Individual life histories: neither slow nor fast, just diverse

Van de Walle, Joanie, Fay, Rémi, Gaillard, Jean Michel, Pelletier, Fanie, Hamel, Sandra, Gamelon, Marlène, Barbraud, Christophe, Blanchet, F. Guillaume, Blumstein, Daniel T., Charmantier, Anne, Delord, Karine, Larue, Benjamin, Martin, Julien, Mills, James A., Milot, Emmanuel, Mayer, Francine M., Rotella, Jay, Saether, Bernt Erik, Teplitsky, Céline, van de Pol, Martijn, Van Vuren, Dirk H., Visser, Marcel E., Wells, Caitlin P., Yarrall, John, and Jenouvrier, Stéphanie (2023) Individual life histories: neither slow nor fast, just diverse. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological Sciences, 290 (2002). 20230511.

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The slow–fast continuum is a commonly used framework to describe variation in life-history strategies across species. Individual life histories have also been assumed to follow a similar pattern, especially in the pace-of-life syndrome literature. However, whether a slow–fast continuum commonly explains life-history variation among individuals within a population remains unclear. Here, we formally tested for the presence of a slow–fast continuum of life histories both within populations and across species using detailed long-term individual-based demographic data for 17 bird and mammal species with markedly different life histories. We estimated adult lifespan, age at first reproduction, annual breeding frequency, and annual fecundity, and identified the main axes of life-history variation using principal component analyses. Across species, we retrieved the slow–fast continuum as the main axis of life-history variation. However, within populations, the patterns of individual life-history variation did not align with a slow–fast continuum in any species. Thus, a continuum ranking individuals from slow to fast living is unlikely to shape individual differences in life histories within populations. Rather, individual life-history variation is likely idiosyncratic across species, potentially because of processes such as stochasticity, density dependence, and individual differences in resource acquisition that affect species differently and generate non-generalizable patterns across species.

Item ID: 79478
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2954
Keywords: demography, individual heterogeneity, intra-specific variation, pace-of-life syndrome, slow–fast continuum, trade-off
Copyright Information: © 2023 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2023 06:27
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310307 Population ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 100%
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