Natal and breeding philopatry in a black brant, Branta bernicla nigricans, metapopulation

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We estimated natal and breeding philopatry and dispersal probabilities for a metapopulation of Black Brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) based on observations of marked birds at six breeding colonies in Alaska, 1986–1994. Both adult females and males exhibited high (>0.90) probability of philopatry to breeding colonies. Probability of natal philopatry was significantly higher for females than males. Natal dispersal of males was recorded between every pair of colonies, whereas natal dispersal of females was observed between only half of the colony pairs. We suggest that female-biased philopatry was the result of timing of pair formation and characteristics of the mating system of brant, rather than factors related to inbreeding avoidance or optimal discrepancy. Probability of natal philopatry of females increased with age but declined with year of banding. Age-related increase in natal philopatry was positively related to higher breeding probability of older females. Declines in natal philopatry with year of banding corresponded negatively to a period of increasing population density; therefore, local population density may influence the probability of nonbreeding and gene flow among colonies.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Natal and breeding philopatry in a black brant, Branta bernicla nigricans, metapopulation
Series title Ecology
DOI 10.1890/0012-9658(1998)079[1893:NABPIA]2.0.CO;2
Volume 79
Issue 6
Year Published 1998
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center, Alaska Science Center Biology WTEB
Description 12 p.
First page 1893
Last page 1904
Country Canada, Russia, United States
State Alaska, Northwest Territories
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