Life histories as mosaics: Plastic and genetic components differ among traits that underpin life-history strategies

Anja Felmy, David N Reznick, Joseph Travis, Tomos Potter, Tim Coulson

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


Life-history phenotypes emerge from clusters of traits that are the product of genes and phenotypic plasticity. If the impact of the environment differs substantially between traits, then life histories might not evolve as a cohesive whole. We quantified the sensitivity of components of the life history to food availability, a key environmental difference in the habitat occupied by contrasting ecotypes, for 36 traits in fast- and slow-reproducing Trinidadian guppies. Our dataset included six putatively independent origins of the slow-reproducing, derived ecotype. Traits varied substantially in plastic and genetic control. Twelve traits were influenced only by food availability (body lengths, body weights), five only by genetic differentiation (interbirth intervals, offspring sizes), 10 by both (litter sizes, reproductive timing), and nine by neither (fat contents, reproductive allotment). Ecotype-by-food interactions were negligible. The response to low food was aligned with the genetic difference between high- and low-food environments, suggesting that plasticity was adaptive. The heterogeneity among traits in environmental sensitivity and genetic differentiation reveals that the components of the life history may not evolve in concert. Ecotypes may instead represent mosaics of trait groups that differ in their rate of evolution.

Sidor (från-till)585-604
Antal sidor20
TidskriftEvolution; international journal of organic evolution
StatusPublished - 2022 mars
Externt publiceradJa

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© 2022 The Authors. Evolution published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of The Society for the Study of Evolution.


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