Adult and offspring size in the ocean over 17 orders of magnitude follows two life history strategies

Authors

  • A. B. Neuheimer,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Ocean Life, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark, Charlottenlund Slot, Jægersborg Allé, DK-2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark
    2. Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
    3. Department of Oceanography, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, 1000 Pope Road, Marine Sciences Building, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822 USA
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  • M. Hartvig,

    1. Centre for Ocean Life, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark, Charlottenlund Slot, Jægersborg Allé, DK-2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark
    2. Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
    3. Systemic Conservation Biology, J.F. Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, University of Göttingen, Berliner Strasse 28, 37073 Göttingen, Germany
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  • J. Heuschele,

    1. Centre for Ocean Life, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark, Charlottenlund Slot, Jægersborg Allé, DK-2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark
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  • S. Hylander,

    1. Centre for Ocean Life, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark, Charlottenlund Slot, Jægersborg Allé, DK-2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark
    2. Centre for Ecology and Evolution in Microbial model Systems, EEMiS, Linnaeus University, SE-39182 Kalmar, Sweden
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  • T. Kiørboe,

    1. Centre for Ocean Life, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark, Charlottenlund Slot, Jægersborg Allé, DK-2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark
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  • K. H. Olsson,

    1. Centre for Ocean Life, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark, Charlottenlund Slot, Jægersborg Allé, DK-2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark
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  • J. Sainmont,

    1. Centre for Ocean Life, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark, Charlottenlund Slot, Jægersborg Allé, DK-2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark
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  • K. H. Andersen

    1. Centre for Ocean Life, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark, Charlottenlund Slot, Jægersborg Allé, DK-2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark
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  • Corresponding Editor: S. G. Morgan.

Abstract

Explaining variability in offspring vs. adult size among groups is a necessary step to determine the evolutionary and environmental constraints shaping variability in life history strategies. This is of particular interest for life in the ocean where a diversity of offspring development strategies is observed along with variability in physical and biological forcing factors in space and time. We compiled adult and offspring size for 407 pelagic marine species covering more than 17 orders of magnitude in body mass including Cephalopoda, Cnidaria, Crustaceans, Ctenophora, Elasmobranchii, Mammalia, Sagittoidea, and Teleost. We find marine life following one of two distinct strategies, with offspring size being either proportional to adult size (e.g., Crustaceans, Elasmobranchii, and Mammalia) or invariant with adult size (e.g., Cephalopoda, Cnidaria, Sagittoidea, Teleosts, and possibly Ctenophora). We discuss where these two strategies occur and how these patterns (along with the relative size of the offspring) may be shaped by physical and biological constraints in the organism's environment. This adaptive environment along with the evolutionary history of the different groups shape observed life history strategies and possible group-specific responses to changing environmental conditions (e.g., production and distribution).

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