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Preliminary investigation of the costs of incubation in the Australasian Gannet (Morus serrator) breeding in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by AD Ewing, FI Norman, SJ Ward, Ashley Bunce
To optimise lifetime reproductive success, individuals must balance current reproductive effort against future reproductive prospects. In birds, incubation and chick-rearing must involve costs, and manipulation of the length of incubation offers an insight into some costs affecting adults. An experiment was conducted at a colony of Australasian Gannets in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, in which length of incubation was manipulated so that some adults experienced short (10-20 days duration), long (70-80 days) or normal (45 days) incubation periods. Adults with a manipulated incubation period did not show significant differences in weight change (taken here to reflect cost) during incubation or chick-rearing compared with controls. Manipulation of length of incubation did not significantly affect the hatching success or the growth rate of chicks involved and is not, therefore, considered to impose an increased reproductive cost. This suggests that the Australasian Gannet has the capacity to maintain body condition and successfully rear young despite modified duration of incubation.