Age-Specific Reproductive Success: Evidence for the Selection Hypothesis
Age‐specific reproductive success has been demonstrated in many species. Three hypotheses have been raised to explain this general phenomenon: the experience hypothesis based on age‐specific reproductive experience, the effort hypothesis based on age‐specific reproductive effort, and the selection hypothesis based on progressive disappearance of phenotypes due to variation in individual productivity and survival. We used data from a long‐term study of Leach's storm‐petrels (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) to present a single test of mutually exclusive predictions about the relationship between early breeding success and longevity. There should be no correlation between early breeding success and longevity under the experience hypothesis, a negative correlation under the effort hypothesis, and a positive correlation under the selection hypothesis. We found a significant (P < 0.0001) positive relationship between success in the first two breeding attempts and longevity in this population of long‐lived seabirds, strongly suggesting that low‐productivity parents were also less likely to survive early breeding. These data provide some of the strongest support to date for the selection hypothesis.
Mauck, Robert; Huntington, C E.; and Grubb, T C. Jr, "Age-Specific Reproductive Success: Evidence for the Selection Hypothesis" (2007). Evolution 58(4): 880-885. Faculty Publications. Paper 196.