- Describe life history theory, the traits typically associated with the study of life histories.
- Explain the role of trade-offs and the principle of allocation in shaping life history traits.
- Explain correlated life history patterns we often observe across species (e.g., the concepts of r- versus K-selection), and conditions that could favor different life history strategies.
- Describe why organisms experience senescence, and compare and contrast hypotheses of aging.
A species’ life history describes the series of events over its lifetime, such as how resources are allocated for growth, maintenance, and reproduction. Life history traits affect the life table of an organism. A species’ life history is genetically determined and shaped by the environment and natural selection. Studying life histories can help us understand larger evolutionary questions, like why does biological aging, a deleterious reduction in fecundity and survival, exist?