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Journal Articles Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences Year : 2009

Contrasted patterns of age-specific reproduction in long-lived seabirds

Abstract

While the number of studies providing evidence of actuarial senescence is increasing, and covers a wide range of taxa, the process of reproductive senescence remains poorly understood. In fact, quite high reproductive output until the last years of life has been reported in several vertebrate species, so that whether or not reproductive senescence is widespread remains unknown. We compared age-specific changes of reproductive parameters between two closely related species of long-lived seabirds: the small-sized snow petrel Pagodroma nivea, and the medium-sized southern fulmar Fulmarus glacialoides. Both are sympatric in Antarctica. We used an exceptional dataset collected over more than 40 years to assess age-specific variations of both breeding probability and breeding success. We found contrasted age-specific reproductive patterns between the two species. Reproductive senescence clearly occurred from 21 years of age onwards in the southern fulmar, in both breeding probability and success, whereas we did not report any decline in the breeding success of the snow petrel, although a very late decrease in the proportion of breeders occurred at 34 years. Such a contrasted age-specific reproductive pattern was rather unexpected. Differences in life history including size or migratory behaviour are the most likely candidates to account for the difference we reported in reproductive senescence between these sympatric seabird species.

Dates and versions

hal-00360472 , version 1 (11-02-2009)

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Cite

M. Berman, Jean-Michel Gaillard, Henri Weimerskirch. Contrasted patterns of age-specific reproduction in long-lived seabirds. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2009, 276 (1655), pp.375-382. ⟨10.1098/rspb.2008.0925⟩. ⟨hal-00360472⟩
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