Browsing by Subject "lifetime reproductive success"

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  • O'Sullivan, Ronan James; Aykanat, Tutku; Johnston, Susan E.; Rogan, Ger; Poole, Russell; Prodohl, Paulo A.; de Eyto, Elvira; Primmer, Craig R.; McGinnity, Philip; Reed, Thomas Eric (2020)
    The release of captive-bred animals into the wild is commonly practised to restore or supplement wild populations but comes with a suite of ecological and genetic consequences. Vast numbers of hatchery-reared fish are released annually, ostensibly to restore/enhance wild populations or provide greater angling returns. While previous studies have shown that captive-bred fish perform poorly in the wild relative to wild-bred conspecifics, few have measured individual lifetime reproductive success (LRS) and how this affects population productivity. Here, we analyse data on Atlantic salmon from an intensely studied catchment into which varying numbers of captive-bred fish have escaped/been released and potentially bred over several decades. Using a molecular pedigree, we demonstrate that, on average, the LRS of captive-bred individuals was only 36% that of wild-bred individuals. A significant LRS difference remained after excluding individuals that left no surviving offspring, some of which might have simply failed to spawn, consistent with transgenerational effects on offspring survival. The annual productivity of the mixed population (wild-bred plus captive-bred) was lower in years where captive-bred fish comprised a greater fraction of potential spawners. These results bolster previous empirical and theoretical findings that intentional stocking, or non-intentional escapees, threaten, rather than enhance, recipient natural populations.
  • Vitikainen, Emma I. K.; Thompson, Faye J.; Marshall, Harry H.; Cant, Michael A. (2019)
    Kin selection theory defines the conditions for which altruism or 'helping' can be favoured by natural selection. Tests of this theory in cooperatively breeding animals have focused on the short-term benefits to the recipients of help, such as improved growth or survival to adulthood. However, research on early-life effects suggests that there may be more durable, lifelong fitness impacts to the recipients of help, which in theory should strengthen selection for helping. Here, we show in cooperatively breeding banded mongooses (Mungos mungo) that care received in the first 3 months of life has lifelong fitness benefits for both male and female recipients. In this species, adult helpers called 'escorts' form exclusive one-to-one caring relationships with specific pups (not their own offspring), allowing us to isolate the effects of being escorted on later reproduction and survival. Pups that were more closely escorted were heavier at sexual maturity, which was associated with higher lifetime reproductive success for both sexes. Moreover, for female offspring, lifetime reproductive success increased with the level of escorting received per se, over and above any effect on body mass. Our results suggest that early-life social care has durable benefits to offspring of both sexes in this species. Given the well-established developmental effects of early-life care in laboratory animals and humans, we suggest that similar effects are likely to be widespread in social animals more generally. We discuss some of the implications of durable fitness benefits for the evolution of intergenerational helping in cooperative animal societies, including humans. This article is part of the theme issue 'Developing differences: early-life effects and evolutionary medicine'.