Aerobic capacity in wild satin bowerbirds: Repeatability and effects of age, sex and condition

Mark A. Chappell, Jean Francois Savard, Jennifer Siani, Seth W. Coleman, Jason Keagy, Gerald Borgia

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11 Scopus citations


Individual variation in aerobic capacity has been extensively studied, especially with respect to condition, maturity or pathogen infection, and to gain insights into mechanistic foundations of performance. However, its relationship to mate competition is less well understood, particularly for animals in natural habitats. We examined aerobic capacity [maximum rate of O 2 consumption ( V̇O 2max) in forced exercise] in wild satin bowerbirds, an Australian passerine with a non-resource based mating system and strong intermale sexual competition. We tested for repeatability of mass and V̇O 2max, differences among age and sex classes, and effects of several condition indices. In adult males, we examined interactions between aerobic performance and bower ownership (required for male mating success). There was significant repeatability of mass and V̇O 2max, within and between years, but between-year repeatability was lower than within-year repeatability. V̇O 2max, varied with an overall scaling to mass 0.791, but most variance in V̇O 2max, was not explained by mass. Indicators of condition (tarsus and wing length asymmetry, the ratio of tarsus length to mass) were not correlated to V̇O 2max,. Ectoparasite counts were weakly correlated to V̇O 2max, across all age-sex classes but not within any class. Adult males, the cohort with the most intense levels of mating competition, had higher V̇O 2max, than juvenile birds or adult females. However, there was no difference between the V̇O 2max, of bower-owning males and that of males not known to hold bowers. Thus one major factor determining male reproductive success was not correlated to aerobic performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3186-3196
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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