First Evidence for Adoption in California Sea Lions

Ramona Flatz, Leah Gerber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Demographic parameters such as birth and death rates determine the persistence of populations. Understanding the mechanisms that influence these rates is essential to developing effective management strategies. Alloparental behavior, or the care of non-filial young, has been documented in many species and has been shown to influence offspring survival. However, the role of alloparental behavior in maintaining population viability has not been previously studied. Here, we provide the first evidence for adoption in California sea lions and show that adoption potentially works to maintain a high survival rate of young and may ultimately contribute to population persistence. Alloparental behavior should have a positive effect on the population growth rate when the sum of the effects on fitness for the alloparent and beneficiary is positive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13873
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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