Interpopulation differences and temporal synchrony in rates of adult survival between two seabird colonies that differ in population size and distance to foraging grounds

Understanding the processes that drive interpopulation differences in demography and population dynamics is central to metapopulation ecology. In colonial species, populations are limited by local resource availability. However, individuals from larger colonies will travel greater distances to overcome density-dependent competition. Consequently, these individuals may also experience greater carry-over effects and interpopulation differences in demography. To test this prediction, we use mark-recapture data collected over four decades from two breeding colonies of a seabird, the Manx shearwater (Puffinus puffinus), that exhibit strong spatial overlap throughout the annual cycle but differ in population size and maximum foraging distances. We quantify interpopulation differences and synchrony in rates of survival and assess whether local mean wind speeds act to strengthen or disrupt synchrony. In addition, we examine whether the imputed interpopulation differences in survival can generate population-level consequences. The colony where individuals travel further during the breeding season had slightly lower and more variable rates of survival, indicative of individuals experiencing greater carry-over effects. Fluctuations in survival were highly synchronous between the colonies, but neither synchronous, nor asynchronous, variation could be strongly attributed to fluctuations in local mean wind speeds. Finally, we demonstrate that the imputed interpopulation differences in rates of survival could lead to considerable differences in population growth. We hypothesise that the observed interpopulation differences in rates of adult survival reflect carry-over effects associated with foraging distances during the breeding season. More broadly, our results highlight that breeding season processes can be important for understanding interpopulation differences in the demographic rates and population dynamics of long-lived species, such as seabirds.


Publication status:
Authors: Horswill, C., Warwick-Evans, V. ORCIDORCID record for V. Warwick-Evans, Esmonde, N.P.G., Reid, N., Kirk, H., Siddiqi‐Davies, K.R., Josey, S.A. ORCIDORCID record for S.A. Josey, Wood, M.J.

On this site: Victoria Warwick-Evans
3 October, 2023
Ecology and Evolution / 13
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