University of Oulu

Araya-Ajoy, Y.G., Niskanen, A.K., Froy, H., Ranke, P.S., Kvalnes, T., Rønning, B., et al. (2021) Variation in generation time reveals density regulation as an important driver of pace of life in a bird metapopulation. Ecology Letters, 24, 2077– 2087.

Variation in generation time reveals density regulation as an important driver of pace of life in a bird metapopulation

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Author: Araya-Ajoy, Yimen G.1; Niskanen, Alina K.1,2; Froy, Hannah1;
Organizations: 1Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics (CBD), Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway
2Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-10-13


Generation time determines the pace of key demographic and evolutionary processes. Quantified as the weighted mean age at reproduction, it can be studied as a life-history trait that varies within and among populations and may evolve in response to ecological conditions. We combined quantitative genetic analyses with age- and density-dependent models to study generation time variation in a bird metapopulation. Generation time was heritable, and males had longer generation times than females. Individuals with longer generation times had greater lifetime reproductive success but not a higher expected population growth rate. Density regulation acted on recruit production, suggesting that longer generation times should be favoured when populations are closer to carrying capacity. Furthermore, generation times were shorter when populations were growing and longer when populations were closer to equilibrium or declining. These results support classic theory predicting that density regulation is an important driver of the pace of life-history strategies.

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Series: Ecology letters
ISSN: 1461-023X
ISSN-E: 1461-0248
ISSN-L: 1461-023X
Volume: 24
Issue: 10
Pages: 2077 - 2087
DOI: 10.1111/ele.13835
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This study was supported by grants from the Norwegian Research Council (programmes STORFORSK, Strategic University Program in Conservation Biology and project numbers 191847, 221956, 274930 and 302619) and the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management and the EU Commission (project METABIRD). This work was also partly supported by the Research Council of Norway through its Centres of Excellence funding scheme (project number 223257).
Copyright information: © 2021 The Authors. Ecology Letters published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.