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Title: Environmental Components of Reproductive Success in the Blue tit, Parus caeruleus.
Author: Lord, Alexa
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2008
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Abstract:
Previous work has shown that reproductive success in the blue tit (Parus caeruleus) is largely environmentally determined. In this thesis I explore the roles of human disturbance. habitat quality and parental quality as environmental components of reproductiv~ success. measured in terms of lay date. clutch size, number of offspring fledged and body condition of offspring. I start by quantifying the effects of human disturbance on vocal defence behaviour and reproductive success. -My results show. that blue tits increase their investment in vocal oefence as their chicks age. and quickly become habituated to human disturbance. I found no evidence that reproductive success was significantly related to human disturbance or investment in vocal defence. I then investigate the relative effects of habitat quality and parental quality at the territory level on reproductive success. The prevalence of oaks. the preferred host of the primary food source for breeding blue tits. within estimated territories is measured and relationships with reproductive success explored.. The number of oaks within a blue tit territory is positively associated with reproductive success. leading to advancement of lay date. increased clutch size and greater fledging success. Body condition of offspring. however. is not related to habitat quality. but instead is positively associated with the body condition of both the male and female parents. The mechanism.behind .these relationships are then further examined using data on the phenology of individual oaks in a breeding territory. I found that -oak phenology is a significant determinant of chick condition and survival and that. where blue tits mis-time their reproduction relative the phenology of the oaks. fecundity is reduced. Lastly. I discuss the implications-of my findings in the context of environmental change. and identify..possible directions for future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Imperial College London, Department of Biology, 2008 Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.486417  DOI: Not available
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