miércoles, 11 de enero de 2017

New publication on Egyptian vulture demographic parameters!

Sanz-Aguilar, A., Cortés-Avizanda, A., Serrano, D., Blanco, G., Ceballos, O., Grande, J.M., Tella, J.L., Donázar, J.A.: Sex- and age-dependent patterns of survival and breeding success in a long-lived endangered avian scavenger. Scientific Report, 7 2017 Article number 40204, doi: 10.1038/srep40204

 Abstract. In long-lived species, the age-, stage- and/or sex-dependent patterns of survival and reproduction determine the evolution of life history strategies, the shape of the reproductive value, and ultimately population dynamics. We evaluate the combined effects of age and sex in recruitment, breeder survival and breeding success of the globally endangered Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), using 31-years of exhaustive data on marked individuals in Spain. 

Photo: J. Bas

Mean age of first reproduction was 7-yrs for both sexes, but females showed an earlier median and a larger variance than males. We found an age-related improvement in breeding success at the population level responding to the selective appearance and disappearance of phenotypes of different quality but unrelated to within-individual aging effects. Old males (≥8 yrs) showed a higher survival than both young males (≤7 yrs) and females, these later in turn not showing aging effects. Evolutionary trade-offs between age of recruitment and fitness (probably related to costs of territory acquisition and defense) as well as human-related mortality may explain these findings. Sex- and age-related differences in foraging strategies and susceptibility to toxics could be behind the relatively low survival of females and young males, adding a new concern for the conservation of this endangered species.

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