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Understanding how terrestrial vertebrate life-history shape responses to climatic seasonality and landscape heterogeneity

Albaladejo Robles, Gonzalo; (2022) Understanding how terrestrial vertebrate life-history shape responses to climatic seasonality and landscape heterogeneity. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Life-history theory posits that species pace of life can be described based on species life-history traits: fast species, which have short lifespans and produce numerous offspring; and slow species, which have long lifespans but fewer offspring. A continuum of life-history strategies can be defined between these two extremes. Theoretically, these life-history strategies will give species competitive advantages under different environmental conditions. Fast species are expected to be favoured in more variable environments, whereas slow species are expected to thrive in more homogeneous or stable habitats. This hypothesis is deeply rooted in ecology and conservation, but it hasn´t been tested at a global scale. Filling this gap can allow us to better understand how species respond to anthropogenic environmental changes. In this thesis, I explore how life-history strategies and environmental factors influence the distributions, community composition, and population trends of terrestrial vertebrate species. In Chapter 3, I found that life-history strategies influence the probability of occurrence of species under different conditions of climatic seasonality and landscape heterogeneity. Extending my focus to whole species communities, I found that communities under human-impacted land uses, and climatically seasonal environments have species spanning a wider range of life-history types (life-history richness) and are dominated by fast species (Chapter 4). In my final experimental chapter, I investigated how populations of species with different life-history strategies change due to land-cover and climate warming. Here I show how fast species have benefited from recent land-cover conversions, while slow-lived species’ populations have declined (Chapter 5). Combined, these results show how species life-history influence key species responses to natural gradients and environmental change, and which are the implications of these responses to the conservation of biodiversity. Individually, each experiment shows how the study of interactions between biodiversity and environmental conditions can benefit from the inclusion of species traits.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Understanding how terrestrial vertebrate life-history shape responses to climatic seasonality and landscape heterogeneity
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2022. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10155494
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