Natural disasters generate heterogeneity in individual life histories
AbstractExtreme climatic events may influence individual-level variability in
phenotypes, survival, and reproduction, and thereby drive the pace of
evolution. Here, we quantify how experiencing major hurricanes
influences individual life courses in the Cayo Santiago rhesus macaques.
Our results show that major hurricanes increase heterogeneity in
reproductive life courses despite an average reduction in mean fertility
and survival, i.e. shortened life courses. In agreement with this, the
population is expected to achieve stable population dynamics faster
after a hurricane. Our work suggests that natural disasters force
individuals into new niches to potentially reduce strong competition
during poor environments where mean reproduction and survival are
compromised. We also demonstrate that variance in lifetime reproductive
success and longevity are differently affected by hurricanes, and such
variability is mostly driven by survival.