Advertisement

Biological Theory

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 113–121 | Cite as

Density-Dependent Selection Revisited: Mechanisms Linking Explanantia and Explananda

  • Marion BluteEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

Interest in the most general theory of the evolutionary ecology of life histories ever proposed—that of density-independent (r) versus density-dependent (K) selection—peaked in the 1980s and 1990s respectively but declined somewhat thereafter because of arguments over its theoretical coherence and some empirical failures; although as is shown here, not so much as is commonly supposed. In this article, some conceptual analyses and clarification of terms in the conditions for its application (density relative to resources as a variable with spatial, temporal, and niche boundaries fixed), and in the explanantia of the theory (costs and frequencies, stability and instability within and among growing and declining populations, multiple levels of selection, and ultimately homogeneous and patchy environments) are presented. These make intelligible plausible mechanisms (consumption and digestion, production, and reproduction) linking the explanantia and the explananda of the theory that are both theoretically coherent and clarify what predictions it does not and does make including about senescence.

Keywords

Density-dependent selection K-Selection Life history evolution Life history strategies r-Selection Scale-dependent selection Senescence 

References

  1. Alberti M (2015) Eco-evolutionary dynamics in an urbanizing planet. Trends Ecol Evol 30:114–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Becker BH, Beissinger SR (2003) Scale-dependent selection by a nearshore seabird, the marbled murrelet, in a highly dynamic upwelling system. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 256:243–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Becks L, Agrawal AF (2013) Higher rated of sex evolve under K-selection. J Evol Biol 26:900–905CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blute M (2010) Darwinian sociocultural evolution: solutions to dilemmas in cultural and social theory. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blute M (2011) Super cooperators? Trends Ecol Evol 26:624–625CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blute M (2013) “Variation and selective retention” as an evolutionary epistemology: were Donald Campbell’s life histories sufficient? Isr J Ecol Evol 59:109–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blute M (2015) Modes of variation and their implications for an extended evolutionary synthesis. In: Turner JH, Machalek R, Maryanski A (eds) Handbook of evolutionary analysis in the social sciences. Paradigm Publishers, Boulder, pp 59–75Google Scholar
  8. Bouzat J (2014) Darwin’s diagram of divergence of taxa as a causal model for the origin of species. Q Rev Biol 89:21–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Buss LW (1987) The evolution of individuality. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  10. Charnov EL (1982) The theory of sex allocation. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  11. Clark E (2011) Plant individuality and multilevel selection theory. In: Calcott B, Sterelny K (eds) The major transitions in evolution revisited. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 227–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cole LC (1954) The population consequences of life history phenomena. Q Rev Biol 29:103–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Damuth J, Heisler IL (1988) Alternative formulations of multilevel selection. Biol Philos 3:407–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Darwin CR (1871) The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. John Murray, London. Reprinted in 1872, D. Appleton and Company, New York. https://books.google.ca/books?id=LYEQAAAAYAAJ
  15. Dobson SF (2012) Lifestyles and phylogeny explain bird life histories. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109:10747–10748CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Doust LL (1981) Population dynamics and local specialization in a clonal perennial (Ranunculus Repens). J Ecol 69:743–755CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Duboule D (1994) Temporal colinearity and the phylotypic progression: a basis for the stability of a vertebrate Bauplan and the evolution of morphologies through heterochrony. Dev 120(Suppl):135–142Google Scholar
  18. Emlen JM (1966) The role of time and energy in food preference. Am Nat 100:611–617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Flatt T (2013) Life-history evolution and the polyphenic regulation of somatic maintenance and survival. Q Rev Biol 88:185–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fulda JS (1981) The logistic equation and population decline. J Theor Biol 91:255–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Harper JL (1985) Modules, branches and the capture of resources. In: Jackson JBC, Buss LW, Cook RE (eds) Population biology and the evolution of clonal organisms. Yale University Press, New Haven, pp 1–34Google Scholar
  22. Hawkes K, Connell JF, Blurton Jones NG et al (1998) Grandmothering, menopause, and the evolution of human life histories. Proc Natl Acad Sci 95:1336–1339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Herrando-Pérez S, Delean S, Brook BW, Bradshaw CJA (2012) Density dependence: an ecological Tower of Babel. Oecologia 170:585–603CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Horn HS (2004) Commentary on Brown et al.’s “Toward a metabolic theory of ecology.” Ecology 85:1816–1818CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jones OR, Scheuerlein A, Salguero-Gómez R et al (2014) Diversity of ageing across the tree of life. Nature 504:169–173Google Scholar
  26. Kalinka AT, Varga KM, Gerrard DT et al (2010) Gene expression divergence recapitulates the developmental hourglass model. Nature 468:811–814CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kupiec J (2009) The origin of individuals. World Scientific Publishing, SingaporeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Larjavaara M (2015) Trees and shrubs differ biomechanically. Trends Ecol Evol 30:499–500CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Laurian C, Dussault C, Ouellet J et al (2008) Behavior of moose relative to a road network. J Wildl Manag 72:1550–1557CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. MacArthur RH (1962) Some generalized theorems of natural selection. Proc Natl Acad Sci 48:1893–1897CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. MacArthur RH, Pianka ER (1966) On optimal use of a patchy environment. Am Nat 100:603–609CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. MacArthur RH, Wilson EO (1967) The theory of island biogeography. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  33. Marshal JP, Rajah A, Parrini F et al (2011) Scale-dependent selection of greenness by African elephants in the Kruger-private reserve transboundary region, South Africa. Eur J Wildl Res 57:537–548CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Maynard Smith J, Szathmáry E (1995) The major transitions in evolution. W. H. Freeman, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  35. McGlone MS, Richardson SJ, Jordan GJ, Perry GLW (2015) Is there a “suboptimal” woody species height? A response to Scheffer et al. Trends Ecol Evol 30:4–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Moorad JA, Promislow DEL (2014) Aging and menopause. In: Losos JB (ed) The Princeton guide to evolution. Princeton University Press, Princeton, pp 718–726Google Scholar
  37. Nachtomy O, Shavit A, Smith J (2002) Leibnizian organisms, nested individuals, and units of selection. Theory Biosci 121:205–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pelletier F, Garant D, Hendry AP (2009) Eco-evolutionary dynamics. Philos Trans R Soc B 364:1483–1489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Pianka ER (1970) On r- and K-selection. Am Nat 104:592–597CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Qian H (2015) Patterns of frequency distribution of woody plant heights: a response to Scheffer et al. Trends Ecol Evol 30:497–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Qian H, Ricklefs RE (2015) Bimodality of plant height: fact or artifact? A response to Scheffer et al. Trends Ecol Evol 30:6–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Reznick D (2014) Evolution of life histories. In: Losos JB (ed) The Princeton guide to evolution. Princeton University Press, Princeton, pp 268–275Google Scholar
  43. Reznick D, Bryant MJ, Bashey F (2002) r- and K-Selection revisited: the role of population regulation in life-history evolution. Ecology 83:1509–1520CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Roff DA (2002) Life history evolution. Sinauer Associates, SunderlandGoogle Scholar
  45. Scheffer M, Vergnon R, Cornelissen JHC et al (2014) Why trees and shrubs but rarely trubs? Trends Ecol Evol 29:433–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Schoener TW (2011) The newest synthesis: understanding the interplay of evolutionary and ecological dynamics. Science 331:426–429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sober E (1984) The nature of selection. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  48. Travis J, Reznick D, Bassar RD et al (2014) Do eco-evo feedbacks help us understand nature: answers from studies of the Trinidadian Guppy. Adv Ecol Res 50:1–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Veuille M (2015) Darwin on the proportion of the sexes and general fertility: discovery and rejection of sex ratio evolution and density-dependent selection. In: Hoquet T (ed) Current perspectives on sexual selection. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 45–64Google Scholar
  50. West GB, Brown JH, Enquist BJ (1997) A general model for the origin of allometric scaling laws in biology. Science 276:122–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Williams GC (1957) Pleiotropy, natural selection, and the evolution of senescence. Evolution 2:398–411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wimsatt WC, Schank C (1988) Two constraints on the evolution of complex adaptations and the means for their avoidance. In: Nitecki MH (ed) Evolutionary progress. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 231–273Google Scholar
  53. Xu C, Vergnon R, Cornelissen JHC et al (2015) Temperate forest and open landscapes are distinct alternative states as reflected in canopy height and tree cover. Trends Ecol Evol 30:501–502CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations