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Investigating sex differences in genetic relatedness in great-tailed grackles in Tempe, Arizona to infer potential sex biases in dispersal
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August Sevchik, Corina Logan, Melissa Folsom, Luisa Bergeron, Aaron Blackwell, Carolyn Rowney, Dieter Lukas
Please use the format "First name initials family name" as in "Marie S. Curie, Niels H. D. Bohr, Albert Einstein, John R. R. Tolkien, Donna T. Strickland"
In most bird species, females disperse prior to their first breeding attempt, while males remain close to the place they were hatched for their entire lives (Greenwood and Harvey (1982)). Explanations for such female bias in natal dispersal have focused on the potential benefits that males derive from knowing the local environment to establish territories, while females search for suitable mates (Greenwood (1980)), however the exact factors shaping dispersal decisions appear more complex (Mabry et al. (2013), Végvári et al. (2018)). Here, we investigate whether females are the dispersing sex in great-tailed grackles, which have a mating system where the males hold territories and the females choose which territory to place their nest in (Johnson et al. (2000)). We will use genetic approaches to identify sex biases in the propensity to disperse. We will first determine whether, for individuals caught at a single site in Arizona, the average relatedness among all female dyads is lower than that among all male dyads. If supported, this would suggest that females are less likely to be found close to genetic relatives, which indicates that females disperse away from relatives. Second, we will assess whether in males close relatives are most likely to be found within very short distances of each other; whereas, in females, relatives live both near and far from each other. Results will inform our long-term study on the relationship between behavioral flexibility and rapid geographic range expansion by elucidating which individuals are likely to experience similar conditions across their lives, and which are likely to face new conditions when they become breeders.
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genetic relatedness, dispersal, ddRADseq, great-tailed grackles, birds
Behaviour & Ethology, Life history, Preregistrations, Social structure, Zoology
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