From maladaptivity to adaptivity -the evolution of developmental timing

4 March 2011
Dr Christina Cobbold
The timing of developmental milestones such as egg hatch or bud break can be important predictors of population success and survival. Many insect species rely directly on temperature as a cue for their developmental timing. With environments constantly under presure to change, developmental timing has become highly adaptive in order to maintain seasonal synchrony. However, climatic change is threatening this synchrony. Our model couples existing models of developmental timing to a quatitative genetics framework which descibes the evolution of developmental parameters. We use this approach to examine the ability of a population to adapt to an enviroment that it is highly maladapted to. Through a combination of numerical and analtyical approaches we explore the dynamics of the infinite dimensional system of integrodifference equations. The model indicates that developmental timing is surprisingly robust in its ability to maitain synchrony even under climatic change which works constantly to maintain maladaptivity.
  • Mathematical Biology and Ecology Seminar