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The costs of mischoosing are not uniform across individuals


Matching habitat choice is a particular form of habitat selection based on self?assessment of local performance that offers individuals a means to optimize the match of phenotype to the environment. Despite the advantages of this mechanism in terms of increased local adaptation, examples from natural populations are extremely rare. One possible reason for the apparent rarity of matching habitat choice is that it might be manifest only in those segments of a population for which the cost of a phenotype–environment mismatch is high. To test this hypothesis, we used a breeding population of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) exposed to size-dependent predation risk by bears, and evaluated the costs of mischoosing in discrete groups (e.g. male versus females, and ocean?age 2 versus ocean?age 3) using reproductive life span as a measure of individual performance. Bear preference for larger fish, especially in shallow water, translates into a performance trade-off that sockeye salmon can potentially use to guide their settlement decisions. Consistent with matching habitat choice, we found that salmon of similar ocean?age and size tended to cluster together in sites of similar water depth. However, matching habitat choice was only favoured in 3?ocean females – the segment of the population most vulnerable to bear predation. This study illustrates the unequal relevance of matching habitat choice to different segments of a population, and suggests that ‘partial matching habitat choice' could have resulted in an underestimation of the actual prevalence of this mechanism in nature. informacion[at] Camacho & Hendry (2020) Matching habitat choice: it's not for everyone. Oikos DOI 10.1111/oik.06932
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New publication: Niche shifts in invase species

Niche shifts in invase species

Analysing how species niches shift between native and introduced ranges is a powerful tool for understanding the determinants of species distributions and for anticipating range expansions by invasive species. Most studies only consider the climatic niche, by correlating widely available presence-only data with regional climate. However, habitat characteristics and disturbance also shape species niches, thereby potentially confounding shifts attributed only to differences in climate. Presence and abundance data for Oxalis pes-caprae were used, a species native to South Africa and invading areas globally, to understand how niche shifts may be influenced by disturbance at habitat and landscape scales in addition to climate. Available presence-only data and data of extensive surveys of the abundance of Oxalis (c. 11,000 plots) across different habitats in South Africa and in the introduced range in the Mediterranean Basin were used. A large climatic niche expansion towards stronger seasonality and lower temperature in the introduced range was found, but this expansion was greatly reduced when considering only conditions available in both ranges. Oxalis occupied more natural landscapes in the native range that remained unoccupied in the introduced range (‘niche unfilling'). In contrast to the similar abundances in natural and disturbed habitats in its native range, Oxalis was more abundant in disturbed habitats in the introduced range. The large climatic niche expansion most likely reflects significant plasticity of Oxalis rather than rapid evolution. Furthermore, the unfilling of its disturbance niche in the introduced range suggests high potential for further invasion of natural areas. Together, these findings suggest that the potential for future spread of invasive species may be underestimated by approaches that characterize species niches based only on climate or partial information about their distributions. informacion[at] González-Moreno et al(2014) Beyond climate: disturbance niche shifts in invasive species. Glob Ecol Biogeog DOI: 10.1111/geb.12271