- Ecologie et Biologie des Interactions UMR CNRS 7267, Université de Poitiers UFR SFA, Poitiers, France
- Behaviour & Ethology, Evolutionary ecology, Experimental ecology, Host-parasite interactions, Life history, Molecular ecology, Parasitology, Population ecology, Social structure, Symbiosis, Terrestrial ecology
Investigating sex differences in genetic relatedness in great-tailed grackles in Tempe, Arizona to infer potential sex biases in dispersal
Investigate fine scale sex dispersal with spatial and genetic analyses
The preregistration "Investigating sex differences in genetic relatedness in great-tailed grackles in Tempe, Arizona to infer potential sex biases in dispersal"  presents the analysis plan that will be used to genetically and spatially investigate sex-biased dispersal in great-tailed grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus).
Several hypotheses implying mating systems, intrasexual competition or sex-related handicaps have been proposed to explain the diversity of dispersal patterns between or within species according to their ecological requirements, environmental factors such as seasonality , or individual characteristics such as age  or sex .
In birds, females are classically the dispersing sex, while males remain close to the place they were hatched , with potential benefits that males derive from knowing the local environment to establish territories .
In great-tailed grackles the males hold territories and the females choose which territory to place their nest in . In this context, the main hypothesis is that females are the dispersing sex in this species. The authors of this preregistration plan to investigate this hypothesis and its 3 alternatives ((i) the males are the dispersing sex, (ii) both sexes disperse or (iii) neither of the two sexes disperse), investigating the spatial distribution of genetic relatives.
The authors plan to measure the genetic relatedness (using SNP markers) and geographic distances among all female dyads and among all male dyads in the fine geographic scale (Tempe campus, Arizona). If females disperse away from relatives, the females will be less likely to be found geographically close to genetic relatives.
This pre-registration shows that the authors are well aware of the possible limitations of their study, particularly in relation to their population of 57 individuals, on a small scale. But they will use methods that should be able to detect a signal. They were very good at incorporating the reviewers' comments and suggestions, which enabled them to produce a satisfactory and interesting version of the manuscript presenting their hypotheses, limitations and the methods they plan to use. Another point I would like to stress is that this pre-registration practice is a very good one that makes it possible to anticipate the challenges and the type of analyses to be carried out, in particular by setting out the working hypotheses and confronting them (as well as the methods envisaged) with peers from this stage. I therefore recommend this manuscript and thank all the contributors (authors and reviewers) for their work. I look forward to seeing the outcomes of this study.
 Sevchik A., Logan C. J., Folsom M., Bergeron L., Blackwell A., Rowney C., and Lukas D. (2019). Investigating sex differences in genetic relatedness in great-tailed grackles in Tempe, Arizona to infer potential sex biases in dispersal. In principle recommendation by Peer Community In Ecology. corinalogan.com/Preregistrations/gdispersal.html
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