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The benefits of maternal effects in novel and in stable environments.

Hoyle, RB and Ezard, TH (2012) The benefits of maternal effects in novel and in stable environments. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 9 (75). pp. 2403-2413.

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Natural selection favours phenotypes that match prevailing ecological conditions. A rapid process of adaptation is therefore required in changing environments. Maternal effects can facilitate such responses, but it is currently poorly understood under which circumstances maternal effects may accelerate or slow down the rate of phenotypic evolution. Here, we use a quantitative genetic model, including phenotypic plasticity and maternal effects, to suggest that the relationship between fitness and phenotypic variance plays an important role. Intuitive expectations that positive maternal effects are beneficial are supported following an extreme environmental shift, but, if too strong, that shift can also generate oscillatory dynamics that overshoot the optimal phenotype. In a stable environment, negative maternal effects that slow phenotypic evolution actually minimize variance around the optimum phenotype and thus maximize population mean fitness.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Mathematics
Authors :
Hoyle, RB
Ezard, TH
Date : 7 October 2012
DOI : 10.1098/rsif.2012.0183
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 01 Oct 2012 15:47
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 14:36

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