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Amplified cyclicality in mast seeding dynamics positively influences the dynamics of a seed consumer species

Abstract : Temporal autocorrelation in environmental conditions influences population dynamics through its effects on vital rates. However, a comprehensive understanding of how and to what extent temporal autocorrelation shapes population dynamics is still lacking because most empirical studies have unrealistically assumed that environmental conditions are temporally independent. Mast seeding is a biological event characterized by highly fluctuating and synchronized seed production at the tree population scale, as well as a marked negative temporal autocorrelation. In the current context of global change, mast seeding events are expected to become more frequent, leading to strengthened negative temporal autocorrelations and thereby amplified cyclicality in mast seeding dynamics. Theory predicts that population growth rates are maximized when the environmental cyclicality of consumer resources and their generation times are closely matched. To test this prediction, we took advantage of the long-term monitoring of a wild boar population, a widespread seed consumer species characterized by a short generation time (ca. 2 years). As expected, simulations indicated that its stochastic population growth rate increased as mast seeding dynamics became more negatively autocorrelated. Our findings demonstrate that accounting for temporal autocorrelations in environmental conditions relative to generation time of the focal population is required, especially under global warming where the cyclicality in resource dynamics is likely to change.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03788952
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Submitted on : Monday, October 10, 2022 - 3:24:09 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 18, 2022 - 4:31:33 AM

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Laura Touzot, Samuel Venner, Éric Baubet, Cyril Rousset, Jean-Michel Gaillard, et al.. Amplified cyclicality in mast seeding dynamics positively influences the dynamics of a seed consumer species. The American Naturalist, In press, ⟨10.1086/721905⟩. ⟨hal-03788952⟩

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