Submission Title

The Influence of Helper Relatedness in Acorn Woodpecker Group Success

Presenter Information

Jordan Takasugi, Gonzaga University

Session Number

PS1

Location

Graves Gym

Abstract Number

PS1-q

Abstract

The acorn woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) is a cooperative breeding bird in which the helpers can increase reproductive success within the group. These helpers do not participate in breeding activities, but instead may assist in the provisioning and protecting young produced in a group. A breeding group can have between one to ten helpers, but reproductive success within a social group only increases with the presence of up to three helpers; after which additional helpers have a diminishing effect on the group’s reproductive success. While this pattern is well established for acorn woodpeckers, we have not tested whether helpers are able to adjust their reproductive effort based on their actual relatedness to the nestlings. Here we used detailed knowledge of parentage to determine whether or not helpers modulate their provisioning behavior based on their relatedness to the nestlings, and whether this is dependent on the number of helpers.

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Apr 23rd, 10:45 AM Apr 23rd, 12:15 PM

The Influence of Helper Relatedness in Acorn Woodpecker Group Success

Graves Gym

The acorn woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) is a cooperative breeding bird in which the helpers can increase reproductive success within the group. These helpers do not participate in breeding activities, but instead may assist in the provisioning and protecting young produced in a group. A breeding group can have between one to ten helpers, but reproductive success within a social group only increases with the presence of up to three helpers; after which additional helpers have a diminishing effect on the group’s reproductive success. While this pattern is well established for acorn woodpeckers, we have not tested whether helpers are able to adjust their reproductive effort based on their actual relatedness to the nestlings. Here we used detailed knowledge of parentage to determine whether or not helpers modulate their provisioning behavior based on their relatedness to the nestlings, and whether this is dependent on the number of helpers.