Small-scale spatial variation in evolvability for life-history traits in the storm petrel

Authors

  • SIN-YEON KIM,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institut Mediterrani d'Estudis Avançats IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB), Miquel Marqués 21, 07190 Esporles, Mallorca, Spain
    2. Departamento de Ecoloxía e Bioloxía Animal, Universidade de Vigo, 36310 Vigo, Spain
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  • ANA SANZ-AGUILAR,

    1. Biometry and Population Biology Group, Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE-CNRS) UMR 5175, 1919 Route de Mende, F-34293 Montpellier, France
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  • EDUARDO MÍNGUEZ,

    1. Parque Natural Serra Gelada y su entono litoral (Generalitat Valenciana), Paseo de la Carretera 34, 03501 Benidorm, Alicante, Spain
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  • DANIEL ORO

    1. Institut Mediterrani d'Estudis Avançats IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB), Miquel Marqués 21, 07190 Esporles, Mallorca, Spain
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E-mail: yeonkim@uvigo.es

Abstract

The evolutionary potential in the timing of recruitment and reproduction may be crucial for the ability of populations to buffer against environmental changes, allowing them to avoid unfavourable breeding conditions. The evolution of a trait in a local population is determined by its heritability and selection. In the present study, we performed pedigree-based quantitative genetic analyses for two life-history traits (recruiting age and laying date) using population data of the storm petrel over an 18-year period in two adjacent breeding colonies (only 150 m apart) that share the same environmental conditions. In both traits, natal colony effect was the main source of the phenotypic variation among individuals, and cohort variance for recruitment age and additive genetic variance for laying date were natal colony-specific. We found significant heritability only in laying date and, more specifically, only in birds born in one of the colonies. The difference in genetic variance between the colonies was statistically significant. Interestingly, selection on earlier breeding birds was detected only in the colony in which heritable variation in laying date was found. Therefore, local evolvability for a life-history trait may vary within a unexpectedly small spatial scale, through the diversifying natural selection and insulating gene flow. © 2012 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2012, 106, 439–446.

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