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Natural disasters generate heterogeneity in individual life histories
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  • Alexis A Diaz,
  • Ulrich K Steiner,
  • Shripad Tuljapurkar,
  • Raisa Hernández-Pacheco
Alexis A Diaz
California State University Long Beach College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

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Ulrich K Steiner
Freie Universität Berlin
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Shripad Tuljapurkar
Stanford University
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Stanford University
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Raisa Hernández-Pacheco
California State University Long Beach
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Extreme 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.
15 May 2023Published in Journal of Animal Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.13942