Cues and the optimal timing of activities under environmental changes

McNamara, John M., Barta, Zoltan, Klaassen, Marcel and Bauer, Silke 2011, Cues and the optimal timing of activities under environmental changes, Ecology letters, vol. 14, no. 12, pp. 1183-1190.

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Title Cues and the optimal timing of activities under environmental changes
Author(s) McNamara, John M.
Barta, Zoltan
Klaassen, MarcelORCID iD for Klaassen, Marcel
Bauer, Silke
Journal name Ecology letters
Volume number 14
Issue number 12
Start page 1183
End page 1190
Total pages 8
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2011-12
ISSN 1461-023X
Keyword(s) cue-response
evolutionary trap
fitness loss
life history activity
reaction norm
Summary 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.
Language eng
Field of Research 060299 Ecology not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2011, Blackwell Publishing
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