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Life History

by: Jesse McDonald

Life History Biology 286

Jesse McDonald

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About this Document

These notes are from week 5 of class discussing the life cycle and importance of fecundity and fitness.
Introduction to Ecology and Evolution
Dr. Josh Springer
Class Notes
Biology, Ecology, life history, fecundity, Fitness
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jesse McDonald on Sunday February 14, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Biology 286 at Purdue University taught by Dr. Josh Springer in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 32 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Ecology and Evolution in Biology at Purdue University.


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Date Created: 02/14/16
Life History     In the animal kingdom, an individual’s purpose is to solely pass on their genome.      Life histor ­ how organisms allocate energy and time to grow, survivorship and reproduction,  and the consequences.   ● In order to do any of that, they have to acquire energy.   ● Allocating energy:  ○ What do we measure?  ■ Phenotypic traits:  ● Body size  ● Fecundity (offspring reproduction)  ● Age of first breeding  ● Growth rate  ● Mortality  ● Longevity    Trade­off occur when individuals allocate resources to one trait reducing the expression of  another  ● Survival vs.reproduction  ○ Allocation to reproduction at any time during the life of an individual involves  trade­offs between current benefits from the production of offspring and costs in  terms of potential reduction in future reproduction.  ● Current and future reproduction  ● Quality and quantity of offspring  ○ If the parent produces a large number of young, it can afford only minimal  investment in each one.  ■ Such organisms usually inhabit unpredictable environments.  ○ Parents that produce few young are able to expend more energy on each.   ● Offspring number vs. size    ● How to detect trade offs?  ○ Measure two traits and see how they correlate.  ○ Experimentally manipulate one trait and analyze what happens to the other trait:  ■ Artificially large clutch: adult survivorship drops because parents work so  hard feeding kids that it is difficult for them to store enough mass for  themselves to survive the winter.  ■ Parents cannot adequately provide for the offspring despite increased  effort → juvenile mortality increases.   ● Molt during the breeding period? Not a good idea.  ○ Manipulation of broods to overlap experimentally reproduction and molting.   ○ Molting can decrease a male’s ability to reproduce.  ○ Mating system ­ the pattern of mating between males and females in a  population.  ■ Monogamy  ­ involves the formation of a lasting pair between one male  and one female.  ■ Promiscuity ­ males and females mate with one or many of the opposite  sex and form no pair bond.  ● Outcrossing ­ cross fertilization between two unique gametes  ● Autogamy ​­ self fertilization    Sometimes Trade­off cannot be detected:  ● When the sources are finite or scarce.   ● When resources are abundant some trade offs cannot be detected.  ● Individuals can be able to allocate a higher amount of resources for several traits.  ● Traits no longer “compete” for resources. (“relax”)   ● Ecological constraints: not every organism can exploit all resources that generally are  finite:  ○ Ex: temperature, predators, altitude, food availability   ○ Every organism lives within an niche space, which is keeping it from using all that  it can.    ● Physiological constraints ­ internal processes:  ○ Ex: hummingbirds feeding on fructose and sucrose flowers, they lack specific  enzymes to digest different sugar types..   ● Phylogenetic constraints ­ evolutionary history:  ○ Constraints that previously evolved in and now characterize a linage.  ○ The direction of evolutionary change depends on past changes.   ○ Natural selection favors individuals​tptimall allocate resources.  ■ “Better” resource → greater fitness allocation  ● Life histories along elevational gradients and different predation pressures.  ○ Lower investment in fecundity, bugreater investment in parental care in  extremes.       Life Strategies:   1. Maximize intrinsic growth rate (r )  a. Short lifespan  b. Fast growth  c. Early maturity  d. High parental investment  e. Exponential growth of their populations ­ unstable environments  2. Maximize Carrying Capacity (K)  a. Long life span  b. Slow growth  c. Delayed maturity  d. Low parental investment  e. Logistic growth ­ “S” curve      Developmental Strategies:  1. Precocial development  a. Leave the nest very quickly  b. Down feathers  c. Depend on parents for thermoregulation and feeding  d. Open eyes  e. Females acquire energy prior to hatching to produce high quality eggs  f. Chicks can actively escape from predators  2. Altricial Development:  a. They stay in the nest  b. No down feathers  c. Depend on parents for thermoregulation and feeding   d. Closed eyes   e. Increase energy acquisition during parental care  f. Nest should be hidden to avoid predation (high vulnerability)     


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