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Energetic and fitness costs of mismatching resource supply and demand in seasonally breeding birds

TitleEnergetic and fitness costs of mismatching resource supply and demand in seasonally breeding birds
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsThomas, DW, Blondel, J, Perret, P, Lambrects, MM, Speakman, JR
JournalScience
Page range2598-2600
Abstract

By advancing spring leaf flush and ensuing food availability, climatic warmingresults in a mismatch between the timing of peak food supply and nestlingdemand, shifting the optimal time for reproduction in birds. Two populationsof blue tits (Parus caeruleus) that breed at different dates in similar, but spatiallydistinct, habitat types in Corsica and southern France provide a unique opportunityto quantify the energetic and Þtness consequences when breeding ismismatched with local productivity. As food supply and demand become progressivelymismatched, the increased cost of rearing young pushes the metaboliceffort of adults beyond their apparent sustainable limit, drasticallyreducing the persistence of adults in the breeding population. We provideevidence that the economics of parental foraging and limits to sustainablemetabolic effort are key selective forces underlying synchronized seasonalbreeding and long-term shifts in breeding date in response to climatic change.

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