Environmental heterogeneity favors fast-lived and larger species

Fellow Gonzalo Albaladejo gave a talk entitled Environmental heterogeneity favors fast-lived and larger species on 17 June 2021 during the symposium III of the online 100th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists.

You can find the programme here.

[Oral presentation] Gonzalo Albaladejo-Robles (2021) Environmental heterogeneity favors fast-lived and larger species, Symposium III Global Trends in Mammals, 100th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists, online.

Abstract: Human-driven environmental perturbations, such as land-use and climate change, are creating an increasingly heterogeneous environment. These changes can have severe consequences for species’ distributions and community structure. However, some species present characteristics that made them more resilient to these changes than others. Life-history traits have been hypothesized to be important determinants of species response to environmental variation. Under this hypothesis, species with fast life-histories (early sexual maturity, large number of offspring, etc) are more likely to prosper in heterogeneous habitats, while species with slow life-histories (late sexual maturity, few offspring, etc) thrive at homogeneous or more stable habitats. This hypothesis is deeply rooted in ecology but has not been tested at a global scale. We performed a global study, analysing the influence of life-history strategies on mammal species responses to environmental heterogeneity due to land-cover, climate, and topography. We find that species responses to environmental heterogeneity vary according to their sizes and life-history strategies: as expected, larger and faster species are more likely to occur in heterogeneous and fragmented habitats, whereas smaller and slower species are more likely to be present in homogeneous, less fragmented and more climatically stable habitats. In the current context of accelerated environmental degradation, these results can be used to identify vulnerable unsampled species and to predict the response of species to future changes. Human-driven environmental perturbations, such as land-use and climate change, are creating an increasingly heterogeneous environment.