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The Evolution of Life Histories

Stephen C. Stearns

Publication Date - July 1992

ISBN: 9780198577416

264 pages


This book is the first comprehensive summary of life-history evolution, a field that holds a central position in modern ecology, evolution, and population biology. The book offers an up-to-date description of the analytical tools used in evolutionary explanation: demographics, quantitative genetics, reaction norms, trade-offs, and phylogenetic/comparative analysis. It goes on to discuss the evolution of such major life-history traits as age and size at maturity; clutch size, reproductive investment and size of offspring; reproductive lifespan; and aging. This is an essential text for biologists wishing to understand the evolution of the life cycle and the causes of phenotypic variation in fitness. It is additionally the only book available designed specifically for teaching the subject, with problems and discussion questions at the end of each chapter.

Table of Contents

    1. Evolutionary Explanation
    2. Demography: Age and Stage Structure
    3. Quantitative Genetics and Reaction Norms
    4. Trade-offs
    5. Lineage-specific Effects
    6. Age and Size at Maturity
    7. Number and Size of Offspring
    8. Reproductive Lifespan and Ageing

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