Life history theory seeks to explain the evolution of the major features of life cycles by analyzing the ecological factors that shape age-specific schedules of growth, reproduction, and survival and by investigating the trade-offs that constrain the evolution of these traits. Although life history theory has made enormous progress in explaining the diversity of life history strategies among species, it traditionally ignores the underlying proximate mechanisms.
This novel book argues that many fundamental problems in life history evolution, including the nature of trade-offs, can only be fully resolved if we begin to integrate information on developmental, physiological, and genetic mechanisms into the classical life history framework. Each chapter is written by an established or up-and-coming leader in their respective field; they not only represent the state of the art but also offer fresh perspectives for future research.
The text is divided into 7 sections that cover basic concepts (Part 1), the mechanisms that affect different parts of the life cycle (growth, development, and maturation; reproduction; and aging and somatic maintenance) (Parts 2-4), life history plasticity (Part 5), life history integration and trade-offs (Part 6), and concludes with a synthesis chapter written by a prominent leader in the field and an editorial postscript (Part 7).
Foreword: Harvey's Legacy; Preface; PART 1: INTEGRATING MECHANISMS INTO LIFE HISTORY EVOLUTION; 1. Integrating Mechanistic and Evolutionary Analysis of Life History Variation; 2. Genomic Insights into Life History Evolution; PART 2: GROWTH, DEVELOPMENT, AND MATURATION; 3. Emerging Patterns in the Regulation and Evolution of Marine Invertebrate Settlement and Metamorphosis; 4. Evolution and the Regulation of Growth and Body Size; 5. The Genetic and Endocrine Basis for the Evolution of Metamorphosis in Insects; 6. Thyroidal Regulation of Life History Transitions in Fish; 7. Hormone Regulation and the Evolution of Frog Metamorphic Diversity; PART 3: REPRODUCTION; 8. Asexual Reproduction in Cnidaria: Comparative Developmental Processes and Candidate Mechanisms; 9. The Genetics and Evolution of Flowering Time Variation in Plants: Identifying Genes that Control a Key Life History Transition; 10. Mechanisms of Nutrient Dependent Reproduction in Dipteran Insects; 11. Mechanisms Underlying Reproductive Trade-offs: Costs of Reproduction; 12. Patterns and Processes of Human Life History Evolution; PART 4: LIFESPAN, AGING AND SOMATIC MAINTENANCE; 13. Parallels in Understanding the Endocrine Control of Lifespan with the Firebug Pyrrhocoris apterus and the Fruit Fly Drosophila melanogaster; 14. Chapter 14: The Genetics of Dietary Modulation of Lifespan; 15. Molecular Stress Pathways and the Evolution of Life Histories in Reptiles; 16. Mechanisms of Aging in Human Populations; PART 5: LIFE HISTORY PLASTICITY; 17. Mechanisms Underlying Feeding-Structure Plasticity in Echinoderm Larvae; 18. Evolution and Mechanisms of Insect Reproductive Diapause, a Plastic and Pleiotropic Life History Syndrome; 19. Seasonal Polyphenisms and Environmentally-Induced Plasticity in the Lepidoptera - the Coordinated Evolution of Many Traits on Multiple Levels; 20. Honey Bee Life history Plasticity - Development, Behavior, and Aging; PART 6: LIFE HISTORY INTEGRATION AND TRADE-OFFS; 21. Molecular Mechanisms of Life History Trade-Offs and the Evolution of Multicellular Complexity in Volvocalean Green Algae; 22. Molecular Basis of Life History Regulation in C. elegans and Other Organisms; 23. The Costs of Immunity and the Evolution of Immunological Defense Mechanisms; 24. Intermediary Metabolism and the Biochemical-Molecular Basis of Life history Variation and Trade-offs in Two Insect Models; 25. Epistatic Social and Endocrine Networks and the Evolution of Life History Trade-offs and Plasticity; 26. Hormonally-Regulated Trade-Offs: Evolutionary Variability and Phenotypic Plasticity in Testosterone Signaling Pathways; PART 7: CONCLUDING REMARKS; 27. Does Impressive Progress on Understanding Mechanisms Advance Life History Theory?; 28. What Mechanistic Insights Can or Cannot Contribute to Life History Evolution - An Exchange Between Stearns, Heyland, and Flatt; References; Index