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Cues and the optimal timing of activities under environmental changes

journal contribution
posted on 01.12.2011, 00:00 authored by J McNamara, Z Barta, Marcel KlaassenMarcel Klaassen, S Bauer
Organisms time activities by using environmental cues to forecast the future availability of important resources. Presently, there is limited understanding of the relationships between cues and optimal timing, and especially about how this relationship will be affected by environmental changes. We develop a general model to explore the relation between a cue and the optimal timing of an important life history activity. The model quantifies the fitness loss for organisms failing to time behaviours optimally. We decompose the immediate change in fitness resulting from environmental changes into a component that is due to changes in the predictive power of the cue and a component that derives from the mismatch of the old response to the cue to the new environmental conditions. Our results show that consequences may range from negative, neutral to positive and are highly dependent on how cue and optimal timing and their relation are specifically affected by environmental changes.

History

Journal

Ecology letters

Volume

14

Issue

12

Pagination

1183 - 1190

Publisher

Wiley-Blackwell Publishing

Location

London, England

ISSN

1461-023X

eISSN

1461-0248

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2011, Blackwell Publishing