A trade-off between robustness to environmental fluctuations and speed of evolution

Max Schmid, Maria Paniw, Maarten Postuma, Arpat Ozgul, Frédéric Guillaume

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Understanding how a species' life history affects its capacity to cope with environmental changes is important in the context of rapid climate changes. Re-interpreting previous results from a well developed theoretical framework, we show that a tradeoff exists between a species' ability to genetically adapt to long-term gradual environmental changes and its ability to demographically resist short-term environmental perturbations causing variation in its vital rates. Surprisingly, this important insight had not been made formally explicit before. Choosing archetypal life histories along the fast-slow pace-of-life continuum and modeling their eco-evolutionary dynamics, we further show that long-lived species have larger demographic robustness to interannual fluctuations but limited trait evolutionary responses in gradually changing environments. In contrast, short-lived species had larger evolvability but reduced demographic robustness. This tradeoff bears heavily on extinction probabilities of populations tracking fast trait changes in stochastic environments. Faster trait evolution in short-lived species came at the expense of their higher sensitivity to short-term fluctuations causing higher extinction rates than for long-lived species. Long-lived species persisted better on short timescales but built maladaptation and an extinction debt over time. This work shows how modeling species' eco-evolutionary dynamics can help to assess species vulnerability to environmental changes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Volume200
Issue number1
Number of pages20
ISSN0003-0147
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
  • environmental stochasticity
  • environmental change
  • life history strategies
  • evolvability
  • sensitivity
  • evolutionary rescue
  • DENSITY-DEPENDENT POPULATIONS
  • LIFE-HISTORY VARIATION
  • FAST-SLOW CONTINUUM
  • COMPARING EVOLVABILITY
  • VARIABLE ENVIRONMENTS
  • ELASTICITY ANALYSIS
  • EXTINCTION
  • DYNAMICS
  • SELECTION
  • VARIABILITY

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