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Data from: The price of associating with breeders in the cooperatively breeding chestnut-crowned babbler: foraging constraints, survival and sociality

posted on 2022-06-10, 02:53 authored by Enrico Sorato, Simon C. Griffith, Andy F. Russell
Understanding the costs of living with breeders might offer new insights into the factors that counter evolutionary transitions from selfish individuals to cooperative societies. While selection on early dispersal is well-understood, it is less clear whether costs are also associated with remaining with family members during subsequent breeding; a pre-requisite to the evolution of kin-based cooperation. We propose and test the hypothesis that living in groups containing breeders is costly and that such costs are exacerbated by increasing group size. For example, in group-living central-place foragers, group members might suffer from resource depletion when foraging in a restricted area during breeding and significant costs of repeatedly travelling between foraging patches and the site of offspring. Using the cooperatively breeding chestnut-crowned babbler (Pomatostomus ruficeps), for which grouping during breeding is obligatory, we show that reproduction is associated with substantially reduced foraging areas and evidence of resource depletion, particularly in larger groups. Such effects largely persisted from the onset of incubation through to offspring independence 4-5 months later. All group members, irrespective of their breeder or helper status, lost significant body mass over this period, and, in males, mass loss was associated with reduced inter-annual survival. Although babblers are constrained from living outside of breeding groups due to high risks of predation and the poor success of breeding without helpers, we suggest that the effects we describe may generally select against group-living during breeding attempts in species where constraints to independent breeding and costs of dispersal are less acute.

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Group home ranges, breeding and non-breedingproviding home range sizes of different groups, as well as potential explanatory variablesHRs breeding vs nonbreeding.csvInsects abundance - light-trap samplesInsects.csvranging behaviour_all yeargroup movement data over the entire year and potential predictorsranging behaviour_laying to dependent juvgroup movement data relative to the reproductive period, from egg laying to offspring independenceranging behaviour_ nestinggroup movement data relative to the active nestcondition, survival data-breeders and nonbreedersbody mass and survival data, including potential predictors (e.g sex, breeder vs non-breeder status, group size)


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