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The Evolution of Senescence in the Tree of Life

By: Richard P Shefferson(Editor), Owen R Jones(Editor), Roberto Salguero-Gómez(Editor)

428 pages, 51 b/w illustrations, 16 tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Feb 2017 | #232453 | ISBN-13: 9781107078505
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £110.00 $144/€125 approx

About this book

The existing theory on the evolution of senescence assumes that because ageing is inevitable in humans, this must be the case for all organisms. However, recent studies have shown that this is not necessarily true. A better understanding of senescence and its underlying mechanisms could have far-reaching consequences for conservation and eco-evolutionary research. The Evolution of Senescence in the Tree of Life is the first to offer interdisciplinary perspectives on the evolution of senescence in many species, setting the stage for further developments. It brings together new insights from a wide range of scientific fields and cutting-edge research done on a multitude of different animals, plants and microbes, giving the reader a complete overview of recent developments and of the controversy currently surrounding the topic. Written by specialists from a variety of disciplines, The Evolution of Senescence in the Tree of Life is a valuable source of information for graduates and researchers interested in ageing and life history traits and populations.


1. Introduction: wilting leaves and rotting branches: reconciling evolutionary perspectives on senescence / Richard P. Shefferson, Owen R. Jones and Roberto Salguero-Gómez

Part I. Theory of Senescence:
2. The disposable soma theory - origins and evolution / Thomas B. L. Kirkwood
3. A Hamiltonian demography of life history / Michael R. Rose, Lee F. Greer, Kevin H. Phung, Grant A. Rutledge, Mark A. Phillips, Christian N. K. Anderson and Laurence D. Mueller
4. Senescence, selection gradients, and mortality / Hal Caswell and Esther Shyu
5. Taxonomic diversity, complexity, and the evolution of senescence / Alan A. Cohen

Part II. Senescence in Animals:
6. Evolutionary demography of the human mortality profile / Oskar Burger
7. Senescence in mammalian life history traits / Jean-Michel Gaillard, Michael Garratt and Jean-François Lemaître
8. Avian escape artists? Patterns, processes and costs of senescence in wild birds / Sandra Bouwhuis and Oscar Vedder
9. The evolution of senescence in nature / Andre Furness and David Reznick
10. Explaining extraordinary lifespans: the proximate and ultimate causes of differential lifespan in social insects / Eric Lucas and Laurent Keller
11. Senescence in modular animals - botryllid ascidians as a unique ageing system / Baruch Rinkevich
12. Hydra: evolutionary and biological mechanisms for non-senescence / Ralf Schaible, Felix Ringelhan, Boris H. Kramer and Alexander Scheuerlein

Part III. Senescence in Plants:
13. Physiological and biochemical processes related to ageing and senescence in plants / Maurizio Mencuccini and Sergi Munné-Bosch
14. The evolution of senescence in annual plants: the importance of phenology and the potential for plasticity / Liana T. Burghardt and C. Jessica E. Metcalf
15. Demographic senescence in herbaceous plants / Johan P. Dahlgren and Deborah A. Roach
16. Complex life histories and senescence in plants: avenues to escape age-related decline? / Jennifer Gremer, Satu Ramula, Bård Pedersen, Elizabeth Crone, Peter Lesica, Anne Jäkäläniemi and Juha Tuomi

Part IV. Senescence in Microbes:
17. Why some fungi senescence and others don't: an evolutionary perspective on fungal senescence / Marc F. P. M. Maas, Alfons J. M. Debets, Bas J. Zwaan and Anne D. van Diepeningen
18. Yeast ageing: reproduction strategies determine the longevity of budding and fission yeasts / Tomasz Bilinski and Renata Zadrag-Tecza
19. Organismal senescence in plant-fungal symbioses / Richard P. Shefferson and Charles C. Cowden

Part V. Senescence across the Tree of Life:
20. Life history trade-offs modulate the speed of senescence / Roberto Salguero-Gómez and Owen R. Jones

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Richard P. Shefferson is Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo's Organization for Programs on Environmental Sciences, and earned his PhD in 2004 at the University of California, Berkeley. He studies the evolutionary ecology of plants and fungi, of which senescence is one key topic. He currently serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Ecology, and regularly serves on funding panels for the National Science Foundation, American Philosophical Society, and other agencies. He has authored more than forty scientific papers in the top journals in ecology and evolution, including Ecology, the Journal of Ecology, and Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

Owen R. Jones is Associate Professor at the University of Southern Denmark, and earned his PhD in 2004 at Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London. He has published about thirty papers in journals including Nature, Science, Ecology Letters, and Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. He currently serves as associate editor of Ecology and Evolution and has served as grant reviewer for the European Research Council, the British Ecological Society, and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.

Roberto Salguero-Gómez is a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Independent Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield, an honorary research fellow at the University of Queensland, and a guest visitor of the Max Planck Society. He earned his PhD in 2011 at the University of Pennsylvania and has published around forty papers on life history evolution, population dynamics, ecophysiology, and ageing of plants and animals. He has had extensive editorial experience as associate editor of the Journal of Ecology and Plant Perspectives in Ecology, Evolution and Taxonomy, as well as serving as a guest editor for the Journal of Animal Ecology, and a speciality reviewer for Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution on population dynamics. He has served as a grant reviewer for the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation, the Australian Research Council, the French Research Council and the Natural Environment Research Council.

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