A tradeoff between robustness to environmental fluctuations and speed of evolution

  • Max Schmid (Creator)
  • Maria Paniw (Creator)
  • Maarten Postuma (Creator)
  • Arpat Ozgul (Creator)
  • Frédéric Guillaume (Creator)



The ability of a species to cope with both long-term and short-term environmental fluctuations might vary with the species' life history. While some life-history characteristics promote large and stable population sizes despite interannual environmental fluctuations, other life-history strategies might allow to evolve quickly in response to long-term gradual changes. In a theoretical study, we show that there is a tradeoff between both properties. Life-history characteristics that promote fast rates of evolution come at the expense of a poor response to short-term environmental fluctuations, and vice versa. We demonstrated the presence of this tradeoff by the use of a mathematical analysis and individual-based simulations.
Date made available25 Mar 2022
PublisherWageningen University


  • agent-based computer simulation
  • FOS: Biological sciences
  • Computer code (Mathematica file)
  • simulation results
  • R scripts

Cite this