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Journal Article

The Influence of Body Weight on the Covariation between Reproductive Traits in European Birds

Bernt-Erik Sæther
Oikos
Vol. 48, No. 1 (Jan., 1987), pp. 79-88
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3565691
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3565691
Page Count: 10
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The Influence of Body Weight on the Covariation between Reproductive Traits in European Birds
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Abstract

The relationship between different reproductive traits (clutch size, egg weight, clutch mass, incubation period, time to fledging and age at maturity) and body weight was studied in European birds. Body weights explained a significant proportion of the variance in all the reproductive traits studied. Clutch size and age at maturity were the reproductive traits that showed the most variation independent of body weight. The reproductive traits showed a strong pattern of covariation which divided the genera along a "slow-fast continuum". On the one hand were found the genera with an early age of maturition and high reproductive output during a short period of time. On the other were found the genera that mature late and take a long time to raise a few offspring. This pattern of covariation remained after the effects of body weight were accounted for in a partial correlation analysis. When the pattern of covariation among the residuals for the different orders of the regression of the reproductive traits on body weight was analysed, the same pattern of covariation was also found. Similarly, when the averages of the reproductive traits were calculated for the different orders, it was also possible to divide the orders along this "slow-fast continuum".

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