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Cues and the optimal timing of activities under environmental changes

McNamara, J.M. and Barta, Z. and Klaassen, M.R.J. and Bauer, S. (2011) Cues and the optimal timing of activities under environmental changes. Ecology Letters, 14, 1183-1190. ISSN 1461-023X.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01686.x

Abstract

Organisms time activities by using environmental cues to forecast the future availability of important resources. Presently, there is limited understanding of the relationships between cues and optimal timing, and especially about how this relationship will be affected by environmental changes. We develop a general model to explore the relation between a cue and the optimal timing of an important life history activity. The model quantifies the fitness loss for organisms failing to time behaviours optimally. We decompose the immediate change in fitness resulting from environmental changes into a component that is due to changes in the predictive power of the cue and a component that derives from the mismatch of the old response to the cue to the new environmental conditions. Our results show that consequences may range from negative, neutral to positive and are highly dependent on how cue and optimal timing and their relation are specifically affected by environmental changes.

Item Type:Article
Institutes:Nederlands Instituut voor Ecologie (NIOO)
ID Code:9756
Deposited On:07 Oct 2011 02:00
Last Modified:24 Apr 2012 16:41

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