Sex‐dependent effects of parental age on offspring fitness in a cooperatively breeding bird

Sparks, Alexandra M., Hammers, Martijn, Komdeur, Jan, Burke, Terry, Richardson, David S. ORCID: and Dugdale, Hannah L. (2022) Sex‐dependent effects of parental age on offspring fitness in a cooperatively breeding bird. Evolution Letters, 6 (6). pp. 438-449. ISSN 2056-3744

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Parental age can have considerable effects on offspring phenotypes and health. However, intergenerational effects may also have longer term effects on offspring fitness. Few studies have investigated parental age effects on offspring fitness in natural populations while also testing for sex- and environment-specific effects. Further, longitudinal parental age effects may be masked by population-level processes such as the selective disappearance of poor-quality individuals. Here, we used multigenerational data collected on individually marked Seychelles warblers (Acrocephalus sechellensis) to investigate the impact of maternal and paternal age on offspring life span and lifetime reproductive success. We found negative effects of maternal age on female offspring life span and lifetime reproductive success, which were driven by within-mother effects. There was no difference in annual reproductive output of females born to older versus younger mothers, suggesting that the differences in offspring lifetime reproductive success were driven by effects on offspring life span. In contrast, there was no association between paternal age and female offspring life span or either maternal or paternal age and male offspring life span. Lifetime reproductive success, but not annual reproductive success, of male offspring increased with maternal age, but this was driven by between-mother effects. No paternal age effects were found on female offspring lifetime reproductive success but there was a positive between-father effect on male offspring lifetime reproductive success. We did not find strong evidence for environment-dependent parental age effects. Our study provides evidence for parental age effects on the lifetime fitness of offspring and shows that such effects can be sex dependent. These results add to the growing literature indicating the importance of intergenerational effects on long-term offspring performance and highlight that these effects can be an important driver of variation in longevity and fitness in the wild.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Author acknowledgements: We thank the Department of Environment and Seychelles Bureau of Standards for research permits and Nature Seychelles for facilitating work on Cousin Island. We thank all those who have contributed to long‐term data collection in the Seychelles warbler project, O. Howison for maintenance of the Seychelles warbler database, and M. van der Velde for microsatellite genotyping. AMS was supported by an NERC grant (NE/P011284/1 to HLD and DSR) and MH was funded by an NWO VENI Fellowship (863.15.020). The long‐term data gathering that enabled this study was also supported by various NERC grants including NE/B504106/1 (TAB and DSR), NE/I021748/1 (HLD), and NE/F02083X/1 and NE/K005502/1 (DSR), as well as an NWO Rubicon (825.09.013), Lucie Burgers Foundation and KNAW Schure Beijerinck Popping grant (SBP2013/04) to HLD, NWO visitors grant (040.11.232 to JK and HLD), and NWO grants (854.11.003 and 823.01.014 to JK).
Uncontrolled Keywords: ageing,lansing effect,seychelles warbler,fitness,intergenerational effects,life span,maternal age effect,paternal age effect,senescence,ecology, evolution, behavior and systematics,genetics ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1100/1105
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2022 14:32
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2023 10:30
DOI: 10.1002/evl3.300


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