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Free Content The evolutionary ecology of nest construction: insight from recent fish studies

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Nests are built by a wide variety of animals as functional receptacles for developing eggs and offspring, and they play a critical role in the reproductive biology of many species. Traditionally, research on the ecology and evolution of nest building and construction behaviour has focused primarily on birds, and avian studies have dominated the literature. However, as researchers working on non-bird models have realised the importance of nest construction in evolutionary ecology, the number of studies published on the nesting behaviour of nonbird taxa has increased. An analysis of the literature reveals that fish have become major models for studying many aspects of nest building behaviour, but whereas studies of fish nest building behaviour frequently cite classical and contemporary bird studies, the findings of recent fish nesting research appears to be slower to be recognised by bird biologists. Further analysis reveals that this citation bias may arise because of the tendency of nest building studies to be published in taxon-specific, often local journals, and this may be especially the case for bird-focused studies. In this review, I summarise the recent literature on fish nesting behaviour, focusing on aspects that should be of mutual interest to fish and bird biologists. I hope that the review may be used by bird biologists to identify complementary and insightful nest-building research in fish, and that researchers with interests in the nest-building behaviour of animals across the taxonomic spectrum might use the review to focus on questions of mutual and general importance and interest.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2013

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  • Science Reviews 2000 is pleased to announce that Avian Biology Research has been acquired by SAGE Publishing as of 7th December 2018. For more information, please visit

    Avian Biology Research provides a forum for the publication of research in every field of ornithology. It covers all aspects of pure and applied ornithology for wild or captive species as well as research that does not readily fit within the publication objectives of other ornithological journals. By considering a wide range of research fields for publication, Avian Biology Research provides a forum for people working in every field of ornithology. The journal also includes sections on avian news, conference diary and book reviews.

    Editor-in-Chief: Charles Deeming Editors: Tom Pike; Dale Sandercock; Claudia Wascher; Josh Firth; David Wilkinson; Jim Reynolds Production Editor: Claire Pike

    Cover image: Satyr Tragopan (Tragopan satyra). Credit: jurra8/

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