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Experimental evidence for density-dependent survival in mallard Anas platyrhynchos ducklings
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)
Department of Animal Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, Joensuu Game and Fisheries Research.
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2006 (English)In: Oecologia, ISSN 0029-8549, E-ISSN 1432-1939, Vol. 149, no 2, 203-213 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It is unresolved to what extent waterfowl populations are regulated by density-dependent processes. By doing a 2-year crossover perturbation experiment on ten oligotrophic boreal lakes we addressed the hypothesis that breeding output is density dependent. Wing-clipped mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) hens were introduced with their own brood and then monitored for 24 days. Predicted responses were that per capita duckling and hen survival would be lower in high-density than in low-density treatments. Survival was evaluated by model fitting in program MARK. Density, year, and lake were used as main effects, while day after introduction, a weather harshness index, and presence of hens were covariates. Daily survival in ducklings was lower in the high-density treatment, but this effect was year dependent. The highest-ranking model for duckling survival also included a positive effect of duckling age and presence of hens, and a negative effect of harsh weather. Density did not affect female survival although there was a prominent year effect. The highest-ranking model for female survival also included negative effects of day after introduction and harsh weather. This is the first study to report density-dependent survival in experimentally introduced ducklings in a natural setting. Implications for population dynamics and management of harvested populations are far-reaching if such regulation occurs in some years, but not in others.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 149, no 2, 203-213 p.
Keyword [en]
Dabbling ducks, Duckling, Model, Population regulation, Waterfowl
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-708DOI: 10.1007/s00442-006-0446-8ISI: 000239735300003PubMedID: 16736185OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hkr-708DiVA: diva2:210559
Available from: 2009-04-02 Created: 2009-04-02 Last updated: 2014-08-01Bibliographically 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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