Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Capital and income breeding: the role of food supply

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DOI

Open Access permissions

Open

Author(s)

Philip A. Stephens, Alasdair I. Houston, Karin C. Harding, Ian L. Boyd, John M. McNamara

School/Research organisations

Abstract

An aspect of life history that has seen increasing attention in recent years is that of strategies for financing the costs of offspring production. These strategies are often described by a continuum ranging from capital breeding, in which costs are met purely from endogenous reserves, to income breeding, in which costs are met purely from concurrent intake. A variety of factors that might drive strategies toward a given point on the capital-income continuum has been reviewed, and assessed using analytical models. However, aspects of food supply, including seasonality and unpredictability, have often been cited as important drivers of capital and income breeding, but are difficult to assess using analytical models. Consequently, we used dynamic programming to assess the role of the food supply in shaping offspring provisioning strategies. Our model is parameterized for a pinniped (one taxon remarkable for the range of offspring-provisioning strategies that it illustrates). We show that increased food availability, increased seasonality, and, to a lesser extent, increased unpredictability can all favor the emergence of capital breeding. In terms of the conversion of energy into offspring growth, the shorter periods of care associated with capital breeding are considerably more energetically efficient than income breeding, because shorter periods of care are associated with a higher ratio of energy put into offspring growth to energy spent on parent and offspring maintenance metabolism. Moreover, no clear costs are currently associated with capital accumulation in pinnipeds. This contrasts with general assumptions about endotherms, which suggest that income breeding will usually be preferred. Our model emphasizes the role of seasonally high abundances of food in enabling mothers to pursue an energetically efficient capital-breeding strategy. We discuss the importance of offspring development for dictating strategies for financing offspring production.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)882-896
Number of pages15
JournalEcology
Volume95
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014

    Research areas

  • Fasting, Pinnipeds, Energetics of reproduction, Income breeding, Lactation, Seasonal environments, Capital breeding, Foraging cycle, Antractic fur seals, Optimal annual routines, Foraging behavior, Lactation strategies, Eumetopias-jubatus, Pinniped lactation, Fat reserves, Harbor seal, Body-size, Energetics

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. An inside view on pesticide policy

    Boyd, I. L., 30 Apr 2018, In : Nature Ecology and Evolution. 2 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Mitigation of harm during a novel behavioural response study involving active sonar and wild cetaceans

    Southall, B., Quick, N. J., Hastie, G. D., Tyack, P. L. & Boyd, I. L., 27 Oct 2017, In : Journal of Cetacean Research and Management. 16, p. 29-38 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Toward pesticidovigilance

    Milner, A. & Boyd, I. L., 22 Sep 2017, In : Science. 357, 6357, p. 1232-1234 3 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. The stuff and nonsense of open data in government

    Boyd, I. L., 19 Sep 2017, In : Scientific Data. 4, 4 p., 170131.

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

  5. Report of the Government Chief Scientific Adviser: from waste to resource productivity

    Walport, M. & Boyd, I. L., 2017, The Government Office for Science.

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Related by journal

  1. A silent orchestra: convergent song loss in Hawaiian crickets is repeated, morphologically varied, and widespread

    Rayner, J., Aldridge, S., Montealegre-Z, F. & Bailey, N. W., 2019, In : Ecology. In press

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Dominant tree species drive beta diversity patterns in western Amazonia

    Draper, F. C., Asner, G. P., Honorio Coronado, E. N., Baker, T. R., García-Villacorta, R., Pitman, N. C. A., Fine, P. V. A., Phillips, O. L., Zárate Gómez, R., Amasifuén Guerra, C. A., Flores Arévalo, M., Vásquez Martínez, R., Brienen, R. J. W., Monteagudo-Mendoza, A., Torres Montenegro, L. A., Valderrama Sandoval, E., Roucoux, K. H., Ramírez Arévalo, F. R., Mesones Acuy, Í., Del Aguila Pasquel, J. & 5 othersTagle Casapia, X., Flores Llampazo, G., Corrales Medina, M., Reyna Huaymacari, J. & Baraloto, C., 1 Apr 2019, In : Ecology. 100, 4, e02636.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Negligible effect of competition on coral colony growth

    Alvarez-Noriega, M., Baird, A. H., Dornelas, M., Madin, J. S. & Connolly, S. R., Jun 2018, In : Ecology. 99, 6, p. 1347-1356 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Estimates of local biodiversity change over time stand up to scrutiny

    Vellend, M., Dornelas, M., Baeten, L., Beauséjour, R., Brown, C. D., De Frenne, P., Elmendorf, S. C., Gotelli, N. J., Moyes, F., Myers-Smith, I. H., Magurran, A. E., McGill, B. J., Shimadzu, H. & Sievers, C., Feb 2017, In : Ecology. 98, 2, p. 583-590 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Estimation and simulation of foraging trips in land-based marine predators

    Michelot, T., Langrock, R., Bestley, S., Jonsen, I. D., Photopoulou, T. & Patterson, T. A., Jul 2017, In : Ecology. 98, 7, p. 1932-1944 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Ecology (Journal)

    Monique Lea MacKenzie (Editor)
    2008 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

ID: 135035696