Temporal correlations among demographic parameters are ubiquitous but highly variable across species

Rémi Fay* (Corresponding author), Sandra Hamel, Martijn van de Pol, Jean-Michel Gaillard, Nigel G. Yoccoz, Paul Acker, Matthieu Authier, Benjamin Larue, Christie Le Coeur, Kaitlin R. Macdonald, Alex Nicol-Harper, Christophe Barbraud, Christophe Bonenfant, Dirk H. Van Vuren, Emmanuelle Cam, Karine Delord, Marlène Gamelon, Maria Moiron, Fanie Pelletier, Jay RotellaCeline Teplitsky, Marcel E. Visser, Caitlin P. Wells, Nathaniel T. Wheelwright, Stéphanie Jenouvrier, Bernt-Erik Sæther

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Temporal correlations among demographic parameters can strongly influence population dynamics. Our empirical knowledge, however, is very limited regarding the direction and the magnitude of these correlations and how they vary among demographic parameters and species? life histories. Here, we use long-term demographic data from 15 bird and mammal species with contrasting pace of life to quantify correlation patterns among five key demographic parameters: juvenile and adult survival, reproductive probability, reproductive success and productivity. Correlations among demographic parameters were ubiquitous, more frequently positive than negative, but strongly differed across species. Correlations did not markedly change along the slow-fast continuum of life histories, suggesting that they were more strongly driven by ecological than evolutionary factors. As positive temporal demographic correlations decrease the mean of the long-run population growth rate, the common practice of ignoring temporal correlations in population models could lead to the underestimation of extinction risks in most species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1640-1654
Number of pages15
JournalEcology Letters
Issue number7
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • capture-recapture
  • demographic correlation
  • demography
  • environmental stochasticity
  • slow-fast continuum
  • stochastic population dynamics
  • temporal covariation


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