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The Theory of EvolutionPrinciples, Concepts, and Assumptions$
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Samuel M. Scheiner and David P. Mindell

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226671024

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226671338.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

The Demography of Fitness

The Demography of Fitness

Life Histories and Their Evolution

(p.211) Eleven The Demography of Fitness
The Theory of Evolution

Gordon A. Fox

Samuel M. Scheiner

University of Chicago Press

Life histories are the schedules of births and deaths of individuals. The theory of life history evolution concerns how these schedules evolve. Trade-offs are central to the theory. Trade-offs - such as those between reproduction and survival - require a theory of the demography of fitness. The trade-offs are consequences of resource limitation as mediated by organismal traits. Resource allocation can be hierarchical, in the sense that allocating to a particular component of demographic performance can constrain additional components. Resource allocation may involve within-individual trade-offs (e.g., more resource allocated to current reproduction may reduce the amount of resource available to somatic growth and maintenance). It can also be between individuals, as under bet-hedging models for production of varied types of offspring that can succeed in different types of conditions. The purely demographic aspects of the theory are fairly mature. However, it remains a challenge to apply this theory in empirical settings to understand the response of populations to selection. This is because the genetic structure of the relevant traits in the population plays a large role in selection response, and we do not yet have the tools to predict the consequences of selection on demographic trade-offs with genetic correlation structures.

Keywords:   life history trade-off, resource allocation, hierarchical allocation, bet-hedging

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