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Life History Strategies and trade-offs

Teacher
Semester
Semester 3
Credits
3

Organisms' life history strategies 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.
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 history strategy with consequences for their survival. This module will examine the evolution of life history strategies and implications for species' ability adapt to pressures.

Syllabus to include:
Introductory demography
Introductory quantitative 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