Most studies investigate the interaction between age/stage structured demography and environment, but often ignore individual differences in phenotypic traits. Yet, individuals vary in quality, and such variation can influence their survival and reproduction, and in turn, population dynamics. Understanding population dynamics in a variable environment necessitates understanding the link between life histories and environment.
For my postdoctoral research, I investigate the links between phenotypic trait distributions, environment and population dynamics by considering demography as a phenotype-by-environment interaction:
- How do changes in trait distributions influence demography and population dynamics?
- How do population dynamics feedback on the distributions of phenotypic traits?
- How does environmental variation influence the relationship between trait and population dynamics?
My research utilizes four contrasting systems (Soay sheep, yellow-bellied marmots, meerkats, silvereyes, and soil mites) and combines statistical analysis of existing data, with the development of new theory and models specific to each system.