Density-dependent nest predation: an experiment with simulated Mallard nests in contrasting landscapes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    53 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Breeding success is a key element of animal population dynamics. In many taxa including birds, nest success, or the proportion of laid clutches that actually hatch, is mainly determined by predation. Previous research gives an inconsistent picture of the prevalence of density-dependent nest predation and one reason for this is the general lack of well-designed replicated experiments. Using simulated Mallard Anas platyrhynchos nests and a crossover design for 20 lakes in the nemoral and boreal biotic zones, we tested the predictions that nest survival is negatively density-dependent and that nest predation is higher in agricultural than in forested landscapes. Study day and daily abundance of waterfowl, other waterbirds, as well as avian predators were included as covariates in the analysis. Model fitting in program mark revealed a general negative effect of nest density on nest survival. In addition, nest survival rate was higher at forest lakes than at lakes in agricultural landscapes, irrespective of nest density. The only covariate producing model improvement was study day; older nests had higher survival rates than recently initiated ones. This is the first replicated lake-level experimental study showing that nest predation is density-dependent in waterfowl. The pattern was consistent between landscape types, implying that density-dependent nest predation may affect habitat choice and population dynamics over large parts of the Mallard's range.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)259-269
    Number of pages10
    JournalIbis
    Volume150
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

    Swedish Standard Keywords

    • Biological Sciences (106)

    Keywords

    • Fnctional response
    • nest age
    • nest survival rate
    • numerical response

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of 'Density-dependent nest predation: an experiment with simulated Mallard nests in contrasting landscapes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this