Browsing by Author "Humphries, Murray M."
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- ItemFitness consequences of peak reproductive effort in a resource pulse system(2017) Hämäläinen, Anni; McAdam, Andrew G.; Dantzer, Ben; Lane, Jeffrey E.; Haines, Jessica A.; Humphries, Murray M.; Boutin, StanThe age trajectory of reproductive performance of many iteroparous species features an early - life increase in performance followed by a late - life senescent decline. The largest contribution of lifetime reproductive success is therefore gained at the age at which reproductive performance peaks. Using long term data on North American red squirrels we show that the environmental conditions individuals encountered could cause variation among individuals in the “height” and timing of this peak, contributing to life history variation and fitness in this population that experiences irregular resource pulses. As expected, high peak effort was positively associated with lifetime reproductive output up to a high level of annual effort. Furthermore, individuals that matched their peak reproductive effort to an anticipated resource pulse gained substantial fitness benefits through recruiting more offspring over their lifetime. Individual variation in peak reproductive effort thus has strong potential to shape life history evolution by facilitating adaptation to fluctuating environments.
- ItemSex- and context-specific associations between personality and a measure of fitness but no link with life history traits(2020) Haines, Jessica A.; Nason, Sarah E.; Skurdal, Alyshia M. M.; Bourchier, Tenal; Boutin, Stan; Taylor, Ryan W.; McAdam, Andrew G.; Lane, Jeffrey E.; Kelley, Amanda D.; Humphries, Murray M.The pace-of-life syndrome hypothesis posits that personality traits (i.e. consistent individual differences in behaviour) are linked to life history and fitness. Specifically, fast-paced individuals are predicted to be proactive (i.e. active and aggressive) with an earlier age at first reproduction, a shorter life span and higher fecundity than slow-paced individuals. Environmental conditions and sex differences may be important in maintaining behavioural and life history variation in populations and may influence the covariance of personality with life history or lifetime fitness. However, these effects are rarely tested together. We investigated whether the occurrence of a resource pulse (called a mast year) during adulthood altered the associations between personality and life history traits or lifetime offspring production in adult North American red squirrels, Tamiasciurus hudsonicus. Despite accounting for environmental context during adulthood, we found no evidence of an overall pace-of-life syndrome in this population as personality was not associated with age at first reproduction or longevity in either sex. Males and females had similar activity levels, but females were more aggressive, potentially due to the fitness benefits of protecting their offspring from predation. In all females, regardless of mast experience, there was no association between activity and lifetime pup production, but there was a positive association between aggression and lifetime pup production. In males that experienced a mast, there was a positive association between lifetime pup production and both activity and aggression. In males that did not experience a mast, there was no association between activity and lifetime pup production, but there was a negative association between aggression and lifetime pup production. Lifetime recruit production (number of adult offspring recruited into the breeding population) in either sex was not influenced by activity or aggression regardless of mast experience. Overall, our results suggest that the infrequent occurrence of mast years may contribute to maintaining variation in personality traits in red squirrels.
- ItemSexually selected infanticide by male red squirrels in advance of a mast year(2018) Haines, Jessica A.; Coltman, David W.; Dantzer, Ben; Gorrell, Jamieson C.; Humphries, Murray M.; Lane, Jeffrey E.; McAdam, Andrew G.; Boutin, StanNorth American red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) anticipate when white spruce (Picea glauca), their primary food source, will produce large amounts of cones in infrequent and irregular mast years (Boutin et al. 2006). Cones mature in autumn and are then available as food for red squirrels, but females produce larger, and often multiple, litters the preceding spring and summer in anticipation of the upcoming mast. Because this pulse of the cone food resource follows the birth of the litter, it cannot be a source of energy for the female to produce young; instead, there must be cues for increased reproductive investment by the females prior to mast cone production, perhaps through consumption of buds on the masting trees (Boutin et al. 2006, 2013). Boutin et al. (2006) only studied females; whether male behavior anticipates mast years is still unstudied. At our study area in the Yukon, 2014 was a mast year for spruce cone production in late summer (Lamontagne et al. 2005). J. A. Haines was observing male red squirrel mating behavior during spring 2014, giving her an unanticipated opportunity to document the previously unstudied effects of a mast year on male red squirrels.