Electronic Supplemental Materials for: Individual repeatability and heritability of divorce in a wild population

Understanding micro-evolutionary responses of mating systems to contemporary selection requires estimating sex-specific additive genetic variances and cross-sex genetic covariances in key reproductive strategy traits. One key trait comprises the occurrence of divorce versus mate-fidelity across sequential reproductive attempts. If divorce represents an evolving behavioural strategy that responds to selection it must have non-zero individual repeatability and heritability, but quantitative estimates from wild populations are scarce. We used 39 years of individual breeding records and pedigree data from free-living song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) to quantify sex-specific permanent individual and additive genetic variances, and hence estimate repeatability and heritability, in liability for divorce. We estimated moderate repeatability among females, but little repeatability among males. Estimates of additive genetic variance were small in both sexes, and the cross-sex genetic covariance was close to zero. Consequently, the total heritability was small but likely non-zero, indicating low potential for micro-evolutionary response to selection. Rapid micro-evolutionary change of divorce rate, therefore, appears unlikely, even if there were substantial fitness benefits of divorce and resulting selection.