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Using evolutionary demography to link life history theory, quantitative genetics and population ecology
Article first published online: 12 AUG 2010
© 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 British Ecological Society
Journal of Animal Ecology
Volume 79, Issue 6, pages 1226–1240, November 2010
How to Cite
Coulson, T., Tuljapurkar, S. and Childs, D. Z. (2010), Using evolutionary demography to link life history theory, quantitative genetics and population ecology. Journal of Animal Ecology, 79: 1226–1240. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2010.01734.x
- Issue published online: 19 OCT 2010
- Article first published online: 12 AUG 2010
- Received 26 March 2010; accepted 28 June 2010 Handling Editor: Graeme C Hays
- age-stage structure;
- integral projection models;
- ontogenetic development;
- reproductive allocation;
- Soay sheep
1. There is a growing number of empirical reports of environmental change simultaneously influencing population dynamics, life history and quantitative characters. We do not have a well-developed understanding of links between the dynamics of these quantities.
2. Insight into the joint dynamics of populations, quantitative characters and life history can be gained by deriving a model that allows the calculation of fundamental quantities that underpin population ecology, evolutionary biology and life history. The parameterization and analysis of such a model for a specific system can be used to predict how a population will respond to environmental change.
3. Age-stage-structured models can be constructed from character-demography associations that describe age-specific relationships between the character and: (i) survival; (ii) fertility; (iii) ontogenetic development of the character among survivors; and (iv) the distribution of reproductive allocation.
4. These models can be used to calculate a wide range of useful biological quantities including population growth and structure; terms in the Price equation including selection differentials; estimates of biometric heritabilities; and life history descriptors including generation time. We showcase the method through parameterization of a model using data from a well-studied population of Soay sheep Ovis aries.
5. Perturbation analysis is used to investigate how the quantities listed in summary point 4 change as each parameter in each character-demography function is altered.
6. A wide range of joint dynamics of life history, quantitative characters and population growth can be generated in response to changes in different character-demography associations; we argue this explains the diversity of observations on the consequences of environmental change from studies of free-living populations.
7. The approach we describe has the potential to explain within and between species patterns in quantitative characters, life history and population dynamics.