Integrating fitness components reveals that survival costs outweigh other benefits and costs of group living in two closely related species

Brouwer, Lyanne, Cockburn, Andrew, and van de Pol, Martijn (2020) Integrating fitness components reveals that survival costs outweigh other benefits and costs of group living in two closely related species. American Naturalist, 195 (2). pp. 201-215.

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Abstract

Group living can be beneficial when individuals reproduce or survive better in the presence of others, but, simultaneously, there might be costs due to competition for resources. Positive and negative effects on various fitness components might thus counteract each other, so integration is essential to determine their overall effect. Here, we investigated how an integrated fitness measure (reproductive values [RVs]) based on six fitness components varied with group size among group members in cooperatively breeding red-winged and superb fairy wrens (Malurus elegans and Malurus cyaneus, respectively). Despite life-history differences between the species, patterns of RVs were similar, suggesting that the same behavioral mechanisms are important. Group living reduced RVs for dominant males, but for other group members, this was true only in large groups. Decomposition analyses showed that our integrated fitness proxy was most strongly affected by group size effects on survival and was amplified through carryover effects between years. Our study shows that integrative consideration of fitness components and subsequent decomposition analysis provide much needed insights into the key behavioral mechanisms shaping the costs and benefits of group living. Such attribution is crucial if we are to synthesize the relative importance of the myriad group size costs and benefits currently reported in the literature.

Item ID: 69623
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1537-5323
Keywords: Cooperative breeding, Decomposition analysis, Malurus, Nonadditive effects, Reproductive value, Survival
Copyright Information: © American Society of Naturalists
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2021 01:07
FoR Codes: 49 MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES > 4901 Applied mathematics > 490102 Biological mathematics @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310301 Behavioural ecology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 100%
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