Low demographic variability in wild primate populations: fitness impacts of variation, covariation, and serial correlation in vital rates.
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In a stochastic environment, long-term fitness can be influenced by variation, covariation, and serial correlation in vital rates (survival and fertility). Yet no study of an animal population has parsed the contributions of these three aspects of variability to long-term fitness. We do so using a unique database that includes complete life-history information for wild-living individuals of seven primate species that have been the subjects of long-term (22-45 years) behavioral studies. Overall, the estimated levels of vital rate variation had only minor effects on long-term fitness, and the effects of vital rate covariation and serial correlation were even weaker. To explore why, we compared estimated variances of adult survival in primates with values for other vertebrates in the literature and found that adult survival is significantly less variable in primates than it is in the other vertebrates. Finally, we tested the prediction that adult survival, because it more strongly influences fitness in a constant environment, will be less variable than newborn survival, and we found only mixed support for the prediction. Our results suggest that wild primates may be buffered against detrimental fitness effects of environmental stochasticity by their highly developed cognitive abilities, social networks, and broad, flexible diets.
Analysis of Variance
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1086/657443
Publication InfoMorris, William F; Altmann, Jeanne; Brockman, Diane K; Cords, Marina; Fedigan, Linda M; Pusey, Anne E; ... Strier, Karen B (2011). Low demographic variability in wild primate populations: fitness impacts of variation, covariation, and serial correlation in vital rates. Am Nat, 177(1). pp. E14-E28. 10.1086/657443. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/4163.
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Robert F. Durden Distinguished Professor of Biology
Professor of Biology
Bill Morris studies the population ecology of plants and insects (both herbivores and pollinators). Current projects include: the population dynamic consequences of constitutive and inducible resistance in plants, the maintenance of mutualistic interactions between flowering plants and nectar-robbing pollinators, the use of population-level attributes to detect biotic responses
James B. Duke Distinguished Professor Emerita of Evolutionary Anthropology
I have recently retired and am not taking on new students although I am continuing some research projects. I am interested in understanding the evolution of sociality, social structure, and the patterns of competition, cooperation and social bonds in animal species, including humans. Most of my work has focused on social mammals: lions and chimpanzees. For the last twenty five years I have worked almost exclusively on the long term Gombe chimpanzee project. I have gathered the data
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