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Contrasting effects of climate on juvenile body size in a Southern Hemisphere passerine bird

Kruuk, Loeske; Osmond, Helen; Cockburn, Andrew

Description

Despite extensive research on the topic, it has been difficult to reach general conclusions as to the effects of climate change on morphology in wild animals: in particular, the effects of warming temperatures have been associated with increases, decreases or stasis in body size in different populations. Here, we use a fine-scale analysis of associations between weather and offspring body size in a long-term study of a wild passerine bird, the cooperatively breeding superb fairy-wren, in...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorKruuk, Loeske
dc.contributor.authorOsmond, Helen
dc.contributor.authorCockburn, Andrew
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-10T23:24:57Z
dc.identifier.issn1354-1013
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/67420
dc.description.abstractDespite extensive research on the topic, it has been difficult to reach general conclusions as to the effects of climate change on morphology in wild animals: in particular, the effects of warming temperatures have been associated with increases, decreases or stasis in body size in different populations. Here, we use a fine-scale analysis of associations between weather and offspring body size in a long-term study of a wild passerine bird, the cooperatively breeding superb fairy-wren, in south-eastern Australia to show that such variation in the direction of associations occurs even within a population. Over the past 26 years, our study population has experienced increased temperatures, increased frequency of heatwaves and reduced rainfall - but the mean body mass of chicks has not changed. Despite the apparent stasis, mass was associated with weather across the previous year, but in multiple counteracting ways. Firstly, (i) chick mass was negatively associated with extremely recent heatwaves, but there also positive associations with (ii) higher maximum temperatures and (iii) higher rainfall, both occurring in a period prior to and during the nesting period, and finally (iv) a longer-term negative association with higher maximum temperatures following the previous breeding season. Our results illustrate how a morphological trait may be affected by both short- and long-term effects of the same weather variable at multiple times of the year and that these effects may act in different directions. We also show that climate within the relevant time windows may not be changing in the same way, such that overall long-term temporal trends in body size may be minimal. Such complexity means that analytical approaches that search for a single 'best' window for one particular weather variable may miss other relevant information, and is also likely to make analyses of phenotypic plasticity and prediction of longer-term population dynamics difficult.
dc.publisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd
dc.sourceGlobal Change Biology
dc.titleContrasting effects of climate on juvenile body size in a Southern Hemisphere passerine bird
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolumePublished online: 8 June 2015
dc.date.issued2015
local.identifier.absfor060201 - Behavioural Ecology
local.identifier.ariespublicationu9511635xPUB1452
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationKruuk, Loeske, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationOsmond, Helen, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationCockburn, Andrew, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage1
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage13
local.identifier.doi10.1111/gcb.12926
local.identifier.absseo970106 - Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
dc.date.updated2015-12-10T10:51:32Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-84930607728
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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