Re-evaluating geographic variation in life-history traits of a widespread Nearctic amphibian

Authors: J M Davenport; Blake R Hossack
Contribution Number: 540

Animals from cold environments are usually larger than animals from warm environments, which often produces clines in body size. Because variation in body size can lead to trade-offs between growth and reproduction, life-history traits should also vary across climatic gradients. To determine if life-history traits of wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) vary with climate, we examined female and male body length, clutch size, and ovum size from 37 locations across an unprecedented 32° of latitude. In conflict with recent research, body size and ovum size decreased in cold climates and at higher latitudes. Clutch size did not vary with climate or latitude, but reproductive effort (clutch size:female size) did, suggesting selection for a life-history traits that favors maximizing propagule number over propagule size in cold climates. With accelerating climate change that will expose populations to novel environmental conditions, it is important to identify the limits of adaptation, which can be informed by greater understanding of variation in life-history traits.

Publication details
Published Date: 2016
Outlet/Publisher: Journal of Zoology 299: 304-310
Media Format:

ARMI Organizational Units:
Rocky Mountains, Northern - Biology
Climate Change; Species and their Ecology
Place Names:
Alaska; Canada; Delaware; Georgia; Illinois; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Minnesota; New Hampshire; New York; North Carolina; Northeast U.S.; Southeast U.S.; Tennessee; United States; Vermont; Virginia; West Virginia; Western US; Wisconsin; Wyoming
amphibians; demographics; distribution; ecology; habitat; hydroperiod; life history; population; research; theory; wildlife habitat
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