Section: Ecology
Topic: Ecology, Population biology, Environmental sciences

Identifying drivers of spatio-temporal variation in survival in four blue tit populations

10.24072/pcjournal.17 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 1 (2021), article no. e11.

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In a context of rapid climate change, the influence of large-scale and local climate on population demography is increasingly scrutinized, yet studies are usually focused on one population. Demographic parameters, including survival, can vary significantly across populations of a given species, depending on global or local climatic fluctuations but also on many other population-specific parameters such as breeding density, habitat naturalness, predation or parasitism. Such ecological differences between populations could lead to different paces-of-life (POL), whereby populations where individuals display higher reproductive investment and bolder behaviours would have lower survival probabilities. We use here long-term (19 to 38 years) monitoring datasets from four Mediterranean populations of blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) to investigate the effects of sex, age class, large-scale and local climate temporal variation and population breeding density, on adult survival, using Capture-Mark-Recapture modelling. Environment heterogeneity in these four populations (two in evergreen and two in deciduous forests) has been linked to strong multi-trait phenotypic variation, suggesting blue tits in deciduous forests display faster POL compared to their conspecifics in evergreen habitats. The present results show heterogeneity in average survival probabilities across the four populations, with, as predicted, lower survival in the fast blue tits occupying deciduous habitats. Interestingly, the year-to-year variation in survival probabilities was synchronous among populations. This suggests that regional environmental conditions could drive survival fluctuations across populations. However, breeding densities were not correlated across populations, and we found no evidence that adult survival is correlated with either large-scale or local, climate temporal variation in these four blue tit populations. Finally, two of the focal populations displayed a linear temporal decrease in adult survival over the study period, calling for further investigation to explain this decline. Overall, this multi-site study shows that blue tit parental survival from one spring to the next can vary substantially across years, in a synchronous way across populations, yet the climate indices we used are not correlated with the temporal variation. This calls for further investigations in other potential drivers such as resource (in particular insect) abundance, predation or parasitism.

Published online:
DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.17
Type: Research article
Bastianelli, Olivier 1, 2; Robert, Alexandre 2; Doutrelant, Claire 1; de Franceschi, Christophe 1; Giovannini, Pablo 1; Charmantier, Anne 1

1 CEFE, Univ Montpellier, CNRS, EPHE, IRD, Montpellier, France
2 Centre d'Ecologie et des Sciences de la Conservation (CESCO), Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Sorbonne Université, CP 135, 57 rue Cuvier 75005 Paris, France
License: CC-BY 4.0
Copyrights: The authors retain unrestricted copyrights and publishing rights
     author = {Bastianelli, Olivier and Robert, Alexandre and Doutrelant, Claire and de Franceschi, Christophe and Giovannini, Pablo and Charmantier, Anne},
     title = {Identifying drivers of spatio-temporal variation in survival in four blue tit populations},
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%A Robert, Alexandre
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%A Giovannini, Pablo
%A Charmantier, Anne
%T Identifying drivers of spatio-temporal variation in survival in four blue tit populations
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Bastianelli, Olivier; Robert, Alexandre; Doutrelant, Claire; de Franceschi, Christophe; Giovannini, Pablo; Charmantier, Anne. Identifying drivers of spatio-temporal variation in survival in four blue tit populations. Peer Community Journal, Volume 1 (2021), article  no. e11. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.17.

PCI peer reviews and recommendation, and links to data, scripts, code and supplementary information: 10.24072/pci.ecology.100085

Conflict of interest of the recommender and peer reviewers:
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

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