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Life-history responses to environmental stress in butterflies

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Oskar Brattstrom.

Organisms in the wild are constantly faced with a wide range of environmental change, for example, in resource availability and thermal conditions. Understanding how organisms may cope with such variation is becoming increasingly important due to human caused phenomena, such as habitat fragmentation, habitat degradation and climate change.

Variation in environmental conditions can have both direct and indirect (i.e. via maternal effects) influence on individual quality (condition) and life history, and it may even affect population persistence. Experiencing environmental stress during development can impact resulting adult life histories and individual fitness via changes in individual quality (e.g. immunity), growth trajectories and/or resource allocation patterns. Even though responses to environmental stress are often negative, a growing number of studies are indicating high levels of variation among individuals to cope with such stress. Furthermore, under certain environmental conditions early experience of environmental stress may yield individuals, which are less sensitive to environmental stress later on in life.

In my presentation, I will discuss these issues by presenting some recent work on the Glanville fritillary butterfly, which in Finland persists as a metapopulation, and in which variation in environmental conditions among the local populations is known to be one of the main driving factors of the observed fast population turnover.

This talk is part of the Behaviour, Ecology & Evolution Seminar Series series.

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