In nature, selection varies across time in most environments, but we lack an understanding of how specific ecological changes drive this variation. Ecological factors can alter phenotypic selection coefficients through changes in trait distributions or individual mean fitness, even when the trait-absolute fitness relationship remains constant. We apply and extend a regression-based approach in a population of Soay sheep (Ovis aries) and suggest metrics of environment-selection relationships that can be compared across studies. We then introduce a novel method which constructs an environmentally-structured fitness function. This allows calculation of full (as in existing approaches) and partial (acting separately through the absolute fitness function slope, mean fitness, and phenotype distribution) sensitivities of selection to an ecological variable. Both approaches show positive overall effects of density on viability selection of lamb mass. However, the second approach demonstrates that this relationship is largely driven by effects of density on mean fitness, rather than on the trait-fitness relationship slope. If such mechanisms of environmental dependence of selection are common, this could have important implications regarding the frequency of fluctuating selection, and how previous selection inferences relate to longer-term evolutionary dynamics.
When using this data, please cite the original publication:
Hunter DC, Pemberton JM, Pilkington JG, Morrissey MB (2018) Quantification and decomposition of environment-selection relationships. Evolution 72(4): 851-866. https://doi.org/10.1111/evo.13461
Additionally, please cite the Dryad data package:
Hunter DC, Pemberton JM, Pilkington JG, Morrissey MB (2018) Data from: Quantification and decomposition of environment-selection relationships. Dryad Digital Repository. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.6c4k28q
|Date made available||27 Feb 2018|
|Geographical coverage||St Kilda|