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Sex biased natal dispersal is not a fixed trait in a stable population of Seychelles warblers

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We observed a change in the sex-specific rate of delayed natal dispersal in a stable population of Seychelles warblers over a period of 20 years. At first, females were more likely to delay dispersal in their first year of life than were males, whereas later there was no sex bias in the rate of delayed natal dispersal. Similarly, the female-bias in helping-at-the-nest and the male-bias in floating have also weakened over time. These changes may have resulted from the decrease in variation in territory quality observed in the population over the study period. Our findings strengthen the view that natal dispersal is a highly plastic response to local ecological and social circumstances, and clearly show that rates of sex-biased dispersal cannot be considered a species or population constant. Our study also highlights the importance of collecting long-term datasets to understand complex behaviour such as natal dispersal.

Affiliations: 1: Animal Ecology Group, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies, University of Groningen, P.O. Box 14, 9750 AA Haren, The Netherlands, Department of Biology, 2125 Derring Hall, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA;, Email: eikenaar@vt.edu; 2: Animal Ecology Group, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies, University of Groningen, P.O. Box 14, 9750 AA Haren, The Netherlands, Evolution, Ecology and Genetics, Research School of Biology, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia; 3: Animal Ecology Group, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies, University of Groningen, P.O. Box 14, 9750 AA Haren, The Netherlands; 4: Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, Department of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK, Nature Seychelles, P.O. Box 1310, Mahe, Republic of Seychelles

10.1163/000579510X510511
/content/journals/10.1163/000579510x510511
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/content/journals/10.1163/000579510x510511
2010-09-01
2016-12-03

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