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J Exp Biol. 2013 May 15;216(Pt 10):1763-5. doi: 10.1242/jeb.076562. Epub 2012 Dec 21.

The repeatability of metabolic rate declines with time.

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  • 1School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia. craig.white@uq.edu.au


The evolutionary causes of variation in metabolic rate within and among species are a topic of enduring interest. Variation between individuals is the raw material on which natural selection acts, and so recent years have seen an increase in the number of studies that examine the consequences of inter-individual differences in metabolic rate for organismal performance. A minimum requirement for a trait to evolve is that it must differ consistently between individuals, and these differences must be heritable. The time constancy of a trait is assessed by estimating its repeatability, which represents the ratio of the between-individual component of phenotypic variance to total phenotypic variance. A previous meta-analysis of repeatability concluded that metabolic rate is, on average, repeatable. Here, we expand on this earlier analysis by including extra data published in the intervening years and demonstrate that the repeatability of metabolic rate decreases as the interval between measurements increases.


heritability; inter-individual variation; intraclass correlation

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