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Life-History Consequences of Growth Rate Depression: An Experimental Study on Carrion Crows (Corvus corone corone L.)
H. Richner, P. Schneiter and H. Stirnimann
Vol. 3, No. 5 (1989), pp. 617-624
Published by: British Ecological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2389577
Page Count: 8
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It has often been proposed that parents could vary the growth rates of nestling birds as an adaptive strategy to maximize reproductive output. Although it has been recognized that a depression of growth rate may result in prolonged nestling times and hence increase the probability of predation, it is often assumed that there is no phenotype-related cost of slow growth. In the present study, we assess the effect of reduced growth rates on body size and on social status of carrion crows (Corvus corone corone L.). Daily weight gain for a group of nestlings was experimentally limited and a control group of siblings and non-siblings was raised under conditions of unlimited food. The growth of body mass and of linear body dimension, fledgling mass and fledgling size were compared for the two groups. Growth forms of the two groups are compared with three proposed growth models. Finally, the relation of social status of these individuals as juveniles to their former feeding group was examined. Nestlings growing with limited food and thus with depressed growth rates reached a significantly lower final weight and reached it later than did birds fed ad libitum. Growth in linear body dimension followed a different pattern; nestlings with depressed growth rates reached a significantly lower tarsus length, but reached it nearly as fast as chicks with unlimited food. As juveniles, the birds of the former experimental group suffered lower social status than the control birds. Both sibling and non-sibling interactions resulted in significantly more wins for control birds. Our results show that the reduction of daily weight gain can affect the phenotype and fitness correlated parameters.
Functional Ecology © 1989 British Ecological Society