From organism to population: the role of life-history theory

Sibly, R.M. (1994) From organism to population: the role of life-history theory. In: Sutcliffe, D.W. (ed.) Water quality & stress indicators in marine and freshwater systems: linking levels of organisation. Ambleside, UK, Freshwater Biological Association, pp. 63-74. (FBA Special Publications,4)

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The role of life-history theory in population and evolutionary analyses is outlined. In both cases general life histories can be analysed, but simpler life histories need fewer parameters for their description. The simplest case, of semelparous (breed-once-then-die) organisms, needs only three parameters: somatic growth rate, mortality rate and fecundity. This case is analysed in detail. If fecundity is fixed, population growth rate can be calculated direct from mortality rate and somatic growth rate, and isoclines on which population growth rate is constant can be drawn in a ”state space” with axes for mortality rate and somatic growth rate. In this space density-dependence is likely to result in a population trajectory from low density, when mortality rate is low and somatic growth rate is high and the population increases (positive population growth rate) to high density, after which the process reverses to return to low density. Possible effects of pollution on this system are discussed. The state-space approach allows direct population analysis of the twin effects of pollution and density on population growth rate. Evolutionary analysis uses related methods to identify likely evolutionary outcomes when an organism's genetic options are subject to trade-offs. The trade-off considered here is between somatic growth rate and mortality rate. Such a trade-off could arise because of an energy allocation trade-off if resources spent on personal defence (reducing mortality rate) are not available for somatic growth rate. The evolutionary implications of pollution acting on such a trade-off are outlined.

Item Type: Book Section
Title: From organism to population: the role of life-history theory
Personal Creator/Author:
Sibly, R.M.
Title of Book: Water quality & stress indicators in marine and freshwater systems: linking levels of organisation
Sutcliffe, D.W.
Refereed: No
Series Name: FBA Special Publications
Number: 4
Page Range: pp. 63-74
Date: 1994
Publisher: Freshwater Biological Association
Place of Publication: Ambleside, UK
ISBN: 0-900386-53-3
Issuing Agency: Freshwater Biological Association
Uncontrolled Keywords: Life history; Population characteristics; Population dynamics; Pollution effects; Evolution; Stress (mechanics)
Subjects: Biology
Item ID: 5305
Depositing User: Hardy B Schwamm
Date Deposited: 10 May 2011 13:30
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2011 15:07
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