Theory suggests that the persistence of metapopulations will be influenced by the degree of synchrony in the dynamics of their component populations. Various studies have shown that climate can promote synchrony in the size of adjacent populations linked by dispersal, but fewer studies have examined the effects of climate on underlying demographic rates. We studied annual variation in the timing of breeding and reproductive rates in Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) on islands linked by dispersal to determine whether biotic factors acting at local scales or climatic factors acting at a regional scale were more influential of variation in demography. The onset of egg laying varied markedly among years but was roughly synchronous across islands within years. Despite this synchrony, island populations varied markedly in reproductive rate, mainly from spatial variation in nest depredation and brood parasitism. In general, populations farther from Vancouver Island and with fewer resident predators experienced less nest depredation and brood parasitism, and higher reproductive rates, than populations closer to Vancouver Island. Our results show that even when climate acts regionally to synchronize reproductive timing in adjacent populations, its effects on reproductive rate may be overridden by biotic factors that vary among populations.
Depredación de Nidos, Parasitismo de Cría y Variación Reproductiva en Poblaciones Isleñas de Melospiza melodia