|Growing pains: developmental growth and behavior in captive-reared Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa)|
|Mitch G. Hinton1, Holly C. Coates1, Tez F. Stair1, Bruce E. Lyon2, John M. Eadie1. 1University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, United States; 2University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, United States
Trade-offs between growth and mortality have consequences for ontogenetic growth and are hypothesized to help maintain inter-individual behavioral variation. Sustaining or increasing somatic growth rate can come at the cost of increased mortality risk associated with foraging; allocation of attention or energy towards foraging related behaviors reduces effectiveness of anti-predator behavior and possibly increases conspicuousness. Thus, it is hypothesized that growth rate is negatively associated with risk sensitivity and other correlated behaviors. In the current study, we examine variation in growth and behavior of captive reared Wood Ducks. Across two years we reared 125 individuals in a common garden set-up and exposed another 127 individuals to experimental manipulation of food distribution and apparent perceived predation risk throughout ontogeny. We collected morphometrics and used standardized behavioral assays designed to quantify aspects of risk aversion at hatch and every week for the first five weeks of life. In both years, results suggest risk aversion was negatively associated with developmental growth. Here, we discuss our findings and their ecological relevance.