In Light of Ecology: Eco-Evolutionary Strategies for Persistence in Seasonal Environments
My dissertation developed and applied a conceptual framework for addressing questions about ultimate eco-evolutionary drivers of organismal responses to seasonality such as seasonal migration and variance in life history strategies. Using this framework I, with many collaborators, combined a theoretical model of organismal metabolism and an analysis of a global dataset to explore constraints on life history strategies across gradients of seasonal resource variance. Our work shows that stable environments produce greater variance in which life history tradeoffs are possible which my, in turn, may be related to latitudinal gradients in species diversity. I also explored the ultimate ecological drivers of long-distance migration using Flammulated Owls as a model system. We showed that winter resource scarcity favors migration which, in turn, results in flattening the amplitude of seasonal resource cycles experienced by individuals. These results point at the possibility of links between behavioral strategies for persistence in seasonal environments and realized constraints on important life history tradeoffs.