Meeting Abstract

S6-2.4  Sunday, Jan. 6  The effects of changing nutrient inputs on sexual selection dynamics and life history evolution SNELL-ROOD, EC*; MOREHOUSE, NI; University of Minnesota; University of Pittsburgh

Discussions of rapid human-induced environmental change often focus on the loss or disruption of critical resources, such as habitat destruction, pesticide contamination or drought in the face of climate change. However, humans are also significantly increasing the availability of crucial nutrients or resources that were once limited. For instance, salt, nitrogen, phosphorus and lipid availability have increased in certain habitats or regions due to human activity. In some cases, such changes may have positive impacts on the growth and development of individuals. This talk discusses the longer term evolutionary consequences of such changes in nutrient availability. In particular, increased availability of once limited nutrients may relax sexual selection intensity and shift selection to novel traits. Changing nutrient dynamics may also alter patterns of energy allocation that are relevant to life history evolution. We present data from a butterfly system illustrating the potential impacts of altered nitrogen availability on mating systems and conclude with suggestions for future research in this area.