Evol Ecol Res 12: 779-792 (2010)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Unifying quantitative life-history theory and field endocrinology to assess prudent parenthood in a long-lived seabird

William H. Satterthwaite1,2, Alexander S. Kitaysky3, Scott A. Hatch4, John F. Piatt4 and Marc Mangel2

1MRAG Americas, Capitola, California,  2Center for Stock Assessment Research, Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California,  3Institute of Arctic Biology, Department of Biology and Wildlife, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska and  4US Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, Alaska, USA

Correspondence: W.H. Satterthwaite, Center for Stock Assessment Research, Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA.
e-mail: satterth@darwin.ucsc.edu


Question: Can field measurements of stress hormones help us to assess the prudent parent hypothesis in a long-lived seabird?

Organism: Black-legged kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla.

Location: Duck and Gull Islands, Cook Inlet, Alaska, USA.

Methods: We examined the statistical relationship between the stress hormone corticosterone and mortality in black-legged kittiwakes. We built a demographic model of the kittiwake life cycle to determine whether the mortality rates associated with persisting in a breeding attempt despite high corticosterone caused the birds to sacrifice more lifetime reproductive output than they gain from one year’s breeding.

Results: The probability of apparent mortality increased with corticosterone, suggesting some birds incurred increased mortality risk for the sake of breeding. For Duck Island (low reproductive success), it appears birds sacrificed more lifetime reproductive success than a prudent parent would. On Gull Island, it appears most but possibly not all birds were behaving in ways consistent with theory, although definitive statements require larger samples of highly stressed birds.

Keywords: black-legged kittiwake, CORT-fitness hypothesis, corticosterone, endocrinology, life history, prudent parent.

IF you are connected using the IP of a subscribing institution (library, laboratory, etc.)
or through its VPN.


        © 2010 William H. Satterthwaite. All EER articles are copyrighted by their authors. All authors endorse, permit and license Evolutionary Ecology Ltd. to grant its subscribing institutions/libraries the copying privileges specified below without additional consideration or payment to them or to Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. These endorsements, in writing, are on file in the office of Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. Consult authors for permission to use any portion of their work in derivative works, compilations or to distribute their work in any commercial manner.

       Subscribing institutions/libraries may grant individuals the privilege of making a single copy of an EER article for non-commercial educational or non-commercial research purposes. Subscribing institutions/libraries may also use articles for non-commercial educational purposes by making any number of copies for course packs or course reserve collections. Subscribing institutions/libraries may also loan single copies of articles to non-commercial libraries for educational purposes.

       All copies of abstracts and articles must preserve their copyright notice without modification.