Boratyński Z , Koskela E, Mappes T, Schroderus E


The physiological requirements of reproduction are predicted to generate a link between energy, physiology and life history traits. Simultaneously, low maintenance costs, measured by energy consumption, are expected to be advantageous. Here we investigated fitness relatedness of traits by estimating genetic correlations between, and inbreeding depression for, body mass, basal metabolic rate (BMR) and other life history characters in a wild rodent, Myodes glareolus. The narrow-sense heritability of absolute and mass corrected BMRs were high for females (h2 = 0.48 and 0.42) but low and non-significant for males (0.32 and 0.09). A significant positive genetic correlation between BMR and litter size suggests that traits connected to female fecundity might favour higher metabolism (i.e. support increased intake hypothesis). However, the estimates of inbreeding depression indicate that, while higher values of body mass and female litter size could be positively associated with overall fitness, the association between BMR and overall fitness in bank voles would be negative (i.e. support compensation hypothesis). This result suggests that the advantages of larger litters and larger body mass might be evolutionary constrained by high costs of maintenance of those traits, as reflected by the level of basal metabolism.


Journal: Evolutionary Ecology

DOI: 10.1007/s10682-012-9590-2