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  1. Synopsis

    Reproduction and self-maintenance are energetically costly activities involved in classic life history trade-offs. However, few studies have measured the responses of wild organisms to simultaneous changes in reproductive and self-maintenance costs, which may have interactive effects. In free-living female Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica), we simultaneously manipulated reproductive costs (by adding or removing two nestlings) and self-maintenance costs (by attaching a ∼1 g weight in the form of a GPS tag to half of our study birds) and measured mass, immune status, blood glucose, feather growth, and reproductive output (likelihood of a second clutch, number of eggs, and time between clutches). GPS tags allowed us to analyze how movement range size affected response to brood size manipulation. Tagging altered females’ immune function as evidenced by an elevated heterophil to lymphocyte (H:L) ratio, but all females were equally likely to lay more eggs. There was no evidence of interactive effects of the tagging and brood size treatment. Range size was highly variable, and birds with large ranges grew feathers more slowly, but analyzing the effect of brood size manipulation while accounting for variation in range size did not result in any physiological response. Our results support the theoretical prediction that short-lived vertebrates do face a trade-off between reproduction and self-maintenance and, when faced with increased costs, tend to preserve investment in reproduction at the expense of parental condition. This experiment also helps us to understand how movement patterns may be relevant to life history trade-offs in wild birds.

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  2. Abstract

    Life history theory predicts that increased investment in current offspring decreases future fecundity or survival. Avian parental investment decisions have been studied either via brood size manipulation or direct manipulation of parental energetic costs (also known as handicapping). However, we have limited experimental data on the potential interactive effects of these manipulations on parent behavior. Additionally, we know little about how these manipulations affect spatial foraging behavior away from the nest. We simultaneously manipulated brood size and parental costs (via added weight in the form of a GPS tag) in wild female barn swallows (Hirundo rustica). We measured multiple aspects of parent behavior at and away from the nest while controlling for measures of weather conditions. We found no significant interactive effects of manipulated brood size and parental costs. Both sexes increased their visitation rate with brood size, but nestlings in enlarged broods grew significantly less post-brood size manipulation than those in reduced broods. Foraging range area was highly variable among GPS-tagged females but was unaffected by brood size. As such, increased visitation rate in response to brood size may be more energetically costly for far-ranging females. GPS-tagged females did not alter their visitation rate relative to un-tagged birds, but their mates had higher visitation rates. This suggests that GPS tagging may affect some unmeasured aspect of female behavior, such as prey delivery. Our findings indicate that investigation of foraging tactics alongside visitation rate is critical to understanding parental investment and the benefits and costs of reproduction.

    Significance statement

    Avian parental investment decisions have been studied by either brood size manipulation or direct manipulation of parental costs, but rarely both simultaneously. We simultaneously manipulated brood size and parental costs (via addition of a GPS tag) in a wild avian system, allowing us to examine interactive effects of these manipulations. Additionally, studies of parental investment often examine behaviors at the nest, but measurements of parental care behavior away from the nest are rare. Our study is unique in that we measured multiple aspects of parental care, including spatial foraging behavior tracked with GPS tags. We found no interactive effects of manipulated brood size and parental costs on visitation rate or nestling growth, and spatial foraging behavior of females was individually variable. Documenting foraging tactics alongside visitation rate is critical to understanding parental investment because the same visitation rate might be more costly for far-ranging females.

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  3. Abstract

    Migratory divides are proposed to be catalysts for speciation across a diversity of taxa. However, it is difficult to test the relative contributions of migratory behaviour vs. other divergent traits to reproductive isolation. Comparing hybrid zones with and without migratory divides offers a rare opportunity to directly examine the contribution of divergent migratory behaviour to reproductive barriers. We show that across replicate sampling transects of two pairs of barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) subspecies, strong reproductive isolation coincided with a migratory divide spanning 20 degrees of latitude. A third subspecies pair exhibited no evidence for a migratory divide and hybridised extensively. Within migratory divides, overwintering habitats were associated with assortative mating, implicating a central contribution of divergent migratory behaviour to reproductive barriers. The remarkable geographic coincidence between migratory divides and genetic breaks supports a long‐standing hypothesis that the Tibetan Plateau is a substantial barrier contributing to the diversity of Siberian avifauna.

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  4. Abstract Urbanization has dramatically altered Earth's landscapes and changed a multitude of environmental factors. This has resulted in intense land‐use change, and adverse consequences such as the urban heat island effect (UHI), noise pollution, and artificial light at night (ALAN). However, there is a lack of research on the combined effects of these environmental factors on life‐history traits and fitness, and on how these interactions shape food resources and drive patterns of species persistence. Here, we systematically reviewed the literature and created a comprehensive framework of the mechanistic pathways by which urbanization affects fitness and thus favors certain species. We found that urbanization‐induced changes in urban vegetation, habitat quality, spring temperature, resource availability, acoustic environment, nighttime light, and species behaviors (e.g., laying, foraging, and communicating) influence breeding choices, optimal time windows that reduce phenological mismatch, and breeding success. Insectivorous and omnivorous species that are especially sensitive to temperature often experience advanced laying behaviors and smaller clutch sizes in urban areas. By contrast, some granivorous and omnivorous species experience little difference in clutch size and number of fledglings because urban areas make it easier to access anthropogenic food resources and to avoid predation. Furthermore, the interactive effect of land‐use change and UHI on species could be synergistic in locations where habitat loss and fragmentation are greatest and when extreme‐hot weather events take place in urban areas. However, in some instances, UHI may mitigate the impact of land‐use changes at local scales and provide suitable breeding conditions by shifting the environment to be more favorable for species' thermal limits and by extending the time window in which food resources are available in urban areas. As a result, we determined five broad directions for further research to highlight that urbanization provides a great opportunity to study environmental filtering processes and population dynamics. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  5. Springer, Mark (Ed.)
    Abstract Despite the increasing feasibility of sequencing whole genomes from diverse taxa, a persistent problem in phylogenomics is the selection of appropriate genetic markers or loci for a given taxonomic group or research question. In this review, we aim to streamline the decision-making process when selecting specific markers to use in phylogenomic studies by introducing commonly used types of genomic markers, their evolutionary characteristics, and their associated uses in phylogenomics. Specifically, we review the utilities of ultraconserved elements (including flanking regions), anchored hybrid enrichment loci, conserved nonexonic elements, untranslated regions, introns, exons, mitochondrial DNA, single nucleotide polymorphisms, and anonymous regions (nonspecific regions that are evenly or randomly distributed across the genome). These various genomic elements and regions differ in their substitution rates, likelihood of neutrality or of being strongly linked to loci under selection, and mode of inheritance, each of which are important considerations in phylogenomic reconstruction. These features may give each type of marker important advantages and disadvantages depending on the biological question, number of taxa sampled, evolutionary timescale, cost effectiveness, and analytical methods used. We provide a concise outline as a resource to efficiently consider key aspects of each type of genetic marker. There are many factors to consider when designing phylogenomic studies, and this review may serve as a primer when weighing options between multiple potential phylogenomic markers. 
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