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Coupled dynamics of body mass and population growth in response to environmental change


Ozgul, Arpat; Childs, Dylan Z; Oli, Madan K; Armitage, Kenneth B; Blumstein, Daniel T; Olson, Lucretia E; Tuljapurkar, Shripad; Coulson, Tim (2010). Coupled dynamics of body mass and population growth in response to environmental change. Nature, 466:482-485.

Abstract

Environmental change has altered the phenology, morphological traits and population dynamics of many species(1,2). However, the links underlying these joint responses remain largely unknown owing to a paucity of long-term data and the lack of an appropriate analytical framework(3). Here we investigate the link between phenotypic and demographic responses to environmental change using a new methodology and a long-term (1976-2008) data set from a hibernating mammal (the yellow-bellied marmot) inhabiting a dynamic subalpine habitat. We demonstrate how earlier emergence from hibernation and earlier weaning of young has led to a longer growing season and larger body masses before hibernation. The resulting shift in both the phenotype and the relationship between phenotype and fitness components led to a decline in adult mortality, which in turn triggered an abrupt increase in population size in recent years. Direct and trait-mediated effects of environmental change made comparable contributions to the observed marked increase in population growth. Our results help explain how a shift in phenology can cause simultaneous phenotypic and demographic changes, and highlight the need for a theory integrating ecological and evolutionary dynamics in stochastic environments(4,5).

Abstract

Environmental change has altered the phenology, morphological traits and population dynamics of many species(1,2). However, the links underlying these joint responses remain largely unknown owing to a paucity of long-term data and the lack of an appropriate analytical framework(3). Here we investigate the link between phenotypic and demographic responses to environmental change using a new methodology and a long-term (1976-2008) data set from a hibernating mammal (the yellow-bellied marmot) inhabiting a dynamic subalpine habitat. We demonstrate how earlier emergence from hibernation and earlier weaning of young has led to a longer growing season and larger body masses before hibernation. The resulting shift in both the phenotype and the relationship between phenotype and fitness components led to a decline in adult mortality, which in turn triggered an abrupt increase in population size in recent years. Direct and trait-mediated effects of environmental change made comparable contributions to the observed marked increase in population growth. Our results help explain how a shift in phenology can cause simultaneous phenotypic and demographic changes, and highlight the need for a theory integrating ecological and evolutionary dynamics in stochastic environments(4,5).

Citations

207 citations in Web of Science®
210 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:28 Mar 2013 13:32
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:41
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:0028-0836
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/nature09210

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