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      Rainfall during parental care reduces reproductive and survival components of fitness in a passerine bird

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          Adverse weather conditions during parental care may have direct consequences for offspring production, but longer-term effects on juvenile and parental survival are less well known. We used long-term data on reproductive output, recruitment, and parental survival in northern wheatears ( Oenanthe oenanthe) to investigate the effects of rainfall during parental care on fledging success, recruitment success (juvenile survival), and parental survival, and how these effects related to nestling age, breeding time, habitat quality, and parental nest visitation rates. While accounting for effects of temperature, fledging success was negatively related to rainfall (days > 10 mm) in the second half of the nestling period, with the magnitude of this effect being greater for breeding attempts early in the season. Recruitment success was, however, more sensitive to the number of rain days in the first half of the nestling period. Rainfall effects on parental survival differed between the sexes; males were more sensitive to rain during the nestling period than females. We demonstrate a probable mechanism driving the rainfall effects on reproductive output: Parental nest visitation rates decline with increasing amounts of daily rainfall, with this effect becoming stronger after consecutive rain days. Our study shows that rain during the nestling stage not only relates to fledging success but also has longer-term effects on recruitment and subsequent parental survival. Thus, if we want to understand or predict population responses to future climate change, we need to consider the potential impacts of changing rainfall patterns in addition to temperature, and how these will affect target species' vital rates.

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          Most cited references 70

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                Author and article information

                [1 ]Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Box 7044, Uppsala, 75007, Sweden
                [2 ]Aronia Coastal Zone Research Team, Novia University of Applied Sciences & Åbo Academy University Raseborgsvägen 9, Ekenäs, 10600, Finland
                Author notes
                Correspondence Meit Öberg, Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7044, Uppsala 75007, Sweden., Tel: +46 18 672411; Fax: +46 18 672890; E-mail: meit.oberg@

                Funding Information The study was funded by The Swedish Research Council VR (grants to T.P., D.A. and M.L.), FORMAS (grant to T.P. and M.L.) and the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences (D.A.).

                Ecol Evol
                Ecol Evol
                Ecology and Evolution
                BlackWell Publishing Ltd (Oxford, UK )
                January 2015
                24 December 2014
                : 5
                : 2
                : 345-356
                © 2014 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

                This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Original Research

                Evolutionary Biology

                wheatear, feeding frequency, weather, provisioning, precipitation, offspring


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