Ecology and allometry predict the evolution of avian developmental durations
Cooney, Christopher R.
Clark, Andrew D.
Healy, Susan D.
Street, Sally E.
Troisi, Camille A.
Thomas, Gavin H.
The duration of the developmental period represents a fundamental axis of life-history variation, yet broad insights regarding the drivers of this diversity are currently lacking. Here, we test mechanistic and ecological explanations for the evolution of developmental duration using embryological data and information on incubation and fledging for 3096 avian species. Developmental phases associated primarily with growth are the longest and most variable, consistent with a role for allometric constraint in determining the duration of development. In addition, developmental durations retain a strong imprint of deep evolutionary history and body size differences among species explain less variation than previously thought. Finally, we reveal ecological correlates of developmental durations, including variables associated with the relative safety of the developmental environment and pressures of breeding phenology. Overall, our results provide broad-scale insight into the relative importance of mechanistic, ecological and evolutionary constraints in shaping the diversification of this key life-history trait.
Behavioural ecology , Evolutionary developmental biology , Macroecology , Phylogenetics
Cooney, C. R., Sheard, C., Clark, A. D., Healy, S. D., Liker, A., Street, S. E., Troisi, C. A., Thomas, G. H., Székely, T., Hemmings, N. and Wright, A. E. (2020) 'Ecology and allometry predict the evolution of avian developmental durations', Nature Communications, 11(1), 2383 (13 pp). doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-16257-x
© The Author(s) 2020. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.