Ontogeny constrains phenology: opportunities for activity and reproduction interact to dictate potential phenologies in a changing climate


As global warming has lengthened the active seasons of many species, we need a framework for predicting how advances in phenology shape the life history and the resulting fitness of organisms. Using an individual-based model, we show how warming differently affects annual cycles of development, growth, reproduction and activity in a group of North American lizards. Populations in cold regions can grow and reproduce more when warming lengthens their active season. However, future warming of currently warm regions advances the reproductive season but reduces the survival of embryos and juveniles. Hence, stressful temperatures during summer can offset predicted gains from extended growth seasons and select for lizards that reproduce after the warm summer months. Understanding these cascading effects of climate change may be crucial to predict shifts in the life history and demography of species.

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Last updated on 03/20/2016