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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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The Demography of Fitness

The Demography of Fitness

Life Histories and Their Evolution

Chapter:
(p.211) Eleven The Demography of Fitness
Source:
The Theory of Evolution
Author(s):

Gordon A. Fox

Samuel M. Scheiner

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226671338.003.0011

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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