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BIOC54H3 Lecture Notes - Eurasian Blue Tit, Sexual Conflict, Frigatebird

Biological Sciences
Course Code
Kamini Persaud

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Lecture 6: Parental Care & Kinship - Costs vs. Benefits
Sexual Conflict over PARENTAL CARE
[Parental Care in the Magnificent Frigatebird]
Parental care = a cooperative venture between a male and a female in many socially
monogamous birds.
Care = costly; so sexual conflict arises between the parents about how much effort
they should invest into rearing their young.
The sexual conflict over care is most apparent when one parent abandons the
brood before the offspring are independent.
The deserted parent has three options:
(1) desert the brood because a single parent is unable to raise the young on its own;
(2) continue care provision at the same level as during biparental care, and thus do not
compensate for the absence of mate;
(3) increase care and compensate partially or totally.
During biparental care, females fed the chick more often than the males. After their
mate deserted, the females nearly doubled their feeding rate and thus, fully
compensated for the lost care.
Growth rates of chicks provided with biparental and female-only care did not differ.
Females may withhold care during biparental care to manoeuvre their mates into
prolonged care provision. A female only provides at her full capacity once her mate
has deserted.
What IS “Parental Care”?
Behaviour by parent which increases OFFSPRING’S fitness (and would not occur in
absence of offspring).
MODES of Parental Care
Maintenance (grooming, heat, gas exchange, defense against disease etc)
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