, Volume 80, Issue 2, pp 63-75

K-selection, α-selection, effectiveness, and tolerance in competition: Density-dependent selection revisited

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Abstract

In theDrosophila literature, selection for faster development and selection for adapting to high density are often confounded, leading, for example, to the expectation that selection for faster development should also lead to higher competitive ability. At the same time, results from experimental studies on evolution at high density do not agree with many of the predictions from classical density-dependent selection theory. We put together a number of theoretical and empirical results from the literature, and some new experimental results onDrosophila populations successfully subjected to selection for faster development, to argue for a broader interpretation of density-dependent selection. We show that incorporating notions of α-selection, and the division of competitive ability into effectiveness and tolerance components, into the concept of density-dependent selection yields a formulation that allows for a better understanding of the empirical results. We also use this broader formulation to predict that selection for faster development inDrosophila should, in fact, lead to the correlated evolution of decreased competitive ability, even though it does lead to the evolution of greater efficiency and higher population growth rates at high density when in monotypic culture.