Nest predation and adult mortality relationships with post-natal metabolic rates and growth among songbird species

J Exp Biol. 2020 Aug 18;223(Pt 16):jeb226563. doi: 10.1242/jeb.226563.


Metabolism is thought to mediate the connection between environmental selection pressures and a broad array of life history tradeoffs, but tests are needed. High juvenile predation correlates with fast growth, which may be achieved via fast juvenile metabolism. Fast offspring metabolism and growth can create physiological costs later in life that should be minimized in species with low adult mortality. Yet, relationships between juvenile metabolism and mortality at offspring versus adult stages are unexplored. We found that post-natal metabolism was positively correlated with adult mortality but not nest predation rates among 43 songbird species on three continents. Nest predation, but not adult mortality, explained additional variation in growth rates beyond metabolism. Our results suggest that metabolism may not be the mechanism underlying the relationships between growth and mortality at different life stages.

Keywords: Growth rate; Longevity; Metabolism; Offspring mortality; Songbird nestlings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Nesting Behavior
  • Predatory Behavior
  • Songbirds*