Is there a trade-off between egg weight and clutch size in wild Lesser Snow Geese (Anser c. caerulescens)?
Article first published online: 19 DEC 2002
Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume 2, Issue 6, pages 457–472, November 1989
How to Cite
Lessells, C. M., Cooke, F. and Rockwell, R. F. (1989), Is there a trade-off between egg weight and clutch size in wild Lesser Snow Geese (Anser c. caerulescens)?. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 2: 457–472. doi: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.1989.2060457.x
- Issue published online: 19 DEC 2002
- Article first published online: 19 DEC 2002
- Received 19 May 1988; accepted 17 May 1989.
- Cited By
- Life history evolution;
- egg weight;
- clutch size;
- quantitative genetics;
- genetic correlation
Previous studies of arctic nesting geese suggest that laying is limited by the size of a female's body reserves and that larger eggs contain more nutrients. These observations imply a life-history trade-off between egg size and clutch size which may give rise to a negative genetic correlation between the two characters. We estimated the genetic correlation between egg weight and clutch size using measurements from mothers and their daughters in a wild population of Lesser Snow Geese Anser caerulescens caerulescens. Between 65 and 80 % of the variance in egg weight is attributable to differences between individuals, and heritability of egg weight is about 60 %. In contrast, 10–20 % of the variance in clutch size is attributable to differences between individuals, and heritability of clutch size is about 15 %. The genetic correlation coefficient between egg weight and clutch size ranges from 0.09 to 0.32 and does not differ significantly from zero. We discuss the possible reasons for the lack of the expected negative genetic correlation.