Supplementary material from "The influence of weather conditions during gestation on life histories in a wild Arctic ungulate"
The internal predictive adaptive response (internal PAR) hypothesis predicts that individuals born in poor conditions should start to reproduce earlier if they are likely to have reduced performance in later life. However whether this is the case remains unexplored in wild populations. Here, we use longitudinal data from a long-term study of Svalbard reindeer to examine age-related changes in adult female life-history responses to environmental conditions experienced in utero as indexed by rain-on-snow (ROS utero ). We show that females experiencing high ROS utero had reduced reproductive success only from 7 years of age, independent of early reproduction. These individuals were able to maintain the same annual reproductive success between 2 and 6 years as phenotypically superior conspecifics that experienced low ROS utero . Young females born after high ROS utero engage in reproductive events at lower body mass (about 2.5 kg less) than those born after low ROS utero . The mean fitness of females that experienced poor environmental conditions in early life was comparable with that of females exposed to good environmental conditions in early life. These results are consistent with the idea of internal PAR and suggest that the life-history responses to early-life conditions can buffer the delayed effects of weather on population dynamics.