Life History Strategies and trade-offs

Cohort: 2017, 2018

Semester 1

Semester 2

Semester 3

Semester 4



Ecosystem based fisheries management
Galway Mayo Institute of Technology


Organisms' life history strategiies reflect the trade-off of finite resources to competing functions such as maintenance, growth and reproduction. It follows therefore, that allocation of resources to a reproductive event (for example) will come at a cost to growth, maintenance and possible future reproductive events. This module will explore relationships between: age and size, survival and reproductive performance. It will investigate the interaction between phenotypic variation resulting in selection coupled with the expression of genetic variation that facilitates a response to selection.


Introductory demography
Introductory quantitate genetics
Evolution and trade-offs of life history traits:
Age and size at maturity
Number and size of offspring
Reproductive lifespan and ageing
Case studies


This module introduces the study of life history strategies reflecting pressures concerning options in terms of: What size or age to commence reproduction. The frequency and timing of reproductive events. Should an organism reproduce once, or many times in its life? What investment in terms of time and energy should it devote to reproduction versus growth and maintenance? How many offspring are produced? All of these and more have evolved into an organism's life histrory strategy with consequences for their survival. This module will examine the evolution of life history strategies and implications for species' ability adapt to pressures.


Discuss the evolution of life histroy strategies
Explain models of population growth
Understand the influence of genetics on demography
Disuss physiological and evolutionary tradeoffs


The evolution of life history strategies (1992) Stephen C Stearns. Oxford University Press Inc New York
The Evolution of Life Historoe: Theory and Analysis (1992) Rofff, D.A. Chapman and HAll, New York
Life History Evolution (2002) Roff, D.A. Sinauer Associates, Dunderland MA
Fish reproductive biology: Implications for assessment and management 2nd edition (2016) Tore Jakobsen, Michael J. Fogarty, Bernard A. Megrey, Erlend Moksness. John Wiley & Sons


All assessments are formative and summative, they contribute to the module grade. The module is 100% continuous assessment with no terminal examination. Practical assignments, group discussions and class presentations will be used to assess the learning outcomes on an ongoing basis.

Involved teachers

Coilin Minto, Katie O'Dwyer, Luca Mirimin

Contact hours