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Journal Article

Environmental effects on the covariation among pace‐of‐life traits


Guenther,  Anja
Department Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Hämäläinen, A. M., Guenther, A., Patrick, S. C., & Schuett, W. (2020). Environmental effects on the covariation among pace‐of‐life traits. Ethology, 00, 1-13. doi:10.1111/eth.13098.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-7E71-D
Pace‐of‐life syndromes (POLSs) are suites of life‐history, physiological and behavioural traits that arise due to trade‐offs between allocation to current and future reproduction. Traits generally show covariation that can arise from genetic and environmental influences on phenotypes and constrain the independent evolution of traits, resulting in fitness consequences and impacts on population dynamics. The notion that correlations among traits may vary among populations along environmental gradients suggests an important role for the environment in shaping and maintaining POLSs. However, no synthesis has been attempted of the myriad ways in which environmental factors should influence POLSs. Here, we formulate a series of hypotheses targeting the critical interfaces of the environment and life‐history ‐ behaviour associations across different organisms. We discuss the hypotheses in light of findings from a systematic review of studies that measured changes in the association between behaviour and life‐history traits as a function of environmental conditions. The review revealed that POLSs are often shaped by environmental variation, where harshness of the environment in early life has the most consistent effects on POLS. However, only partial or no effects of environmental variation were found in a number of studies, which may result from the highly variable study systems, traits and environments studied. We highlight promising directions arising from the available studies and identify knowledge gaps that, if unaddressed, will impede progress in the field.