Thesis Defense Announcement

The College of Arts and Sciences announces the Final Thesis Defense of

Alexander Mueller

for the Degree of Master of Science

on June 21, 2018 at 1:30 PM in Ellington Hall, Room 105

Advisor: E. Keith Bowers

Experimentally increased incubation temperature carries over to affect posthatching development, offspring begging and parental care, and nestling survival in three species of wild bird

ABSTRACT: It is now widely accepted that recent climatic changes have had a causal effect on changing avian life histories. However, evidence for this is largely observational, whereas cause-and-effect inference requires an experimental approach. Here, we assess effects of experimentally increased temperature during incubation on posthatching development in three species of wild songbird, the Carolina chickadee (Poecile carolinensis), Carolina wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus), and prothonotary warbler (Protonotaria citrea). Increased incubation temperatures (i) reduced the duration of the incubation and nestling periods, (ii) reduced posthatching begging for food by nestlings, and (iii) reduced posthatching survival in Carolina chickadees and prothonotary warblers, while nestling Carolina wrens had similar survival but reduced pre-fledging mass. Our results suggest that increasing environmental temperature may affect fitness in wild populations in generally negative but species-specific ways, and induce life-history changes including the duration of development and the classic trade-off parents face between the size and number of offspring.