Graduation Term

3-6-2024

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

School of Biological Sciences

Committee Chair

Matthew Dugas

Abstract

Parents increase their offspring fitness prospects by providing care, but at the cost of lost current or future reproductive opportunities. Parents often rear multiple offspring simultaneously, and because parents cannot supply unlimited care to their offspring, parents benefit from distributing resources non-randomly within a brood. Having access to information that helps inform allocation decisions can be valuable to parents, and parents may use a variety of information types that are either intrinsic or extrinsic to the offspring to help inform these decisions. Here, I explore the types of information that parents use when allocating resources within broods, and I explore the extent to which parents are flexible in their parental investment strategies. Using dendrobatid poison frogs as a model system, my work assesses the scope of phenotypic plasticity in shaping and constraining the benefits offspring gain from parental care, the role and function of begging behavior early in the emergence of offspring-parent communication, and the extent to which parents modify their investment strategies in direct response to food-limited environments.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.30707/ETD2024.20240618063948089068.999989

Page Count

138

Available for download on Saturday, May 31, 2025

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