence for inbreeding avoidance via kin discriminative mate choice. This, together with evidence for kin avoidance through dispersal, has led to the general view that dispersal is often a sufficient inbreeding avoidance mechanism and active discrimination through mate choice is unnecessary. Yet, the study of inbreeding avoidance in the wild is difficult and long-term studies of pedigreed wild populations can provide important insights. We studied the occurrence of inbreeding avoidance in a highly philopatric red-billed gull (Larus novaehollandiae scopulinus) population subject to an individual-based field study since 1958 in Kaikoura, New Zealand. Despite a wealth of breeding and pedigree data, we did not observe a single inbred pair. This observation was a small but significant deviation from the expectation under the null hypothesis of random mating when we looked at annual breeding attempts, suggesting inbreeding avoidance. However, the difference disappeared when we examined pair bonds rather than annual breeding attempts. Our results are consistent with the expectation that close inbreeding occurs rarely in large random-mating populations. They also demonstrate how mating systems, in this case long-term monogamous pair bonds with sex differences both in the age of first breeding and breeding dispersal at natal subcolonies, can reduce the likelihood of inbreeding. © 2012 The Author.

Mills J.A.,10527A Skyline Drive | Teplitsky C.,CNRS Science Conservation Center | Arroyo B.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC UCLM JCCM | Charmantier A.,CNRS Center of Evolutionary and Functional Ecology | And 61 more authors.
Trends in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2015

The recent trend for journals to require open access to primary data included in publications has been embraced by many biologists, but has caused apprehension amongst researchers engaged in long-term ecological and evolutionary studies. A worldwide survey of 73 principal investigators (Pls) with long-term studies revealed positive attitudes towards sharing data with the agreement or involvement of the PI, and 93% of PIs have historically shared data. Only 8% were in favor of uncontrolled, open access to primary data while 63% expressed serious concern. We present here their viewpoint on an issue that can have non-trivial scientific consequences. We discuss potential costs of public data archiving and provide possible solutions to meet the needs of journals and researchers. Public data archiving is the archiving of primary data used in publications so that they can be preserved and made accessible to all online. Public data archiving is increasingly required by journals. However, the costs of public data archiving might be underestimated, in particular with respect to long-term studies. Long-term studies have been responsible for the answers to many important questions in evolution and ecology which could only be answered through following the life-histories of individuals for decades. Several papers have been published in favor of public data archiving, but a more balanced viewpoint is necessary to allow a discussion to emerge on a code of ethics and ways to preserve and protect the data, encourage the initiation and continuation of long-term studies, and meet the requirements of the whole scientific community. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Kelly D.,University of Canterbury | Geldenhuis A.,University of Canterbury | James A.,University of Canterbury | Penelope Holland E.,Landcare Research | And 9 more authors.
Ecology Letters | Year: 2013

Mast-seeding plants often produce high seed crops the year after a warm spring or summer, but the warm-temperature model has inconsistent predictive ability. Here, we show for 26 long-term data sets from five plant families that the temperature difference between the two previous summers (ΔT) better predicts seed crops. This discovery explains how masting species tailor their flowering patterns to sites across altitudinal temperature gradients; predicts that masting will be unaffected by increasing mean temperatures under climate change; improves prediction of impacts on seed consumers; demonstrates that strongly masting species are hypersensitive to climate; explains the rarity of consecutive high-seed years without invoking resource constraints; and generates hypotheses about physiological mechanisms in plants and insect seed predators. For plants, ΔT has many attributes of an ideal cue. This temperature-difference model clarifies our understanding of mast seeding under environmental change, and could also be applied to other cues, such as rainfall. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

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