Academic department under which the project should be listed

CSM - Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Dr. Sarah Guindre-Parker

This study did not test on human subjects.

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Individual variation in behavioral plasticity in African starlings

Authors: Jasmine Little1, Dustin Rubenstein2, Sarah Guindre-Parker1

1Kennesaw State University 2Columbia University

Behavioral plasticity allows individuals to respond appropriately to highly variable environmental conditions in order to increase their fitness under different types of environments. Cooperatively breeding superb starlings (Lamprotornis superbus) living in unpredictable Kenyan savannas experience tremendous variation in annual rainfall from year to year. Rainfall is critical for these birds because it shapes the availability of food (insects), but it remains unclear how the parental care behavior of individual starlings is influenced by changes in rainfall. We combine a long-term dataset of superb starling parental care behavior with a mixed modeling reaction norm framework to test whether superb starlings show individual variation in their behavioral plasticity to changing rainfall. We also compare behavioral plasticity in response to changes in pre-breeding rainfall versus breeding rainfall. We will discuss how individual variation in parental care or individual variation in behavioral plasticity of parental care may allow superb starlings to cope with raising young in unpredictable environments.

Project Type

Oral Presentation (15-min time slots)

Share

COinS
 

Individual variation in behavioral plasticity in African starlings

Individual variation in behavioral plasticity in African starlings

Authors: Jasmine Little1, Dustin Rubenstein2, Sarah Guindre-Parker1

1Kennesaw State University 2Columbia University

Behavioral plasticity allows individuals to respond appropriately to highly variable environmental conditions in order to increase their fitness under different types of environments. Cooperatively breeding superb starlings (Lamprotornis superbus) living in unpredictable Kenyan savannas experience tremendous variation in annual rainfall from year to year. Rainfall is critical for these birds because it shapes the availability of food (insects), but it remains unclear how the parental care behavior of individual starlings is influenced by changes in rainfall. We combine a long-term dataset of superb starling parental care behavior with a mixed modeling reaction norm framework to test whether superb starlings show individual variation in their behavioral plasticity to changing rainfall. We also compare behavioral plasticity in response to changes in pre-breeding rainfall versus breeding rainfall. We will discuss how individual variation in parental care or individual variation in behavioral plasticity of parental care may allow superb starlings to cope with raising young in unpredictable environments.