3 years ago

Intraspecific variation in exploratory behavior and elevational affinity in a widely distributed songbird

Seth D. Newsome, Rodrigo A. Vasquez, Pablo Sabat, Yanina Poblete, Valeska Cid, Víctor Gutiérrez

Abstract

Populations of the same species can vary substantially in their behavioral and morphometric traits when they are subject to different environmental pressures, which may lead to the development of different adaptive strategies. We quantified variation in exploratory behavior and morphometric traits among two rufous-collared sparrow populations that occur at low and high elevations in central Chile. Moreover, we used census and δ2H values of feather and blood to evaluate migration. We found that individual sparrows inhabiting high elevations were larger and showed more intense exploratory behavior in comparison with those that were captured at lower elevation. Moreover, we observed a steady decline in sparrow abundance during the winter and similar δ2H values for blood collected in the winter and summer at this site, which were significantly lower than blood δ2H values observed at low elevation. This pattern suggests that individuals do not move long distances during winter, and likely they remain at similar elevations in refuge habitats. As predicted, our results support the existent of different adaptive strategies among populations of the same species, and suggest that the combination of behavioral, morphometric, and stable isotope data is a novel and robust integrative approach to assess differences in adaptation across environmental gradients.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00442-018-4076-8

DOI: 10.1007/s00442-018-4076-8

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