Can we measure the benefits of help in cooperatively breeding birds: the case of superb fairy-wrens Malurus cyaneus?
Andrew Cockburn, Rachel A Sims, Helen L Osmond, David J Green, Michael C Double, Raoul A Mulder
JOURNAL OF ANIMAL ECOLOGY | WILEY-BLACKWELL | Published : 2008
1. Correlational studies of reproductive success are plagued by difficulty over the direction of causation. For example, improved reproductive success with age can result from increased experience or reproductive effort, or selection against low-quality phenotypes that survive poorly. An association between supernumeraries and reproductive success in cooperative breeders can arise either because supernumeraries boost productivity, or productive territories accumulate supernumeraries. 2. Paired comparisons of parents sampled with and without supernumeraries have recently been widely applied to quantify help. However, Dickinson & Hatchwell (2004) have argued that this approach is flawed. They ..View full abstract