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Life History Evolution

Derek Roff

Publication Date - November 2001

ISBN: 9780878937561

527 pages
7 x 9 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $119.99

A synthetic approach to the understanding of the evolution of life history variation


Life History Evolution represents a synthetic approach to the understanding of the evolution of life history variation using the three types of environment (constant, stochastic, predictable) as the focus under which the theory is developed and tested. First, the author outlines a general framework for the study and analysis of life history variation, bringing together the approaches of quantitative genetic modeling and optimality analysis. Using this framework, he then discusses how life histories evolve in the three different types of environments, each of which presents unique characteristics. The theme of the book is that an understanding of evolutionary change requires analysis at both the genetic and phenotypic levels, and that the environment plays a central role in such analyses. Intended for graduate students and researchers, the book's emphasis is on assumptions and testing of models. Mathematical processes are described, but mathematical derivations are kept to a minimum. Each chapter includes a summary, and boxes provide supplementary material.

About the Author(s)

Derek Roff is Professor of Biology at the University of California, Riverside. He earned a B.Sc. at Sydney University, and his Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia, with Dr. C. S. Holling. Prior to Life History Evolution, he authored The Evolution of Life Histories: Theory and Analysis and Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics (both from Chapman and Hall). Dr. Roff is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. His research explores the evolution of life history variation with particular reference to the interaction between quantitative genetic variation and environmental heterogeneity.


"This book is an impressive synthesis of the theory and empirical work of the last several decades, and it is an important addition to our understanding of the evolution of the diverse developmental and reproductive patterns found in the natural world."--Linden Higgins, BioScience

"I would encourage any serious student of life-history theory to buy this book."--John McNamara, The Quarterly Review of Biology

"This is a book filled with lots of ideas, interesting problems and methods, and is a great entry into the literature of life history theory."--Marc Mangel, University of California, Santa Cruz

Table of Contents

    1. An Overview

    2. A Framework for Analysis

    3. Trade-offs

    4. Evolution in Constant Environments

    5. Evolution in Stochastic Environments

    6. Evolution in Predictable Environments

    7. Topics for Future Study

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