Density-dependence interacts with extrinsic mortality in shaping life histories
PLoS One, 12:10, e0186661 (2017)
The role of extrinsic mortality in shaping life histories is poorly understood. However, substantial evidence suggests that extrinsic mortality interacts with density-dependence in crucial ways. We develop a model combining Evolutionarily Stable Strategies with a projection matrix that allows resource allocation to growth, tissue repairs, and reproduction. Our model examines three cases, with density-dependence acting on: (i) mortality, (ii) fecundity, and (iii) production rate. We demonstrate that density-independent extrinsic mortality influences the rate of aging, age at maturity, growth rate, and adult size provided that density-dependence acts on fertility or juvenile mortality. However, density-independent extrinsic mortality has no effect on these life history traits when density-dependence acts on survival. We show that extrinsic mortality interacts with density-dependence via a compensation mechanism: the higher the extrinsic mortality the lower the strength of density-dependence. However, this compensation fully offsets the effect of extrinsic mortality only if density-dependence acts on survival independently of age. Both the age-pattern and the type of density-dependence are crucial for shaping life history traits.