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Assessing Variation in Dispersal Decisions in a Cooperatively Breeding Passerine

Title: Assessing Variation in Dispersal Decisions in a Cooperatively Breeding Passerine.

Inaccessible until Aug 31, 2021 due to copyright restrictions.

Name(s): Dietz, Samantha Lauren, author
DuVal, Emily H., professor directing thesis
Underwood, Nora C., committee member
Burgess, Scott C., committee member
Florida State University, degree granting institution
College of Arts and Sciences, degree granting college
Department of Biological Science, degree granting department
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Master Thesis
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2019
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource (84 pages)
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Natal dispersal, the period where an organism moves from its birthplace to the area where it settles and attempts to breed, may have significant consequences for individual fitness. Individuals vary in both the decision to initiate dispersal and the decision to settle and attempt reproduction. In cooperative species, some individuals delay their departure from the natal territory and forego reproduction for one or more breeding seasons, while others disperse much sooner. The timing of when individuals depart their natal site can affect their ability to locate and establish a breeding territory. Availability of local breeding sites, competition among the natal group, and an individual's development are hypothesized to influence dispersal initiation. Once an individual departs the natal territory, they also must choose a settlement area that will affect their access to potential mates, resources, and exposure to predators. Understanding how a juvenile's experience prior to dispersal influences their timing and settlement decisions may help explain variation in fitness among individuals within a population. Despite the importance of settlement site, individuals often appear to settle in low-quality habitat when high-quality habitat is available. The Natal Habitat Preference Induction hypothesis posits that individuals may choose breeding habitat that is similar to their natal habitat, rather than habitat of the highest quality. I investigated factors that influenced variation in dispersal behavior in a population of cooperatively breeding Brown-headed Nuthatches (Sitta pusilla) by addressing two questions: (1) What factors influence whether and when individuals depart from the natal territory? and (2) How do individuals make settlement decisions? I found that males dispersed earlier when they experienced more competition within the natal group, and females dispersed earlier when they were smaller in size relative to their siblings, and when local breeding opportunities were constrained. I found no evidence that individuals were choosing settlement sites based on habitat cues as predicted by the Natal Habitat Preference Induction hypothesis. My thesis broadens understanding of how multiple aspects of an individual's experience might affect dispersal decisions, and assesses one hypothesis that potentially explains how dispersers make settlement decisions.
Identifier: 2019_Summer_Dietz_fsu_0071N_15341 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Thesis submitted to the Department of Biological Science in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester 2019.
Date of Defense: April 24, 2019.
Keywords: Cooperative Breeding, Natal Dispersal, Natal Habitat Preference Induction
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Emily H. DuVal, Professor Directing Thesis; Nora Underwood, Committee Member; Scott Burgess, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Ecology
Persistent Link to This Record:
Host Institution: FSU

Choose the citation style.
Dietz, S. L. (2019). Assessing Variation in Dispersal Decisions in a Cooperatively Breeding Passerine. Retrieved from