Journal Article

Density-dependence interacts with extrinsic mortality in shaping life histories

Dańko, M. J., Burger, O., Kozłowski, J.
PLOS One, 12:10, e0186661 (2017)
Open Access


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.

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.