Spatial arrangement of kin affects recruitment success in young male red grouse

A D C MacColl, S B Piertney, R Moss, X Lambin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Models have shown that population cycles might be driven by time lags resulting from positive feedback between kin structure and population change, coupled with negative feedback between density and population change. One such model operates through kin favouritism facilitating the recruitment of young cock red grouse. We investigated whether recruitment by young cocks depended on the presence and spatial arrangement of elder relatives in the territorial population. We used molecular genetic estimates of relatedness, and checked for effects of covariates including natal territory size, hatching date, body size, parasite burdens and local density. Philopatric recruitment by cock red grouse led to the formation of clusters of contiguous territories owned by kin. The probability that an individual young cock would establish a territory increased with the number of kin in his father's cluster. This pattern might have been due to genetic quality determining both recruitment success and the size of the paternal cluster. If so, there should have been a positive correlation between a young cock's probability of recruitment and the number of his relatives in the population, irrespective of their spatial distribution. This did not occur and so the effect of cluster size is unlikely to have been confounded by genetic quality. The only morphological measure correlated with recruitment success was supraorbital comb size. The results are consistent with the prediction that kin tolerance affects recruitment but were at the level of the individual within years, rather than the population among years. Hence an experimental test of the kin favouritism hypothesis for population cycles, by manipulation of relatedness in populations among years, is now required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-270
Number of pages10
JournalOikos
Volume90
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Keywords

  • LAGOPUS-LAGOPUS-SCOTICUS
  • MALE ROCK PTARMIGAN
  • POPULATION-CYCLES
  • WINGED BLACKBIRDS
  • BREEDING SUCCESS
  • WILLOW PTARMIGAN
  • GENETIC-MARKERS
  • SIZE
  • TERRITORIAL
  • BEHAVIOR

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