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The Journal of Animal Ecology 76, 6 (2007) 1149-1160
Population dynamics in a long-lived seabird: I. Impact of breeding activity on survival and breeding probability in unbanded king penguins.
Céline Le Bohec1, 2, Michel Gauthier-Clerc3, David Grémillet4, 5, Roger Pradel5, Arnaud Béchet3, Jean-Paul Gendner1, Yvon Le Maho1

Understanding the trade-off between current reproductive effort, future survival and future breeding attempts is crucial for demographic analyses and life history studies. We investigated this trade-off in a population of king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) marked individually with transponders using multistate capture-recapture models. This colonial seabird species has a low annual proportion of non-breeders (13%), despite a breeding cycle which lasts over 1 year. To draw inferences about the consequences of non-breeding, we tested for an effect of reproductive activity on survival and on the probability of subsequent breeding. We found that birds non-breeding in year t show the same survival rate as breeders (two-states analysis: breeding and non-breeding). However, breeders had a lower probability of breeding again the following year. This negative phenotypic correlation suggests the existence of reproductive costs affecting future breeding probability, but it might also be strengthened by late arrival for courtship in year t. A three-state analysis including breeding success revealed that failed breeders in year t have a lower probability to reproduce successfully in year t + 1 than non-breeders in year t, providing some evidence for the existence of reproductive costs. Moreover, successful breeders showed higher survival probability. This positive phenotypic correlation between current reproduction and subsequent survival supports the hypothesis of an heterogeneity in individual quality. Males breeding in year t had a lower probability to breed again in year t + 1 than females, suggesting higher reproductive costs for this sex. Such additional costs might be due to higher male parental investment in the final phase of chick-rearing, which also delays the arrival of males in year t + 1, and decreases their breeding probability. Our study is the first to explore the breeding biology and the demography of penguins without the disturbance of flipper-bands.
1 :  DEPE-IPHC - Département Ecologie, Physiologie et Ethologie
2 :  Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis
3 :  Centre de recherche de la Tour du Valat
4 :  DST/NRF Centre of Excellence
5 :  CEFE - Centre d'écologie fonctionnelle et évolutive
Sciences de l'environnement