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Density-dependent nest predation: an experiment with simulated Mallard nests in contrasting landscapes
Kristianstad University, Department of Mathematics and Science. (Akvatisk biologi och kemi)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2345-3953
Kristianstad University, Department of Mathematics and Science. (Akvatisk biologi och kemi)
2008 (English)In: Ibis, ISSN 0019-1019, E-ISSN 1474-919X, Vol. 150, no 2, 259-269 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Breeding success is a key element of animal population dynamics. In many taxa including birds, nest success, or the proportion of laid clutches that actually hatch, is mainly determined by predation. Previous research gives an inconsistent picture of the prevalence of density-dependent nest predation and one reason for this is the general lack of well-designed replicated experiments. Using simulated Mallard Anas platyrhynchos nests and a crossover design for 20 lakes in the nemoral and boreal biotic zones, we tested the predictions that nest survival is negatively density-dependent and that nest predation is higher in agricultural than in forested landscapes. Study day and daily abundance of waterfowl, other waterbirds, as well as avian predators were included as covariates in the analysis. Model fitting in program mark revealed a general negative effect of nest density on nest survival. In addition, nest survival rate was higher at forest lakes than at lakes in agricultural landscapes, irrespective of nest density. The only covariate producing model improvement was study day; older nests had higher survival rates than recently initiated ones. This is the first replicated lake-level experimental study showing that nest predation is density-dependent in waterfowl. The pattern was consistent between landscape types, implying that density-dependent nest predation may affect habitat choice and population dynamics over large parts of the Mallard's range.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 150, no 2, 259-269 p.
Keyword [en]
Fnctional response, nest age, nest survival rate, numerical response
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-36DOI: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2007.00772.xISI: 000254414800005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hkr-36DiVA: diva2:132613
Available from: 2008-12-22 Created: 2008-12-22 Last updated: 2014-06-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Survival patterns and density-dependent processes in breeding mallards Anas platyrhynchos
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Survival patterns and density-dependent processes in breeding mallards Anas platyrhynchos
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Measuring and assessing vital rates such as births and deaths are prerequisites for understanding population dynamics. Vital rates may be affected by the density of individuals, even though the importance of density dependence on population dynamics has been debated for a long time. The mallard Anas platyrhynchos is one of the foremost game species in the Holarctic, with millions of birds in hunters’ bags annually. Still, basic knowledge about regulation of mallards’ vital rates is poor, and experimental studies on this topic are rare.

In this thesis I have studied survival patterns and density dependence in mallards breeding in Sweden and Finland. Long-term ringing data from both countries were analysed for mortality patterns and causation, as well as for e.g. survival rate estimation. Most of the studies were, though, experiments run over two years involving manipulations of the density of nests, broods and/or adults, in southern and northern Sweden, comprising different biotic regions. Common response variables were survival of nests, ducklings and hens, mainly analysed with program MARK.

About 90% of the recovered mallards in Finland and Sweden were hunting kills. However, survival rates were high, ranging from 0.66 to 0.81 for most groups (sex*age). The generality of density dependence was evident since such processes were detected in all studies. Consequently, depredation rate was higher in high nest density compared to low nest density. Survival of ducklings was density-dependent in both boreal and nemoral biotic regions, with food limitation being evident in the former region but not in the latter. In spite of their generality, density-dependent patterns varied within as well between years, and for nest predation rates also between landscape types.

The findings about density dependence in breeding mallards in this thesis are novel since they are based on experiments. They are potentially of general interest for management because they embrace a variety of lakes in two geographically distant areas, each being representative for large temperate areas in the northern hemisphere. Detection of density dependence at the local scale may be important at larger scales, too, following the principle of ‘ideal preemptive distribution’ in a source-sink dynamic system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Environmental Studies, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 2007. 39 p.
Series
Acta Universitatis agriculturae Sueciae, ISSN 1652-6880 ; 2007:12
Keyword
broods, dabbling ducks, density dependence, ducklings, experiments, models, mortality, nest predation, regulation, survival
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-6782 (URN)978-91-576-7311-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2007-03-23, Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet, Alnarp, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-08-24 Created: 2010-06-28 Last updated: 2014-06-05Bibliographically approved

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