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

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

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikelVetenskapligPeer review


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.
TidskriftAmerican Naturalist
Antal sidor20
StatusPublicerad - juli 2022
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


  • 1181 Ekologi, evolutionsbiologi

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