GROWTH RATE VARIATION AMONG PASSERINE SPECIES IN TROPICAL AND TEMPERATE SITES: AN ANTAGONISTIC INTERACTION BETWEEN PARENTAL FOOD PROVISIONING AND NEST PREDATION RISK

Authors


Abstract

Causes of interspecific variation in growth rates within and among geographic regions remain poorly understood. Passerine birds represent an intriguing case because differing theories yield the possibility of an antagonistic interaction between nest predation risk and food delivery rates on evolution of growth rates. We test this possibility among 64 Passerine species studied on three continents, including tropical and north and south temperate latitudes. Growth rates increased strongly with nestling predation rates within, but not between, sites. The importance of nest predation was further emphasized by revealing hidden allometric scaling effects. Nestling predation risk also was associated with reduced total feeding rates and per-nestling feeding rates within each site. Consequently, faster growth rates were associated with decreased per-nestling food delivery rates across species, both within and among regions. These relationships suggest that Passerines can evolve growth strategies in response to predation risk whereby food resources are not the primary limit on growth rate differences among species. In contrast, reaction norms of growth rate relative to brood size suggest that food may limit growth rates within species in temperate, but not tropical, regions. Results here provide new insight into evolution of growth strategies relative to predation risk and food within and among species.

Ancillary