Lifehistory patterns

The great diversity of life cycles in nature, from short-lived annual plants to long-lived trees, from prolific reproducers such as oysters to economical types such as the albatros, has fascinated many biologists. An important scientific question has arisen from this fascination: can the life cycle of a species be understood in the context of the environment in which it lives? Attempts to answer this question have given rise to a large body of ecological literature, including observational data (population census, age distributions), experimental data (life-history manipulation by food or temperature), genetic data (heritable variation in life-history traits), and theoretical models (demography and quantitative genetics). Life histories of model organisms have also been analysed using molecular and genomic approaches. In this chapter we will visit this exciting blend of life-history ecology and genomics.

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