Reproductive Strategies

Abstract

‘Reproductive strategies’ refers to the evolutionary and ecological consequences of schedules of reproduction, mortality, and growth in a life cycle. ‘Strategies’ in this context should be understood as ‘syndromes’ that affect Darwinian fitness, rather than as implying conscious intent.

Keywords: life histories; reproductive value; evolution of senescence; clutch size; iteroparity

Figure 1.

The trade‐off between number of offspring and their size (Smith and Fretwell, ). The optimal offspring size maximizes the offspring fitness per unit of resource invested and is the point on the curve that is tangent to the 45‐degree line.

Figure 2.

Effect of current reproductive effort on both current and future reproduction (Schaffer and Rosenzweig, ). In (a) the sum of the two convex curves is maximal when RE is equal to either 0 or 1, so semelparity is favoured. In (b) the sum of the two concave curves is maximal at intermediate RE, so iteroparity is favoured.

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References

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Further Reading

Charlesworth B (1980) Evolution in Age‐structured Populations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Fisher RA (1930) The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Goodman D (1982) Optimal life histories, optimal notation, and the value of reproductive value. American Naturalist 119: 803–823.

Harper JL (1977) Population Biology of Plants. London: Academic Press.

O'Connor RJ (1978) Brood reduction in birds: selection for fratricide, infanticide and suicide? Animal Behaviour 26: 79–96.

Roff DA (1992) The Evolution of Life Histories: Theory and Analysis. New York: Chapman and Hall.

Stearns SC (1976) Life‐history tactics: a review of the ideas. Quarterly Review of Biology 51: 3–47.

Tuljapurkar S (1990) Population Dynamics in Variable Environments, (Lecture Notes in Biomathematics 85). New York: Springer‐Verlag.

Tuljapurkar S and Caswell H (eds) (1997) Structured‐population Models in Marine, Terrestrial, and Freshwater Systems. New York: Chapman and Hall.

Willson MF (1983) Plant Reproductive Ecology. New York: Wiley.

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How to Cite close
Fox, Gordon A(Apr 2001) Reproductive Strategies. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001725]