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The evolutionary convergence of avian lifestyles and their constrained coevolution with species' ecological niche

AuthorsLaiolo, Paola ; Seoane, Javier; Illera, Juan Carlos ; Bastianelli, Giulia; Carrascal, Luis M. ; Obeso, José Ramón
KeywordsLife-history trade-offs
Phylogenetic comparative method
Realized niche
Reproductive allocation
Issue Date16-Dec-2015
PublisherRoyal Society (Great Britain)
CitationProceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences 282(1821): 20151808 (2015)
AbstractThe fit between life histories and ecological niche is a paradigm of phenotypic evolution, also widely used to explain patterns of species co-occurrence. By analysing the lifestyles of a sympatric avian assemblage, we show that species' solutions to environmental problems are not unbound. We identify a life-history continuum structured on the cost of reproduction along a temperature gradient, as well as habitat-driven parental behaviour. However, environmental fit and trait convergence are limited by niche filling and by within-species variability of niche traits, which is greater than variability of life histories. Phylogeny, allometry and trade-offs are other important constraints: lifetime reproductive investment is tightly bound to body size, and the optimal allocation to reproduction for a given size is not established by niche characteristics but by trade-offs with survival. Life histories thus keep pace with habitat and climate, but under the limitations imposed by metabolism, trade-offs among traits and species' realized niche.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2015.1808
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