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Glucocorticoid (cort) hormones are increasingly applied in studies of free-ranging animals, with elevated baseline cort levels generally assumed to indicate individuals or populations in worse condition and with lower fitness (the Cort-Fitness Hypothesis). The relationship between cort and fitness is rarely validated and studies investigating the(More)
abstract: Comparative analyses of avian population fluctuations have shown large interspecific differences in population variability that have been difficult to relate to variation in general ecological characteristics. Here we show that interspecific variation in demographic stochasticity, caused by random variation among individuals in their fitness(More)
Why do females of many species mate with more than one male? One of the main hypotheses suggests that female promiscuity is an insurance mechanism against the potential detrimental effects of inbreeding. Accordingly, females should preferably mate with less related males in multiple or extrapair mating. Here we analyse paternity, relatedness among mating(More)
In seasonal environments, vertebrates are generally thought to time their reproduction so offspring are raised during the peak of food abundance. The mismatch hypothesis predicts that reproductive success is maximized when animals synchronize their reproduction with the food supply. Understanding the mechanisms influencing the timing of reproduction has(More)
Variation in baseline glucocorticoid (cort) levels can be attributed, at least in part, to differences in energetic demands confronting individuals. Elevated baseline cort levels are routinely interpreted as indicating individuals in poor condition, with low relative fitness. However, when greater reproductive effort increases energetic demands, individuals(More)
The cooperatively breeding bell miner, Manorina melanophrys, differs from most other cooperative breeding species in the complexity of its social system, where discrete social organization occurs on at least three levels. Microsatellite markers were used to investigate the degree of genetic structure underlying the social organization of M. melanophrys by(More)
17 Separate artificial neural network (ANN) models were developed from data in 18 two geographical regions and years apart for a marsh-nesting bird, the red-winged 19 blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus. Each model was independently tested on the spatially and 20 temporally distinct data from the other region to determine how generalizable it was. The 21 first(More)
When males become more ornamented and reproduce more successfully as they grow older, phenotypic correlations between ornament exaggeration and reproductive success can be confounded with age effects in cross-sectional studies, and thus say relatively little about sexual selection on these traits. This is exemplified here in a correlative study of male(More)
Spermatozoa vary greatly in size and shape among species across the animal kingdom. Postcopulatory sexual selection is thought to be the major evolutionary force driving this diversity. In contrast, less is known about how sperm size varies among populations of the same species. Here, we investigate geographic variation in sperm size in barn swallows(More)
Sperm swimming speed is an important determinant of male fertility and sperm competitiveness. Despite its fundamental biological importance, the underlying evolutionary processes affecting this male reproductive trait are poorly understood. Using a comparative approach in a phylogenetic framework, we tested the predictions that sperm swim faster with (1)(More)