During captures, animals are marked individually with transponders. With relevant statistical analyses, I will try and estimate survival based on recapture rates and detection probabilities. My species foraging in groups, group size probably has an effect on individual survival, that’s what we are trying to determine with these analyses.
In parallel, I am collecting wing biopsies. These DNA samples will be genotyped to obtain microsatellites. They will be used to study relatedness of individuals within groups. I am especially interested in male reproductive success in function to group size. I assume it will be more difficult for the dominant male to insure paternity in groups with more females.
And the main goal of this mission is to study the foraging efficiency (weight gain relative to time spent out of roost) in function to group size. Several roosts studied are equipped with automated systems with automated transponder reader and integrated scale. To investigate the effect of group size, I am comparing foraging efficiency for a group of normal size and of modified size. To modify group size, I capture individuals of the group that I keep for several days in captivity. Captive individuals are fed each night with mealworms and released within few days. I have already manipulated three groups, a fourth is ongoing and a fifth will come in the days to come. I have now collected a lot of data, in parallel I am now working on the analyses.