Age-dependent effects of moderate differences in environmental predictability forecasted by climate change, experimental evidence from a short-lived lizard (Zootoca vivipara)

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Masó, G.
Kaufmann, Joshka
Clavero, H.
Fitze, P. S.
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Springer Nature
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Whether and how differences in environmental predictability affect life-history traits is controversial and may depend on mean environmental conditions. Solid evidence for effects of environmental predictability are lacking and thus, the consequences of the currently observed and forecasted climate-change induced reduction of precipitation predictability are largely unknown. Here we experimentally tested whether and how changes in the predictability of precipitation affect growth, reproduction, and survival of common lizard Zootoca vivipara. Precipitation predictability affected all three age classes. While adults were able to compensate the treatment effects, yearlings and juvenile females were not able to compensate negative effects of less predictable precipitation on growth and body condition, respectively. Differences among the age-classes’ response reflect differences (among age-classes) in the sensitivity to environmental predictability. Moreover, effects of environmental predictability depended on mean environmental conditions. This indicates that integrating differences in environmental sensitivity, and changes in averages and the predictability of climatic variables will be key to understand whether species are able to cope with the current climatic change.
Climate change ecology , Evolutionary ecology , Population dynamics , Projection and prediction , Theoretical ecology