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Life history responses of meerkats to seasonal changes in extreme environments


Paniw, Maria; Maag, Nino; Cozzi, Gabriele; Clutton-Brock, Tim; Ozgul, Arpat (2019). Life history responses of meerkats to seasonal changes in extreme environments. Science, 363(6427):631-635.

Abstract

Species in extreme habitats increasingly face changes in seasonal climate, but the demographic mechanisms through which these changes affect population persistence remain unknown. We investigated how changes in seasonal rainfall and temperature influence vital rates and viability of an arid environment specialist, the Kalahari meerkat, through effects on body mass. We show that climate change–induced reduction in adult mass in the prebreeding season would decrease fecundity during the breeding season and increase extinction risk, particularly at low population densities. In contrast, a warmer nonbreeding season resulting in increased mass and survival would buffer negative effects of reduced rainfall during the breeding season, ensuring persistence. Because most ecosystems undergo seasonal climate variations, a full understanding of species vulnerability to global change relies on linking seasonal trait and population dynamics.

Abstract

Species in extreme habitats increasingly face changes in seasonal climate, but the demographic mechanisms through which these changes affect population persistence remain unknown. We investigated how changes in seasonal rainfall and temperature influence vital rates and viability of an arid environment specialist, the Kalahari meerkat, through effects on body mass. We show that climate change–induced reduction in adult mass in the prebreeding season would decrease fecundity during the breeding season and increase extinction risk, particularly at low population densities. In contrast, a warmer nonbreeding season resulting in increased mass and survival would buffer negative effects of reduced rainfall during the breeding season, ensuring persistence. Because most ecosystems undergo seasonal climate variations, a full understanding of species vulnerability to global change relies on linking seasonal trait and population dynamics.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Multidisciplinary
Language:English
Date:8 February 2019
Deposited On:15 Mar 2019 12:52
Last Modified:25 Sep 2019 00:26
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science
ISSN:0036-8075
Additional Information:This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of the AAAS for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Science 10.1126/science.aau5905
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aau5905
PubMed ID:30733418

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