Modeling effects of environmental change on wolf population dynamics, trait evolution, and life history.
Coulson T., MacNulty DR., Stahler DR., vonHoldt B., Wayne RK., Smith DW.
Environmental change has been observed to generate simultaneous responses in population dynamics, life history, gene frequencies, and morphology in a number of species. But how common are such eco-evolutionary responses to environmental change likely to be? Are they inevitable, or do they require a specific type of change? Can we accurately predict eco-evolutionary responses? We address these questions using theory and data from the study of Yellowstone wolves. We show that environmental change is expected to generate eco-evolutionary change, that changes in the average environment will affect wolves to a greater extent than changes in how variable it is, and that accurate prediction of the consequences of environmental change will probably prove elusive.