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Lifetime fitness consequences of early-life ecological hardship in a wild mammal population

Marshall, H, Vitikainen, EIK, Mwanguhya, F, Businge, R, Kyabulima, S, Hares, MC, Inzani, E, Kalema-Zikusosa, G, Mwesige, K, Nichols, HJ, Sanderson, JL, Thompson, FJ and Cant, MA (2017) Lifetime fitness consequences of early-life ecological hardship in a wild mammal population. Ecology and Evolution, 7 (6). pp. 1712-1724. ISSN 2045-7758

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1. Early-life ecological conditions have major effects on survival and reproduction. Numerous studies in wild systems show fitness benefits of good quality early-life ecological conditions (‘silver spoon’ effects). 2. Recently, however, some studies have reported that poor quality early-life ecological conditions are associated with later-life fitness advantages and that the effect of early-life conditions can be sex-specific. Furthermore, few studies have investigated the effect of the variability of early-life ecological conditions on later-life fitness. 3. Here we test how the mean and variability of early-life ecological conditions affect the longevity and reproduction of males and females using 14 years of data on wild banded mongooses (Mungos mungo). 4. Males that experienced highly variable ecological conditions during development lived longer and had greater lifetime fitness, while those that experienced poor early-life conditions lived longer but at a cost of reduced fertility. In females there were no such effects. 5. Our study suggests that exposure to more variable environments in early life can result in lifetime fitness benefits whereas differences in the mean early-life conditions experienced mediates a life history trade-off between survival and reproduction. It also demonstrates how early-life ecological conditions can produce different selection pressures on males and females

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Wiley
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2017 08:40
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2022 08:27
DOI or ID number: 10.1002/ece3.2747
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/5208
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