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An ontogenetic perspective on the relationship between age and size at maturity


Berner, D; Blanckenhorn, Wolf U (2007). An ontogenetic perspective on the relationship between age and size at maturity. Functional Ecology, 21(3):505-512.

Abstract

1. Understanding the relationship between age and size at maturity is essential because these traits are pivotal determinants of an organism’s fitness.
2. The relationship between age and size is commonly addressed using optimization and quantitative genetic approaches. Here we argue that the value of such studies is often limited by an insufficient consideration of organismal ontogeny.
3. On the basis of a simple conceptual framework of hierarchical resource allocation, we identify key aspects of ontogeny that prove critical to a fuller understanding of the relationship between age and size, and which, to date, have been insufficiently explored. In particular, these include intrinsic variation in growth rate within and among populations, and the physiological nature of the maturation process that co-ordinates growth and reproductive function in an organism.
4. We also provide some guidance to the empirical investigation of these aspects, anticipating that a wider theoretical, but especially empirical appreciation of ontogenetic detail will greatly increase the explanatory and predictive power of life-history studies.

Abstract

1. Understanding the relationship between age and size at maturity is essential because these traits are pivotal determinants of an organism’s fitness.
2. The relationship between age and size is commonly addressed using optimization and quantitative genetic approaches. Here we argue that the value of such studies is often limited by an insufficient consideration of organismal ontogeny.
3. On the basis of a simple conceptual framework of hierarchical resource allocation, we identify key aspects of ontogeny that prove critical to a fuller understanding of the relationship between age and size, and which, to date, have been insufficiently explored. In particular, these include intrinsic variation in growth rate within and among populations, and the physiological nature of the maturation process that co-ordinates growth and reproductive function in an organism.
4. We also provide some guidance to the empirical investigation of these aspects, anticipating that a wider theoretical, but especially empirical appreciation of ontogenetic detail will greatly increase the explanatory and predictive power of life-history studies.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Date:June 2007
Deposited On:18 May 2009 05:07
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:13
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0269-8463
Additional Information:The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2435.2007.01253.x

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