Models of pace-of-life syndromes (POLS): a systematic review

Review
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Pace-of-life syndromes: a framework for the adaptive integration of behaviour, physiology and life-history

Abstract

Variation in life history (LH) traits along the fast-slow continuum (referred to as pace of life, POL) is thought to result from a trade-off between investments in current versus future reproduction. Originally developed for understanding variation in LH strategies at the among-population level, the POL theory has more recently been applied towards understanding variation in LH traits at the within-population level, and further extended to address the covariance of LH traits with additional behavioural and/or physiological traits, referred to as pace-of-life syndromes (POLS). The article by Réale et al. (Philos T Roy Soc B 365:4051–4063, 2010), which synthesized several earlier reviews and opinions on among-individual covariation between LH, behavioural, and physiological traits, and subsequent research testing POLS in a variety of species, have collectively been cited several hundreds of times—a trend that continues. These works have interdisciplinary impact, informing research in life history biology, behavioural and developmental biology, and the social sciences. In this paper, we review the existing theoretical POLS models that provide adaptive explanations for covariances between LH traits and additional behavioural and/or physiological traits while assuming a trade-off between current and future reproduction. We find that the set of relevant models is small. Moreover, models show that covariances between life history traits and behavioural or physiological traits can arise even in the absence of a current-future reproduction trade-off, implying that observing such covariances does not provide a strong indication regarding the process generating POLS. We discuss lessons learned from existing models of POLS, highlight key gaps in the modelling literature, and provide guidelines for better integration between theory and data.

Keywords

Animal personality Consistent among-individual differences Life history trade-offs Physiology Trait covariance 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The idea for this paper developed from discussions during a Volkswagon Stiftung Workshop “Towards a General Theory of Pace of Life” [89905]. We thank the workshop organizers, Melanie Dammhahn, Niels Dingemanse, Petri Niëmela, and Denis Réale, for inviting us to participate in this workshop. KJM and WEF were each supported by Veni Fellowships (KJM: 863.14.021, WEF: 016.155.195) from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO, Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek) while writing this paper. We thank Melanie Dammhahn, Max Wolf, and Pierre-Olivier Montiglio and one anonymous referee for commenting on a previous version of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

265_2018_2459_MOESM1_ESM.docx (33 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 33 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Coastal Systems (COS)NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and Utrecht UniversityDen BurgThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Canada Research Chair in Integrative Ecology, Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Behavioural Science Institute (BSI)Radboud University NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands

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