Mothers shape ecological communities

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Science  20 Feb 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6224, pp. 822-823
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa6480

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The species assemblages that make up ecological communities change over time (1), in part as a result of interactions among species such as predation and competition. However, it is often not clear how interactions among individuals scale up to affect broader ecological processes such as changes in species assemblages (2, 3). On page 875 of this issue, Duckworth et al. (4) provide field evidence for how individual competition between members of different bird species leads to changes in community composition. The key to these observations lies in maternal hormone changes that affect their sons' behavioral characteristics.