Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1098/rspb.2008.0125
Title (Primary) Breeding synchrony in colonial birds: from local stress to global harmony
Author Jovani, R.; Grimm, V.
Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences
Year 2008
Department OESA
Volume 275
Issue 1642
Page From 1557
Page To 1563
Language englisch
Keywords colonies; emergence; individual-based model; reproduction; social behaviour; stress
Abstract Why and how birds in colonies often breed in striking synchrony is an unsolved question. In colonies, conspecific birds often destroy eggs and kill chicks, either intentionally or not. We propose that social tranquillity at the time of laying can be achieved if a bird's stress level is partly determined by the agitation of its neighbours. Moreover, we propose that this local process, together with environmental cues, can synchronize breeding between neighbours and through a whole colony. We tested our hypotheses using a generic individual-based model where the breeding predisposition of females was updated daily depending on an increase in the photoperiod (positively) and the stress level of neighbours: negatively if they were agitated, and positively otherwise. A female laid her eggs when her stress level fell to a critical value. Even giving only a low relevance to the neighbour's stress level was enough to synchronize the laying date of neighbours and also of a huge colony. Moreover, females bred in a safer environment, which is known from field studies to increase fitness. Our study highlights the power of local adaptive (individual) behaviour to create global (colony) patterns. We argue that collective patterns such as breeding synchrony in colonial birds could have simple adaptive individual-level explanations.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Jovani, R., Grimm, V. (2008):
Breeding synchrony in colonial birds: from local stress to global harmony
Proc. R. Soc. B-Biol. Sci. 275 (1642), 1557 - 1563