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Mating behaviour influences extinction risk: insights from demographic modelling and comparative analysis of avian extinction risk

Carmen Bessa-Gomes, Marine Danek-Gontard, Phillip Cassey, Anders P. Møller, Stéphane Legendre and Jean Clobert
Annales Zoologici Fennici
Vol. 40, No. 2, EXTINCTION THRESHOLDS (2003), pp. 231-245
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23736528
Page Count: 15
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Mating behaviour influences extinction risk: insights from demographic modelling and comparative analysis of avian extinction risk
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Abstract

Mating behaviour has long been proposed as a potential cause of inverse density dependence that can affect the viability of small populations through the reduction of female mating rates. However, under the general designation of mating behaviour we may find a diversity of traits that are likely to influence the mating rate. In the present study, we have analysed the influence of the social mating system, mate choice and mating opportunities on population dynamics given a demographic model that explicitly takes mating behaviour into account. The effect of mate choice on extinction risk depends on aspects such as the social mating system, the probability of accepting unattractive males, mating opportunities and variation in reproductive success. Thus, mate choice per se only leads to a significant increase in extinction risk if the social mating system is monogamous. If mating opportunities are limited, however (e.g. reduced encounter rate), the extinction probability associated with mate choice increases considerably. The risk of extinction associated with mate choice further increases when differences in reproductive success due to male attractiveness are taken into account. A comparative analysis of the establishment success of introduced bird species supports our predictions concerning mate choice. Sexually dichromatic species have a significantly lower establishment success than monochromatic species. However, the establishment success of non-native species was not significantly correlated with the social mating system, so that monogamous species are not less likely to be successful than polygamous species.

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