Seasonality of reproduction in a neotropical rain forest bird

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Ecology. 2000, 81(9), pp. 2458-2472. ISSN 0012-9658. eISSN 1939-9170. Available under: doi: 10.1890/0012-9658(2000)081[2458:SORIAN]2.0.CO;2
Zusammenfassung

Tropical wet forests are commonly perceived as stable and constant environments. However, many rain forest organisms reproduce seasonally. To understand the proximate regulation of life history events in tropical organisms, we asked three questions: (1) How predictable are seasonal changes in the tropical rain forest? (2) Can tropical organisms anticipate environmental seasonality, despite the presumed lack of long‐term environmental cues in near‐equatorial areas? (3) What environmental cues can tropical organisms use? We studied Spotted Antbirds, monogamous understory insectivores, which started breeding in Panama (9° N) in May (wet season) and continued until September/October. Breeding patterns were consistent between years, indicating that tropical seasons were as predictable for Spotted Antbirds (predictability 70%) as they are for many north temperate birds. Individual Spotted Antbirds shut down reproductive capacity (i.e., decreased gonad size) from October until February. In March, during the height of the dry season and about six weeks ahead of the wet season, gonads started to grow again. The growth rate of gonads was influenced by the amount of rainfall, which has been shown to correlate with food abundance. Gonad growth was paralleled by changes in luteinizing hormone, but not in testosterone, which remained at very low plasma levels year‐round. The latter contrasts with the pattern for most migratory temperate‐zone birds. Seasonal changes in reproductive activity correlated strongly with changes in the tropical photoperiod, but weakly with light intensity and rainfall, and not with temperature. Thus, Spotted Antbirds likely anticipated rain forest seasonality using long‐term cues (tropical photoperiod) and fine‐tuned their reproductive activities using short‐term cues (food/rainfall). The use of long‐term environmental information could apply to most vertebrate species that live in the tropics.

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ISO 690WIKELSKI, Martin, Michaela HAU, John C. WINGFIELD, 2000. Seasonality of reproduction in a neotropical rain forest bird. In: Ecology. 2000, 81(9), pp. 2458-2472. ISSN 0012-9658. eISSN 1939-9170. Available under: doi: 10.1890/0012-9658(2000)081[2458:SORIAN]2.0.CO;2
BibTex
@article{Wikelski2000-09Seaso-42522,
  year={2000},
  doi={10.1890/0012-9658(2000)081[2458:SORIAN]2.0.CO;2},
  title={Seasonality of reproduction in a neotropical rain forest bird},
  number={9},
  volume={81},
  issn={0012-9658},
  journal={Ecology},
  pages={2458--2472},
  author={Wikelski, Martin and Hau, Michaela and Wingfield, John C.}
}
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    <dcterms:abstract xml:lang="eng">Tropical wet forests are commonly perceived as stable and constant environments. However, many rain forest organisms reproduce seasonally. To understand the proximate regulation of life history events in tropical organisms, we asked three questions: (1) How predictable are seasonal changes in the tropical rain forest? (2) Can tropical organisms anticipate environmental seasonality, despite the presumed lack of long‐term environmental cues in near‐equatorial areas? (3) What environmental cues can tropical organisms use? We studied Spotted Antbirds, monogamous understory insectivores, which started breeding in Panama (9° N) in May (wet season) and continued until September/October. Breeding patterns were consistent between years, indicating that tropical seasons were as predictable for Spotted Antbirds (predictability 70%) as they are for many north temperate birds. Individual Spotted Antbirds shut down reproductive capacity (i.e., decreased gonad size) from October until February. In March, during the height of the dry season and about six weeks ahead of the wet season, gonads started to grow again. The growth rate of gonads was influenced by the amount of rainfall, which has been shown to correlate with food abundance. Gonad growth was paralleled by changes in luteinizing hormone, but not in testosterone, which remained at very low plasma levels year‐round. The latter contrasts with the pattern for most migratory temperate‐zone birds. Seasonal changes in reproductive activity correlated strongly with changes in the tropical photoperiod, but weakly with light intensity and rainfall, and not with temperature. Thus, Spotted Antbirds likely anticipated rain forest seasonality using long‐term cues (tropical photoperiod) and fine‐tuned their reproductive activities using short‐term cues (food/rainfall). The use of long‐term environmental information could apply to most vertebrate species that live in the tropics.</dcterms:abstract>
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