Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Montana Wildlife
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Lowe, W. H., T. E. Martin, D. K. Skelly, and H. A. Woods. 2020. Metamorphosis in an era of increasing climate variability. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 36: 360-375.


Most animals have complex life cycles including some form of metamorphosis, a life stage transition in which individuals may be particularly vulnerable to environmental stressors. With climate change, individuals will be exposed to increasing thermal and hydrologic variability during metamorphosis, which may affect survival and performance through physiological, behavioral, and ecological mechanisms. Furthermore, because metamorphosis entails changes in traits and vital rates during a period of particular sensitivity, it is likely to play an important role in how populations respond to increasing climate variability. To identify mechanisms underlying population responses and associated trait and life history evolution, we need new approaches to estimate changes in individual traits and performance throughout metamorphosis, as well as new analytical models integrating metamorphosis as an explicit life stage.