Meeting Abstract

S4-7  Friday, Jan. 6 11:00 - 11:30  Life history adaptations to seasonality VARPE, Øystein; University Centre in Svalbard

Seasonality is a central template in nature and an important selective force. Organisms display a range of adaptations to the abiotic and biotic processes that make up seasonal environments, leading to periodic time windows for their activities. Adaptations include the timing of key life history events such as reproduction, migrations, and diapause, as well as the plasticity of this timing in response to variability in environmental drivers. To understand the timing of one activity we must understand associated trade-offs and how natural selection shapes the full schedule of activities over the annual cycle – the annual routines. The trade-offs involve the fundamental properties of growth, energy storage, reproduction and survival. Timing of breeding and the associated birth-time dependent contributions to fitness are particularly important for understanding the evolution of annual routines. Seasonality in offspring value is common, but the parent and offspring perspectives on best timing can differ. I discuss these ultimate components of phenology and explain how fitness based models can help us predict optimal annual routines. I will further relate to a few selected questions: To what extent can seasonality and its impact on life history traits be a driver of speciation? What are the long term and carry-over effects of polyphenism generated by birth-time variability? How do we best approach and achieve a synthesis of proximate and ultimate perspectives on phenology? Finally, I also argue that high-latitude ecosystems can provide unique opportunities to answer these questions.