Hunting regulation favors slow life histories in a large carnivore.
ABSTRACT: As an important extrinsic source of mortality, harvest should select for fast reproduction and accelerated life histories. However, if vulnerability to harvest depends upon female reproductive status, patterns of selectivity could diverge and favor alternative reproductive behaviors. Here, using more than 20 years of detailed data on survival and reproduction in a hunted large carnivore population, we show that protecting females with dependent young, a widespread hunting regulation, provides a survival benefit to females providing longer maternal care. This survival gain compensates for the females' reduced reproductive output, especially at high hunting pressure, where the fitness benefit of prolonged periods of maternal care outweighs that of shorter maternal care. Our study shows that hunting regulation can indirectly promote slower life histories by modulating the fitness benefit of maternal care tactics. We provide empirical evidence that harvest regulation can induce artificial selection on female life history traits and affect demographic processes.
Project description:Levels of reproductive skew vary in wild primates living in multimale groups depending on the degree to which high-ranking males monopolize access to females. Still, the factors affecting paternity in egalitarian societies remain unexplored. We combine unique behavioral, life history, and genetic data to evaluate the distribution of paternity in the northern muriqui (Brachyteles hypoxanthus), a species known for its affiliative, nonhierarchical relationships. We genotyped 67 individuals (22 infants born over a 3-y period, their 21 mothers, and all 24 possible sires) at 17 microsatellite marker loci and assigned paternity to all infants. None of the 13 fathers were close maternal relatives of females with which they sired infants, and the most successful male sired a much lower percentage of infants (18%) than reported for the most successful males in other species. Our findings of inbreeding avoidance and low male reproductive skew are consistent with the muriqui's observed social and sexual behavior, but the long delay (?2.08 y) between the onset of male sexual behavior and the age at which males first sire young is unexpected. The allocation of paternity implicates individual male life histories and access to maternal kin as key factors influencing variation in paternal--and grandmaternal--fitness. The apparent importance of lifelong maternal investment in coresident sons resonates with other recent examinations of maternal influences on offspring reproduction. This importance also extends the implications of the "grandmother hypothesis" in human evolution to include the possible influence of mothers and other maternal kin on male reproductive success in patrilocal societies.
Project description:For the evolution of life histories, the trade-off between survival and reproduction is fundamental. Because sexes optimize fitness in different ways, this trade-off is expected to be resolved differently by males and females. Consequently, the sexes are predicted to respond differently to changes in resource availability. In fruit flies, research on dietary restriction has focused largely on females maintained in the absence of males, thereby neglecting sexual interactions that affect reproductive behavior of both sexes under more natural conditions. Here, we tested for the interactive effects of diet (40, 60, 100, and 300 % of standard yeast concentrations) and social environment (separate-sex vs. mixed-sex groups) on male and female Drosophila melanogaster life histories. Additionally, we evaluated the essential amino acid methionine as an agent that can uncouple the survival-reproduction trade-off. We show sex differences in the effect of social environment on survival patterns, but not on reproductive fitness. In females, yeast had a positive effect on reproduction and a negative effect on survival. In males, yeast had a negative effect on reproduction and the effect on survival depended on the social environment. Methionine reduced survival, but had no effect on reproduction. Our findings highlight the need to include both sexes and to vary social environments in research programs aimed at lifespan extension and call for further evaluation of the fecundity-restoring effect of methionine.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Oviparous females have three main options to increase their reproductive success: investing into egg number, egg mass and/or egg care. Although allocating resources to either of these three components is known to shape offspring number and size, potential trade-offs among them may have key impacts on maternal and offspring fitness. Here, we tested the occurrence of phenotypic trade-offs between egg number, egg mass and maternal expenditure on egg care in the European earwig, Forficula auricularia, an insect with pre- and post-hatching forms of maternal care. In particular, we used a series of laboratory observations and experiments to investigate whether these three components non-additively influenced offspring weight and number at hatching, and whether they were associated with potential costs to females in terms of future reproduction. RESULTS:We found negative associations between egg number and mass as well as between egg number and maternal expenditure on egg care. However, these trade-offs could only be detected after statistically correcting for female weight at egg laying. Hatchling number was not determined by single or additive effects among the three life-history traits, but instead by pairwise interactions among them. In particular, offspring number was positively associated with the number of eggs only in clutches receiving high maternal care or consisting of heavy eggs, and negatively associated with mean egg mass in clutches receiving low care. In contrast, offspring weight was positively associated with egg mass only. Finally, maternal expenditure on egg care reduced their future reproduction, but this effect was only detected when mothers were experimentally isolated from their offspring at egg hatching. CONCLUSIONS:Overall, our study reveals simultaneous trade-offs between the number, mass and care of eggs. It also demonstrates that these factors interact in their impact on offspring production, and that maternal expenditure on egg care possibly shapes female future reproduction. These findings emphasize that studying reproductive success requires consideration of phenotypic trade-offs between egg-number, egg mass and egg care in oviparous species.
Project description:Life-history theory predicts that females' age and size affect the level of maternal investment in current reproduction, balanced against the future reproductive effort, maintenance and survival. Using long-term (30 years) individual data on 193 female polar bears ( Ursus maritimus), we assessed age- and size-specific variation on litter size. Litter size varied with maternal age, younger females had higher chances of losing a cub during their first months of life. Results suggest an improvement in reproductive abilities early in life due to experience with subsequent reproductive senescence. Litter size increased with maternal size, indicating that size may reflect individual quality. We also found an optimum in the probability of having twins, suggesting stabilizing selection on female body size. Heterogeneity was observed among the largest females, suggesting that large size comes at a cost.
Project description:Trade-offs between current and future reproduction shape life histories of organisms, e.g. increased mortality selects for earlier reproductive effort, and mate limitation has been shown to shape male life histories. Here, we show that female life histories respond adaptively to mate limitation. Female common gobies (Pomatoschistus microps) respond to a female-biased operational sex ratio by strongly increasing the size of their first clutch. The plastic response is predicted by a model that assumes that females use the current competitive situation to predict future difficulties of securing a mating. Because female clutch size decisions are much more closely linked to population dynamics than male life-history traits, plastic responses to mate-finding limitations may be an underappreciated force in population dynamics.
Project description:Fat deposits enable a female mammal to bear the energy costs of offspring production and thus greatly influence her reproductive success. However, increasing locomotor costs and reduced agility counterbalance the fitness benefits of storing body fat. In species where costs of reproduction are distributed over other individuals such as fathers or non-breeding group members, reproductive females might therefore benefit from storing less energy in the form of body fat.Using a phylogenetic comparative approach on a sample of 87 mammalian species, and controlling for possible confounding variables, we found that reproductive females of species with allomaternal care exhibit reduced annual variation in body mass (estimated as CV body mass), which is a good proxy for the tendency to store body fat. Differential analyses of care behaviours such as allonursing or provisioning corroborated an energetic interpretation of this finding. The presumably most energy-intensive form of allomaternal care, provisioning of the young, had the strongest effect on CV body mass. In contrast, allonursing, which involves no additional influx of energy but distributes maternal help across different mothers, was not correlated with CV body mass.Our results suggest that reproducing females in species with allomaternal care can afford to reduce reliance on fat reserves because of the helpers' energetic contribution towards offspring rearing.
Project description:Species following a fast life history are expected to express fitness costs mainly as increased mortality, while slow-lived species should suffer fertility costs. Because observational studies have limited power to disentangle intrinsic and extrinsic factors influencing senescence, we manipulated reproductive effort experimentally in the cavy (Cavia aperea) which produces extremely precocial young. We created two experimental groups: One was allowed continuous reproduction (CR) and the other intermittent reproduction (IR) by removing males at regular intervals. We predicted that the CR females should senesce (and die) earlier and produce either fewer and/or smaller, slower growing offspring per litter than those of the IR group. CR females had 16% more litters during three years than IR females. CR females increased mass and body condition more steeply and both remained higher until the experiment ended. Female survival showed no group difference. Reproductive senescence in litter size, litter mass, and reproductive effort (litter mass/maternal mass) began after about 600 days and was slightly stronger in CR than IR females. Litter size, litter mass, and offspring survival declined with maternal age and were influenced by seasonality. IR females decreased reproductive effort less during cold seasons and only at higher age than CR females. Nevertheless, offspring winter mortality was higher in IR females. Our results show small costs of reproduction despite high reproductive effort, suggesting that under ad libitum food conditions costs depend largely on internal regulation of allocation decisions.
Project description:Plant strategy and life-history theories make different predictions about reproductive efficiency under competition. While strategy theory suggests under intense competition iteroparous perennial plants delay reproduction and semelparous annuals reproduce quickly, life-history theory predicts both annual and perennial plants increase resource allocation to reproduction under intense competition. We tested (1) how simulated competition influences reproductive efficiency and competitive ability (CA) of different plant life histories and growth forms; (2) whether life history or growth form is associated with CA; (3) whether shade avoidance plasticity is connected to reproductive efficiency under simulated competition. We examined plastic responses of 11 herbaceous species representing different life histories and growth forms to simulated competition (spectral shade). We found that both annual and perennial plants invested more to reproduction under simulated competition in accordance with life-history theory predictions. There was no significant difference between competitive abilities of different life histories, but across growth forms, erect species expressed greater CA (in terms of leaf number) than other growth forms. We also found that shade avoidance plasticity can increase the reproductive efficiency by capitalizing on the early life resource acquisition and conversion of these resources into reproduction. Therefore, we suggest that a reassessment of the interpretation of shade avoidance plasticity is necessary by revealing its role in reproduction, not only in competition of plants.
Project description:Parthenogenesis is a relatively rare reproductive mode in nature compared to sex. In social insects, the evolution of parthenogenesis has a notable impact on their life histories. Some termites with parthenogenetic ability produce numerous non-dispersing supplementary queens asexually, whereas other castes are produced via sexual reproduction. This asexual queen succession (AQS) system is adaptive because hundreds of the asexual queens improve the reproductive potential of the colony and maintain the genetic diversity within the colony. However, the evolutionary process of the AQS system remains unclear because parthenogenetic species without this system are unknown. Here, we report facultative parthenogenesis in the drywood termite Neotermes koshunensis. Although the eggs produced by females isolated from males hatched, the hatching rate of those eggs was lower than that of the eggs produced by females kept with males. These parthenogenetic offspring inherited only the maternal alleles and showed high homozygosity, which indicates that the mechanism of ploidy restoration is terminal fusion. A previous study showed that most colonies of this species have a single queen or orphan; thus, the AQS system has not evolved despite their parthenogenetic ability. Further investigations of N. koshunensis will reveal how parthenogenesis evolved and its role in the insect societies.
Project description:Theory suggests females should optimize resource allocation across reproductive bouts to maximize lifetime reproduction, balancing current and future reproductive efforts according to physiological state and projected survival and reproduction. Tests of these ideas focus on long-lived vertebrates: few measure age-related reproductive output in iteroparous invertebrates, or partition reserves between those allocated to offspring versus mothers. We investigated how maternal age, and environmental and physiological factors influence reproductive investment in wild tsetse, Glossina pallidipes Austen and G. morsitans morsitans Westwood. Tsetse provide a tractable system to measure reproductive allocation. Females exhibit high maternal investment, producing single, large offspring that rely exclusively on maternal reserves. We find that mothers in better physiological condition and experiencing cooler temperatures produce larger offspring. Pupal size increases significantly but weakly with age. In both species, females with less fat invest proportionately more in offspring. Post-partum fat decreases in flies with badly frayed wings: poor flight capability may limit their feeding efficiency, or they may sacrifice more reserves as a terminal investment. Our results support evidence that offspring size increases with maternal size, investment depends on the environment, and females with lower chances of future reproduction invest more into current offspring. We discuss the implications of maternal effects for predicting vector population responses to environmental change.