Behaviour, life history and persistence in novel environments

Authored by Joan Maspons, Roberto Molowny-Horas, Daniel Sol

Date Published: 2019

DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2018.0056

Sponsors: No sponsors listed

Platforms: R

Model Documentation: Other Narrative

Model Code URLs: Model code not found


Understanding what affects population growth in novel environments is fundamental to forecast organisms' responses to global change, including biological invasions and land use intensification. Novel environments are challenging because they can cause maladaptation, increasing the risk of extinction by negative population growth. Animals can avoid extinction by improving the phenotype-environment match through behavioural responses, notably matching habitat choice and learning. However, the demographic consequences of these responses remain insufficiently understood in part because they have not been analysed within a life-history context. By means of an individual-based model, we show here that matching habitat choice and learning interact with life history to influence persistence in novel environments. In maladaptive contexts, the likelihood of persisting is higher for life-history strategies that increase the value of adults over the value of offspring, even at the cost of decreasing reproduction. Such a strategy facilitates persistence in novel environments by reducing the costs of a reproductive failure while increasing the benefits of behavioural responses. Our results reinforce the view that a more predictive theory for extinction risk under rapid environmental changes requires considering behavioural responses and life history as part of a common adaptive strategy to cope with environmental changes. This article is part of the theme issue `Linking behaviour to dynamics of populations and communities: application of novel approaches in behavioural ecology to conservation'.
Responses Evolution Dispersal information Consequences Traits Propagule pressure Population-dynamics Urbanization Habitat selection Cognitive ecology Demographic stochasticity Extinction risk Biological invasions