What causes intraspecific variation in resting metabolic rate and what are its ecological consequences?

Burton, T., Killen, S.S. , Armstrong, J.D. and Metcalfe, N.B. (2011) What causes intraspecific variation in resting metabolic rate and what are its ecological consequences? Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, 278(1724), pp. 3465-3473. (doi:10.1098/rspb.2011.1778)

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Abstract

Individual differences in the energy cost of self-maintenance (resting metabolic rate, RMR) are substantial and the focus of an emerging research area. These differences may influence fitness because self-maintenance is considered as a life-history component along with growth and reproduction. In this review, we ask why do some individuals have two to three times the GÇÿmaintenance costsGÇÖ of conspecifics, and what are the fitness consequences? Using evidence from a range of species, we demonstrate that diverse factors, such as genotypes, maternal effects, early developmental conditions and personality differences contribute to variation in individual RMR. We review evidence that RMR is linked with fitness, showing correlations with traits such as growth and survival. However, these relationships are modulated by environmental conditions (e.g. food supply), suggesting that the fitness consequences of a given RMR may be context-dependent. Then, using empirical examples, we discuss broad-scale reasons why variation in RMR might persist in natural populations, including the role of both spatial and temporal variation in selection pressures and trans-generational effects. To conclude, we discuss experimental approaches that will enable more rigorous examination of the causes and consequences of individual variation in this key physiological trait.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Killen, Dr Shaun and Metcalfe, Professor Neil
Authors: Burton, T., Killen, S.S., Armstrong, J.D., and Metcalfe, N.B.
Subjects:Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences
Publisher:The Royal Society
ISSN:0962-8452
ISSN (Online):1471-2954
Published Online:28 September 2011

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
477571The causes and consequences of intraspecific variation in standard metabolic rateNeil MetcalfeNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/F019165/1RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED